(Nearly) Alone on Cucamonga

Peak Summited2020 Cucamonga Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadIcehouse Canyon
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a group
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsTrail snow-covered at times - Gear and expertise recommended
Trail ConditionsTrail difficult/impossible to navigate

Took Icehouse Canyon, traversed Bighorn to Cucamonga Saddle, and straight up to the summit. Returned over the top of Bighorn and back down the canyon. We're not in the greatest physical condition and don't have the most appropriate gear, so we spent 10 hours on the mountain, including probably over an hour of food breaks and exchanging (more like disoriented throwing of) horrible snow-related puns.

Some patches of easy snow and ice on the canyon trail except the last <1 mile which was all crushed slippery snow. Trail to Cucamonga Saddle is 30ish% buried/hidden, but our self-inflated navigational skills and just dumb luck allowed us to connect the pieces. Mostly snow with some dirt/scree slopes on the sun-facing sides. From the saddle, we didn't bother with the trail to the summit, although we could make out a handful of switchbacks. All of the snow after Icehouse Saddle is either fresh powder (from last weekend's storm), neve, hoar, compacted snow, windslab, refrozen ice, straight up water ice, or a vicious combination of these. Lots of variation and a bit tricky at times, but very doable with the right gear and some too-stubborn-for-our-own-good-ness. Ice axes required and traction/crampons highly recommended…

I mean, you can try it without metal on your soles, but I don't think you'll have much fun. One step up, two slides down at a time, I guess.

South spur from Cucamonga Saddle to Bighorn Peak is mostly dry with some easy patches of neve. On the south side, the top half is hard windslab and slowly transitions into foot-deep powder (that's the measurement foot, not the body part)… with the occasional posthole into a shrub cavity. This on occasion felt like going barefoot into a Tempur Pedic mattress (do those still exist?). Didn't even spill the glass of wine.

Well, that's enough of my rambling.

PS: Lots of signs to chose from at the famous “Insta-ready” rock. Pick your fave! Terrible photo, by the way. Buddy with apparently no visually artistic ability took it.

Cheers!

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