Ascent of Sotol Hill on 2016-03-04

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, March 4, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Sotol Hill
    Elevation:1365 ft / 416 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is the only peak you can really peakbag in the Far Reaches - Sandero Balcones loop of the Government Canyon SNA during the season where the protected habitat is closed (For 6 months each year). This is the highest peak on the loop and it is physically located on the Far Reaches Trail between the ChulaVista and Sotol Overlooks but near the Sotol Overlook. There is another knob just to the north that also exceeds the 1360 contour but is smaller and a little lower.

During the correct season, once can extend one's hike and actually pick up the highpoint of the state natural area if they are in the winter. Otherwise, you are stuck attacking this highpoint as your destination if hiking the eastern reaches of the SNA. THE best views are at the Sotol Lookout near the peak or around the trail clearings before the peak. But once you get the Sotol overlook, you are basically half way so why not complete the loop?

The overall day was 7 miles hike including the exploration of side areas and my miserable bushwhack experience I made by mistake. I will come back and pick up the true highpoint near Black Hill during the open season.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:355 ft / 108 m
    Total Elevation Loss:100 ft / 30 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:355 ft / 108 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:Recharge Tr to Far Reaches Tr.
    Start Trailhead:small creek by bridge near parking  1010 ft / 307 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Route:Far Reaches to Sandero-Balcones
    End Trailhead:saddle between subpeaks  1265 ft / 385 m
Ascent Part of Trip: GCSNA-1

Complete Trip Sequence:
2Sotol Hill2016-03-04 b355 ft / 108 m
3Sandero Balcones Hill2016-03-04 c50 ft / 15 m
Total Trip Gain: 405 ft / 123 m    Total Trip Loss: 100 ft / 30 m

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