Distance: Drive up
Summit Elevation: 3566'
Elevation Gain: 0'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.00
Round trip time: N/A
Recommended water: N/A
Otay Mountain was the first of three SDC peaks I planned to summit today, and ranks #61 on the list. If the roads are open, Otay and Tecate are both drive up peaks near the border with Mexico. I had been sort of dreading doing these, kind of like taking out the garbage, but both turned into interesting adventures. It helped that Otay has over 2000' of prominence. I started early to try to make it to the top at sunrise. Sunrise photos are often enough motivation to get me out of bed.
When I got to the start of Otay Truck Trail, I saw the gate was open, but a Road Closed sign sat to the side just inside the gate. A border patrol agent was parked in his truck near the gate and I got out to talk to him. He confirmed the road was open and I explained why I wanted to go up. He warned me about narrow spots in the road but was pleasant and had no problem with me driving up. I jumped back in my truck and got going. It was still dark and I had to pay attention. I turned off my stereo to concentrate on the road. The road was in pretty good shape, but had some ruts. High clearance is recommended. 4x4 is not necessary but I engaged it anyway for extra control. The agent was right about some very narrow spots with huge drop offs. A number of mirrors are installed to help you see oncoming cars around tight turns. I scared a couple of young mule deer off the road and got to the top a few minutes after sunrise. The road got better near the top, but the final section to the tower area had encroaching brush leaving some light scratches on the sides of my truck, hopefully not permanent. The summit area had some small boulders, but no register or benchmark I could find. I got some pretty good photos and a good look into Mexico, then started down. Luckily, I didn't meet another vehicle going either direction avoiding what would have been a complicated passing predicament. When I got down, the sun was still low leaving the valleys in twilight. I loaded Tecate in the nav and took off.