Jacumba Mountain, Sombrero Peak

24-Feb-96 (Old Timer's Trip)

By: Linda McDermott


9:00 am rolled around and at the intersection of Indian Canyon Road and S2 in Anza Borrego there were 2 cars plus the one 1 was riding in. By 10:00 am, it was bedlam. There were cars and people and hugs and hellos as newcomers and old timers found the meeting spot for the climb of Sombrero Peak on Saturday. We drove back a mile or two on this good dirt road to a great campsite that Dan and Charlie had scouted and left the 2-wheel drive cars. Even getting the crowd to consolidate into 4 wheel drive cars was an undertaking. All counted, we had 39 signed up on the trip sheets, and we sure hoped we had 39 on the way back.

It was a beautiful day, not too hot or cold for hiking. Dan decided to break the 39 participants into 2 groups. After describing Charlie's group as a faster group, many defected to Dan until everyone laughed and realized both groups would be about the same, taking different routes.

The climb was really uneventful, and went well. It was windy on top, so the last of the groups didn't get a long stop for lunch. Both routes A and B worked fine. The hike took longer than usual, but then we had a larger than usual crowd.

We got back to the cars by a reasonable 3:30 p.m. when everyone started pulling out chairs and relaxing. The pot luck was fantastic as always, and, of course, we basically ate for hours as more food arrived.

In this area of Anza Borrego we cannot have open fires, so our campfire was on a trash can lid Dan had borrowed from the rangers. It worked well, and I, for one was glad to have the fire on the cold night. We heard stories from Abe Siemans, Bob Greenawalt and others about early DPS trips. It rained during the night, sending a few at the far end of the campground scurrying to get up a tent.

The next morning began early, with a pancake breakfast prepared by my daughter Vanessa, her boyfriend Will and I forming an assembly line. These were unusual pancakes, and many have asked for the recipe. Wouldn't you know it comes from Mirna Roach, one of the best cooks in the DPS (Mirna didn't pay me to say that).

We got off about 8.15 am to drive up the road and around to Jacumba. We drove around to the other side of the mountain (the easy Route A) but it wasn't to happen. We got over 1/2 way down the dirt road to the peak when Charlie stopped his car and canceled the trip. It was raining, the wind blowing, and NOT looking good. A storm was supposed to be in the area all day. This was the Sunday you may have read about later when I-15 was closed for snow in several places. MOST everyone was ready to turn around at this point, but not Tom Sumner.


No, not Tom Sumner. His eyes just lit up and he said, "I need this peak," and it was foregone conclusion that he was going for it. Not to be outdone, several other people decided to join him. I was one of those crazy people. We got to the roadhead a little less than 2 miles later. Heck, the white out wasn't too bad at this point and we thought we could see the peak. It was only a mile or so to the top, and 1300' of gain Piece of cake. By the time we were ready to go, it was raining steadily, although we could still see patches of blue at this point. Hopeful, weren't we?

We hiked fast across the few gullies and got to the bottom of the ridge to the peak. It was at this point that Tom Sumner yelled out to the group (the wind was picking up a bit here), "Don't forget that this is NOT a Sierra Club trip." I yelled back, "Don't forget that it would be frowned upon NOT to bring the DPS Chair back alive!"

The ridge was steep, but really went fairly well. On top, however, the wind was fierce and we were in a white out of sorts. We had guesses about how fast the gusts were, but at least we didn't have to crawl to go forward. It really did knock you off balance when walking. The top ridge went around a few bumps and we arrived at the top. Mitch Miller wanted to eat lunch on top, and we all looked at him in amazement because we were freezing and nearly blowing off the top. He got one or two pictures on top, but it was a real struggle with the wind.

We made it back down to the cars safely, about 2 hours round-trip however we were all soaked and cold.

The "Jacumba 8"

Tom Sumner, Ron Grau, Robert Young, Gary Craig, Mitch Miller, Bruce Orenstein, Harriet Edwards and Linda McDermott.

The Sombrero group (including above)

Charlie Knapke, Dan & Joandair Richter, Patty Kline, John and Donna Cheslick, Fred Smith, Pete Yamagata, Hank Warzybok, Henry Heusinkveld, Bruno Geiger, Bob Greenawalt, Judy Ware, John Connelly, Eleanor Carter, Randy Ragland, George Pfeiffer, Dave Welbourn, Betty & Austin Stirratt, Dinesh and Joy Desai, Betsy Morgan, Denise MacNeil, David & Elaine Baldwyn, Noreen Kelly, Bill Lien, Lynelle Martin.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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