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Ascent of South Fortuna Mountain on 2018-03-27

Climber: Jeffrey Swain

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:South Fortuna Mountain
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:1094 ft / 333 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trailhead for this trip was the East Fortuna Staging Area. Parking is free and restrooms and picnic tables are nearby. A kiosk has maps. There are many trails but I followed the Fortuna Loop Trail signs, which closely paralleled Highway 52. This steep trail has two major peaks and dips, which can be slightly discouraging. A pedestrian bridge was under repair at one of the dips. There were also some heavy-duty chairs along the trail. The last dip leads to a fence where the uninterrupted ascent of North Fortuna begins. It's a well-marked and well-maintained trail that leads to a series of humps and small saddles. From the west, North Fortuna resembles a woman lying on her back. During WWII, Marines at Camp Elliott referred to the mountain as Nelly. The various humps can be described as the topknot, the face, the chest (Marines used a less PC term), and her toes. The peak would be Nelly's chest. Marine artillerymen considered a direct hit on Nelly's chest to be the height of marksmanship. This also might account for the quantity of shattered rock around the top of Fortuna Mountain. There are steps from one of the saddles. Trail meanders around the mountain until you get the the peak where there is a sign and a register. Weather was clear enough to see Mexico, the Coronado Islands, Coronado Bay Bridge, Downtown, Point Loma (you can actually make out the Lighthouse), Mt. Soledad, Miramar, NCAS and the Mormon Temple in University City. On a clear day you can see San Clemente Island and Catalina. To the north and east, you can see the City of Santee, Mt. Woodson, Iron Mountain, Cajon Mountain, and Cuyamaca.

North and South Fortuna are two of the peaks for the Five Peaks Challenge at Mission Trails Park. On this occasion I descended via Nelly's Foot to the Saddle and up a less daunting trail to South Fortuna, which is also marked by a sign. Contrary to some maps, there is no active eastbound trail from South Fortuna. A westbound trail leads down a steep set of steps to the trailheads at Portobello, West Fortuna Staging Area, and Seda Drive. In this case, I returned to the saddle and followed the eastbound descent back to the East Fortuna Staging Area. Word of caution, the trail is steep and covered in decomposed granite, so the descent is like walking on ball bearings. The descent is rolling and popular with bicyclists.

My GAIA app records an ascent of 1335 ft. I presume that includes both peaks.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:465 ft / 141 m
    Total Elevation Loss:465 ft / 141 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.8 mi / 12.6 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Sunny. Cloudy on coast.
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:465 ft / 141 m
    Distance:3.9 mi / 6.3 km
    Route:Fortuna Loop Trail
    Start Trailhead:East Fortuna Staging Area  629 ft / 191 m
    Time:3 Hours 7 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:465 ft / 141 m
    Distance:3.9 mi / 6.3 km
    Route:Fortuna Saddle to E Fortuna Staging Area
    End Trailhead:East Fortuna Staging Area  629 ft / 191 m
    Time:3 Hours 7 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: North Fortuna Mountain

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
2South Fortuna Mountain2018-03-27465 ft / 142 m
Total Trip Gain: 465 ft / 142 m    Total Trip Loss: 465 ft / 142 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jeffrey Swain
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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