Sombrero Peak, Jacumba Mountain
By: Fran Smith
Los Angeles weather Friday night was rainy and foggy, but this changed to perfect climbing weather at Bow Willow Campground. Twenty hikers (nine were children) were ready at 9 am for an easily paced two days of climbing. The leader created instant confidence within the group by starting out with a fast three minute roundtrip to the Bow Willow dump area. Quickly recovering, the group drove an easy 3-1/2 miles up the dry stream bed and parked the cars. The route continues: up the wash for another somewhat brushy mile to a northward running fork is encountered. Aiming towards a stand of a dozen palms on a steep slope will lead you directly through them and up to Sombrero Peak. Taking advantage of a slow pace and rest stops, all climbers reached the summit. Returning was routine except for the young girl with an affinity for cacti.
The majority voted for a campfire that night, so we caravaned close to the roadhead for Jacumba in an area okay for fires. Wally Henry located a good camping spot and engineered a fire for the evening. One carload from the group "roughed it" by driving to El Centro and having a Denny's dinner. The leader left early on a beautiful Sunday morning for an hours round trip drive to Jacumba for any possible late comers (as per schedule write-up). Meanwhile Art de Goede and Dick Akawie moved the group to the roadhead and hiked the half mile to Mortero Palms where the leader rejoined the group. This is an impressive area with about sixty palms in an oasis surrounded by a rocky perimeter. The next quarter mile rock climb out of this area was a little scary. Then there was one mile of easy rocky terrain with a gentle slope, followed by another mile of steep up, up, and away, and with a final half mile of gentle slope to the summit. Twentyone started and all made the summit. The return by the same route was uneventful with Frank McDaniel furnishing excellent wine for thirsty throats at the finish line. As cars left the area, several groups planned to stop at some nearby hot springs.
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