Sunday, November 2, 2014

Newcomb Peak

Hiked: 11/2/2014
Distance: 9.3 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 4166'
Prominence: Unknown
Elevation Gain: 2025'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.62
Round trip time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Recommended water: 84 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free at Mt. Wilson parking lot
Difficulty: Moderate

Newcomb Peak is pretty deep in the front range San Gabriels, sitting above Santa Anita Canyon. It is #26 on the Lower Peaks List. The most common route starts at Chantry Flats and winds up the canyon. I followed the Rim Trail from Mt. Wilson, giving up 1700'+ on the way down and gaining it on the way back. It was a crispy 39F when I started and the temp never rose above 52F. The main gate was closed at 8:00 AM so I climbed the fence to get started. The Rim Trail parallels the ridge, staying a little below the top on the north side. This kept the trail shady and cool all the way to Newcomb Pass. It is a narrow single track trail hugging the side of the ridge providing a fun forest romp. A couple of miles down the trail, I saw four mule deer part way down a gully. As soon as they saw me, the took off down the gully and within seconds were out of sight. No chance for photos. When I got to Newcomb Pass, I found a camp of hunters decked out in camo. Maybe that's why the deer were so skittish. I waved, but didn't stop to engage them. A little ways past the pass, I hit Redbox-Rincon Road and after a short section, was at the use trail heading up Newcomb.

Start of the Rim Trail

Small dome on Mt. Wilson

Big dome on Mt. Wilson

Clear view from Vista Point

Newcomb Pass


Newcomb Peak ahead with giant electrical towers

Newcomb Peak turned out to be a minor bump rising slightly higher than others in the vicinity. There were some Environmentally Sensitive Area signs scattered around the peak, but it was unclear if the off-limits areas were off the use trail or included the use trail. I proceeded to the summit, sitting below the giant electrical tower at the top. I checked the register and signed in, noting that it was relatively new. It was placed in February, 2012 and there had only been a dozen parties sign in since then. It is not a very popular destination, and I can see why unless you were chasing the Lower Peaks List like me. Views from the top were minimal. Brush blocked the view in several directions and the electrical tower blocked even more. There were much better views along Redbox-Rincon Road. I met a nice gent named Doug along the trail. He stopped at the pass and had a conversation with the hunters. Apparently, they were not having much luck. Maybe their luck changed as I headed back since I heard steady, repeated gunfire in the distance. I passed a few other hikers coming down as I was heading up. Mt. Wilson was blanketed in clouds when I got back. Visibility was down to about 100'. I packed up and headed to the other side of Wilson for a run at Occidental Peak.

ESA sign

Summit register in familiar red cans

Mt. Wilson and San Gabriel Peak from Newcomb summit

Heliport below Newcomb summit

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