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SOBCE – Peak #6 of the SoCal Hikers Alternate Peaks

Peak Summited2021 Ontario Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadIcehouse Canyon
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

Wow! What a great challenge today. I decided to complete my (Alternate) SoCal Six Pack of Peaks and begin my (Original) SoCal Six Pack of Peaks by doing ECBOS (Etiwanda, Cucamonga, Bighorn, Ontario and Sugarloaf Peaks). I completed ECBOS last year and since I wanted to complete the alternate peak (Ontario) first I decided that I would do ECBOS in reverse order. SOBCE (Sugarloaf, Ontario, Bighorn, Cucamonga, and Etiwanda Peaks).

In order to do this, I needed to climb Sugarloaf and Ontario Peaks via Falling Rock Canyon. It has been a few years since I ascended Falling Rock Canyon, and I forgot just how steep and challenging that route is. I’ve descended Falling Rock Canyon a few times since my last ascent, but the descent is a lot easier than the climb.

The climb to Sugarloaf was right at 1.9 miles with an elevation gain of 1,975 feet. Ontario Peak from there was another 2.1 miles, but .4 of that was a 200 foot descent from Sugarloaf. The elevation gain after the descent was another 1,969 feet in 1.7 miles. All totaled for Sugarloaf and Ontario I climbed 3.6 miles and had an elevation gain of 3,944 feet, even though the total distance travelled was 4.1 miles. Did I mention there are some Class 2 and 3 bouldering along this route, as well as a steep scree field to climb.

Well that pretty much set the stage for the day. My legs were spent by the time I made it over to Bighorn. Which was only another 2.1 miles across the ridgeline and then up to Bighorn. There were several minor ascents and descents while crossing the ridgeline. I didn’t want to do the math, so I only counted the .7 mile ascent to Bighorn. From Bighorn it is a steep drop down to Cucamonga Saddle (not to be mistaken for Icehouse Saddle, two different places). It was only about a ½ mile down to the saddle but the loss in elevation was 840 feet.

From the saddle I headed up to Cucamonga Peak, another 1.3 miles to the summit and 1,262 feet in elevation gain. It was a tough climb on spent legs. After Cucamonga, I crossed the ridgeline over to Etiwanda Peak. Like the Ontario ridgeline, there were a few ascents and descents along the way there, as well as along the way back to the Cucamonga Trail. This added another 1.4 miles ascending and about 625 feet in elevation gain.

The rest of my hike was a nice quiet descent all the way back to Icehouse Canyon Trailhead. All totaled I end up with 17 miles. Only about 7 of those miles were ascending and had a (conservative) total of 6,200 feet in elevation gain.

Aside from wearing my ass out, it was a great day. The weather was perfect. A little chilly throughout the day, but bearable. Some cloud cover early on, which gave way to mostly cloudy and then complete coverage by about 2pm. On the way up to Cucamonga I saw some very lite snow fall. Just a few flakes here and there. However, by the time I began my descent from Etiwanda Peak, it snowed pretty heavy. This lasted until I was maybe 1.5 miles below Icehouse Saddle. So, I would expect that the higher elevations received a good dose of snow. At least a ½ to 1 inch, if not more. It was mostly a quiet day. There were only a handful of hikers and backpackers out this Friday and I didn’t see anyone until I got on the main trail at Cucamonga Saddle.

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