Friday, October 23, 2015

Saddleback Butte

Hiked: 10/23/2015
Distance: 1.7 miles cross country
Summit Elevation: 3651'
Prominence: 716'
Elevation Gain: 720'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.57
Round trip time: 1 hour
Recommended water: 20 oz.
Parking/Fees: $6 California State Parks
Difficulty: Easy

Saddleback Butte is one of several high desert buttes in the Antelope Valley and #38 on the Lower Peaks list. This was my second summit of the day, after climbing Slide Mountain. I set my navigation for Saddleback State Park, but instead of taking me to the campground entrance, it took me to the park fence on a dirt road on the east side of the mountain on 190th St E. The dirt roads were mild, not requiring high clearance. There are no trails on the side where I parked, but the open desert here was easy so I just headed straight for the summit. It was hard to tell how difficult the boulders were going to be but it turned out to be nothing but class 2. On the way up, I spotted something white and man made on the side of the mountain. My first thought was it must be some kind of science experiment, but in fact, it was a crashed drone. The landing gear had come off and the door to the battery compartment as well. It was upside down so I flipped it over to see if it was salvageable. The damage did not look that serious, but I didn't feel like dragging it all the way back. If anyone wants an abandoned drone, I marked the location on my GPS at (34.674963, -117.797466). I continued up to the summit and found the benchmark and two reference marks. No register. The views were good in all directions and I could make out the north ridge of the San Gabriels. From the north, Baden-Powell looks like the alpha. After a brief stay, I descended to the saddle, then down a gully and out. Having driven up I-5 past highway 14, then back along 14, then home along highway 138 and I-15, I completely lassoed the San Gabriel range with my car. It was a strange side effect of doing Slide Mountain and Saddleback Butte the same day.

Saddleback Butte on the right, the south summit is slightly lower

Heading directly for the summit

Crashed drone a little more than half way up

Drone right side up

Final push

Benchmark dated 1929

San Gabriel ridge from the north

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