Ascent of Woodson Mountain on 2018-06-12

Climber: Jeffrey Swain

Date:Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Woodson Mountain
    Elevation:2894 ft / 882 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was my third attempt and second successful ascent. First try was cut short by hot weather. Second ascent was successful, but there was a problem with my GAIA tracking system. Third try was successful, complete with
GPS track on GAIA. I'm open to suggestions as to what manner of GPS device might prove most useful for loading my data to, as GAIA is not particularly helpful.

So there are four major starting points for Mt. Woodson: Mt. Woodson Road, Fry Koegel Trail, Lake Poway Trail, and Blue Sky Reserve. This is the track from Blue Sky.

To avoid the heat, I began my trek at about 6 a.m.on 6/13/18. Temps were quite brisk at that hour and I found myself putting on a jacket shortly after starting. The mists over the Blue Sky Reserve and over Poway Lake were quite mystical and I enjoyed being in the shadow of the sunrise for the first two hours. The route goes through the Blue Sky Reserve, which is mainly a grove of California Live Oaks. Then it crosses a boundary into the jurisdiction of Poway Dam and Lake, and ascends steeply up a road to the shores of Poway Lake. The last porta-potties are a short way from the dam. Eventually, the trail joins with the Poway Lake Trail. This is a slow, steady, uphill grind to The Flat Spot where there are picnic tables and benches, but no facilities. From the Flat Spot, you have another steep, slow, steady grind on a well-marked and maintained trail. Look for the Jennifer Lopez Memorial and proceed to the Dead Oak Tree. Steepness abates after the Dead Oak and climbs steadily to the iconic Potato Chip Rock. The top, for me, was a cluster of signal towers. I am told that the actual benchmark is on top of a large, round boulder, which requires a ladder or Divine intervention to see. There are no facilities on top, either. You will follow an unpaved service road to the Flat Spot, where the Mount Woodson Trail, steep and well-maintained, will take you to the Potato Chip and the top of Mt. Woodson. The Old Fry-Koegel Trail and the Fry-Koegel trail will intersect along the way. They will take you down to Archie Moore Road. You will find a paved road and a boundary of sorts when you pass the Potato Chip and approach the towers on top. Look for Turkey Vultures on the towers. The paved Mt. Woodson Road goes down the other side to Highway 67.

Hazards along the way are Poison Oak, which seems invisible to small children, dogs, and their parents. Sunlight is fairly intense, so long sleeves are recommended. There is no water once you leave Poway Lake. I consumed six quarts of water during the course of the trip. I saw a king snake and garter snake. There was a dead gopher snake on a previous trip, obviously a victim of a dog attack. Lots of lizards and an assortment of flowers including asters, popcorn plants, poppies, and roses. Follow my adventures on Facebook.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2261 ft / 689 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2277 ft / 694 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.6 mi / 17.1 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2261 ft / 689 m
    Distance:5.1 mi / 8.3 km
    Route:Blue Sky, Poway Lake, Mt. Woodson Trail
    Start Trailhead:Blue Sky Reserve  633 ft / 192 m
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2277 ft / 694 m
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Route:Mt. Woodson, Poway Lake, Ble Sky
    End Trailhead:Blue Sky Reserve  617 ft / 188 m
    Time:3 Hours 55 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jeffrey Swain
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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