Friday, May 15, 2015

Rocky Peak

Hiked: 5/15/2015
Distance: 5.2 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 2714'
Prominence: 352'
Elevation Gain: 1400'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.12
Round trip time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Recommended water: 48 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free at Rocky Peak Road
Difficulty: Easy

The forecast called for a steady rain all day. Rod and I prepared for a muddy slopfest on the first of two Lower Peaks planned for the day. Rocky Peak is in the Santa Susanna Mountains north of Chatsworth. The trailhead is a parking area just off highway 118 at Rocky Peak Road. It is one of the easiest trailheads to find. We were the first to arrive around sunrise and layered up expecting to get wet, even though it was not raining at the start. The trail is rocky, literally mostly rock with some sand between the cracks. Boulders were piled up in all directions as we climbed. Low clouds obscured everything. The rain never fell on the hike up. Although the ground was wet from rain the night before, the rock had dried enough to give it some traction. This hike would have been more difficult if the rocks had been slippery.

Rocky Peak trailhead

Rocky Peak Trail and Hummingbird Trail junction, stay on Rocky Peak

View along the trail

Rod takes advantage of a small break to see below the clouds

Cairn near one of the bumps below the summit

First cloudy glimpse of Rocky Peak

As we neared the end of the trail, we found a cairn that marked a shortcut trail to the summit. We decided to follow the main trail up and take the shortcut back down. The trail winds around several smaller peaklets and cuts back to Rocky Peak. We never saw the summit until we were almost directly beneath it. A little scrambling got us on top of the summit boulders to a benchmark that showed the line between Los Angeles and Ventura counties. On another boulder was a small circular metal tab fixed to the stone, remains of a missing benchmark. It seemed like the views would have been dramatic, but the clouds would not cooperate. We felt cheated. What scenery we did make out along the way was great. The register was in a locked metal box on a pole and someone had broken off the attached key in the lock. A-holes seem to enjoy this kind of vandalism. On the way down, we took the shortcut. A light rain picked up even as some of the clouds started to drift away. We were wet and a little muddy as we packed up to head for Mission Point, our second goal of the day.

Benchmark on the summit dividing Ventura and Los Angeles counties

Interesting water-filled holes on a summit boulder, look like over-sized morteros

On the summit

Rod checking out the locked register box

Big boulder just below the summit and an unknown drop into the mist.

Partial view on the way down

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