Air Conditioning

Nearing the summit area of Mt. Pinos

Enjoyed a combination Father’s Day & July 4th visit from Brett over the weekend. Friday we did a fun run at Malibu Creek State Park and today we headed up to Mt. Pinos to get in a cooler, higher altitude run.

In addition to Mt. Pinos (8831′), there are three other peaks along the broad ridge traversed by the Vincent Tumamait Trail — Sawmill Mountain (8818′), Grouse Mountain (8582′), and Mt. Abel/Cerro Noroeste (8280+’). I’ve run past the indistinct path to Grouse Mountain numerous times on the way to Mt. Abel, always commenting “someday I have to check that out.” Finally, today we did.

On the way to Grouse we did the short detour to the top of Sawmill. Since my last visit the Chumash spirit tower on the peak had grown, no doubt from the many fine days and views enjoyed here. This morning the snow-covered mountains of the Southern Sierra could be seen above the haze of the San Joaquin Valley.

The ascent of Grouse was straightforward. Like Sawmill Mountain, it has two nearly equal height summits. We found a small granite crag northeast of the summit and climbed a short steep route on its west face. It had fun technical moves on mostly good holds, but in running shoes you had to pay attention — especially on the downclimb!

On the way back to Mt. Pinos we stopped by Sheep Camp. The short side trip to this idyllic spot is essentially compulsory. It would be easy to spend the afternoon here, listening to the wind in the pines and the gurgling of the spring; smelling the sun-warmed pine needles; and enjoying the greens, yellows, reds and blues of Summer.

I always feel a little twinge of regret when leaving Sheep Camp, but it was a great day to be on the move, and soon we were back on the trail and enjoying that as well.
Some related posts: Vincent Tumamait Trail, Atmospheric Dynamics