Cucamonga Peak, 8,859', 15 miles RT, 4,646' +/-, January 7, 2018

This year my husband and I signed up for the 2018  Six Pack of Peaks Challenge.   It’s a series put together by Jeff Hester of SoCalHiker.net of some of the toughest peaks in Southern California to help train for bigger hikes such as Mount Whitney.  We have until September to complete the six required peaks.  Since we’d already climbed several of the peaks last year, I decided we should officially take the challenge.  This hike was also our hike #40 of the  52 Hike Challenge which we started last year.  

Today was our second time up Cucamonga Peak.  The first time was on Thanksgiving day of last year and I was tired and sore for 2 days afterwards.  It was tough on my body and I wasn’t even sure if I’d want to do it today, but we decided to hike to Icehouse Saddle and then decide where to go from there since there are other peaks that branch off from that junction.  Once we arrived at the saddle, it was confirmed we were going to climb Cucamonga again.

We skirted around the mountain through the rugged, narrow section of trail that leads from Icehouse Saddle to the saddle between Big Horn and Cucamonga.  Easy enough.  Then onto the rocky, relentless switchbacks.  The nice part about this section is that you have amazing views down into the canyon and there is nothing but wilderness.  It’s incredibly beautiful and it is completely silent, especially on a day like today when we had no winds.  I’ve only ever experienced that type of silence in the desert.  Up we went until we finally arrived at the marker leading to the peak.  It was actually a lot better this time then the last.  At no point did I feel like quitting. It was a challenging hike, but well worth the effort.  We spent some time at the summit hanging out with the chipmunks who were bumming our pizza, and chatting with other hikers.   After about a 45 minute break, we began our descent.  One thing to remember when hiking any trails that lead back through Icehouse Canyon are the rocks.  There will be plenty of them to negotiate on the way down and your knees and ankles will be feeling it.  On the plus side, the scenery is some of the most beautiful in the area, so you’ll have something to keep your mind off your tired legs. 

I wanted to get the job done before slowing us down with my picture taking, so my photos start from here when we were almost to the top.

I wanted to get the job done before slowing us down with my picture taking, so my photos start from here when we were almost to the top.

At the top..

At the top..

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Friendly chipmunk.

Friendly chipmunk.

This is the marker after the switchbacks.  It's just a straight shot up to the top.

This is the marker after the switchbacks.  It's just a straight shot up to the top.

Enjoying the views on the descent.

Enjoying the views on the descent.

Mount Baldy in the background.

Mount Baldy in the background.

These next few photos show how rocky the switchbacks are.

These next few photos show how rocky the switchbacks are.

Nothing but talus.

Nothing but talus.

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After you finish the switchbacks and pass the saddle between Cucamonga and Big Horn, you have to climb back up to Icehouse Saddle.

After you finish the switchbacks and pass the saddle between Cucamonga and Big Horn, you have to climb back up to Icehouse Saddle.

Looking back up from what we'd climbed.

Looking back up from what we'd climbed.

Cucamonga Wilderness

Cucamonga Wilderness

Getting closer to Icehouse Canyon.  so many rocks.

Getting closer to Icehouse Canyon.  so many rocks.

Looking like November in Icehouse Canyon.

Looking like November in Icehouse Canyon.

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