Ascent of Monument Peak on 2018-06-25

Climber: Jeffrey Swain

Date:Monday, June 25, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Monument Peak
    Elevation:6271 ft / 1911 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is an extremely easy hike, easier than the paved road to Mount Woodson. It also involved two peaks, Stephenson and Monument Peak, which are close enough together and linked by a road.

On Sunrise Highway you will find the Laguna Mountain Store and Ranger Station. I previously stopped at the USFS Ranger Station to see if I needed any special permission to hike on Stephenson. Volunteer didn't seem to think any special permission was needed. The turnoff to Monument Peak Road is the second on the right. It's a fairly normal mountain road which leads to a parking area and a gate. There are plenty of scenic views from the parking area. It is fairly obvious that motor traffic is not allowed past the gate. There happened to be a USFS Ranger parked in the lot, so I made a point of asking him if I needed any special permits or dispensation to get past the gate. He said that everything was fenced off that needed to be fenced off. Both peaks are jointly operated by the Federal Aeronautics Agency (FAA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). All of the facilities were active. Technically, the land is marked off as belonging to an old Air Force Base. If the fences and gates were wide open, this would be a drive up.

So I walked around the gate. There was no fence preventing me from doing this. There were signs to prevent motor traffic. I was very near the top of Stephenson when I saw a little view point off to the left, which I chose to explore. There was a brilliant display of prickly pear type cactus in full bloom. There was also some kind of a marker, square in shape with broken glass. I redirected my attention to Stephenson, which is marked by a giant golf ball radar apparatus on top. A man in a government truck, wearing a red shirt seemed to be annoyed that I was on government property. He asked me who I was with and what I was doing. He told me vehicles weren't allowed. I told him I parked outside the gate. He told me to stay outside the fence. He asked me which ranger gave me permission to enter the gate. I told him no one gave me permission, but the ranger in the truck in the parking area said not to go inside the fenced area. Red Shirt said to stay on the road.

The road led me around the Golf Ball to a view point facing west. There was some exotic bird with a roadrunner-type beak. There were the usual thistles, dandelions, scarlet trumpeters, manzanita, typical of the Lagunas. I turned back to the road which led to Stephenson. This road looked like it had fallen out of use. It was a gravel road with some ruts. It led down the hill and to the paved road that led to Monument Peak. There were several other towers and view points along the way and a gentle, paved slope leading to Monument Peak.

The tower on Monument peak is operated by County of San Diego and had a sign discouraging entry. There was a mound next to the tower. I found two registers, one in interlocked red tin cans. There was also some kind of engineering marker, but not a benchmark. I found another register on another sub-peak, stored in an ammo case. There were a handful of contractors servicing the towers. I could see a helicopter pad below the County towers.

I followed the paved road back to the right-hand side of the Golf Ball, and found myself exiting the gate near the parking area. Mr. Red Shirt was there, talking to one of the contractors. I waited long enough in my car in case he needed to say anything.

Back at the car, I closed the track on my GAIA device and considered the mission completed. You can find my pictures and GPS track on Facebook. Any suggestions how to download GAIA to this site would be useful.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Monument Peak and Stephenson Peak can be done in one day. Stephenson has the golf ball on top. Monument has several radio towers (2018-06-24). Photo by Jeffrey Swain.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:456 ft / 138 m
    Total Elevation Loss:456 ft / 138 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:456 ft / 138 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:Paved road, unpaved road
    Start Trailhead:Outside the gate at Stephenson Peak  5815 ft / 1772 m
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:456 ft / 138 m
    Distance:2.3 mi / 3.7 km
    Route:Paved road, circling the Golf Ball on the Right.
    End Trailhead:Outside the gate at Stephenson Peak  5815 ft / 1772 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Stephenson

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Stephenson Peak2018-06-25456 ft / 139 m
2Monument Peak2018-06-25456 ft / 139 m
Total Trip Gain: 912 ft / 278 m    Total Trip Loss: 912 ft / 278 m
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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