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Homepage Forums Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge™ Q&A SOCAL Peaks Hike Order

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  • SOCAL Peaks Hike Order

    Posted by Alexis Fu on June 9, 2022 at 3:09 pm


    My friend and I are hiking Kilimanjaro at the beginning of next year and thought this would be a great way to train for our big adventure. I’ve gone through some of the posts to look for what order to tackle these peaks, and they all start with Sawmill first.

    Can I get some insight on tackling these peaks? I’ve never bagged a Socal peak so I’m a little nervous but super excited. I would love to attempt to finish all 11 by years end, but if I don’t have enough time, I definitely want to at least bag Strawberry Peak, San Jacinto, Baldy, and Wilson.

    I’m open to all tips, tricks, and general knowledge. I’ve been doing local hikes on the weekends in the Santa Monica mountains and some near Pasadena and Hollywood. Super excited and thank you.

    Jeff replied 2 years ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • Jeff

    June 9, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Alexis and welcome to Social Hiker! The Six-Pack of Peaks is a great way to train for bigger adventures like Kilimanjaro.

    As for the order, when I created the original SoCal challenge, there were just six peaks. They were part of our training for a three week backpacking thru-hike on the John Muir Trail, and were part of our training program (longer, weekend hikes). We hiked them in the order you’ll find them on the overview page:

    1. Mount Wilson
    2. Cucamonga Peak
    3. Mount Baldy
    4. San Bernardino Peak
    5. San Jacinto Peak
    6. San Gorgonio

    Whether this is “easiest-to-hardest” is open to interpretation, but they are from the lowest to highest.

    Since that time back in 2010, we’ve added six alternate peaks to the challenge for a total of 12. Most of those are a bit easier than the original six.

    As for which order you do them in, there are five considerations:

    • Hiking distance
    • Total vertical gain
    • Top elevation
    • Permit availability
    • Weather conditions

    For hiking distance and vertical gain, I recommend that you do local hikes of approximately the distance and total vertical gain first before tackling one of the Six-Pack of Peaks. You can hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Park or wherever is most convenient. Note that the total vertical gain does not have to be in one push. You could do “laps” or a “rollercoaster” style hike with lots of up and down. The key idea is that you want to know how your body responds to that distance and gain.

    For top elevation, if you haven’t hiked above 10,000 feet, that’s where most people begin to feel the effects of thinner air. It’s also nice if you live at lower elevations to get adjusted a bit over time. They’ll actually do this on your Kilimanjaro climb as well.

    Permit availability can be a factor for some of the peaks, particularly San Bernardino and San Gorgonio, where they have quotas.

    And finally, weather plays a part. Some of the hikes are not passable in winter snow without specialized gear and training, and others are too hot during the heat of summer. Strawberry Peak, for instance, is not one that I would hike on a hot summer day. Sometimes you can mitigate that issue by starting at dawn (or earlier) but it’s something to consider.

    You’ve got an exciting adventure planned for next year, and you’re asking the right questions. You’ve got this!

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