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Whale Peak overnight Messages in this topic - RSS

ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 808


2/16/2020
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 808
1st time for me and my better 1/2. We accompanied Scott Turner, co-author of Afoot and Afield in San Diego, who showed us a variation of the usual route up and down. About 15 miles total, clockwise loop starting at Foot & Walker Pass. Overnight lows at summit in the 40s. Small patches of snow remained at the summit, in addition to several boulder 'bird baths' in the canyons. Lost track of how many bobcat scrapes, scats, and tracks we saw.

View towards Harper Flat.



Shadow of Whale Peak projecting east near sunset.


Alex at sunset.


Mule deer leg



Bobcat scrape, track, and what I think is a gray fox scat, where the fox 'overmarked' the bobcat scrape. The scat does not look like a typical bobcat scat. Lots of sign of both gray fox and bobcat along this wash. The left-hind track of the bobcat is clearly seen next to the ruler.


Santa Rosa Range and Salton Sea


View to Cuyamaca Peak during descent.


Sunrise

edited by ziphius on 2/16/2020
edited by ziphius on 2/18/2020

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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 277


2/17/2020
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 277
That is awesome! I just listened to Scott on the Backpacker Radio podcast. How did the two canyons going/coming compare?
Also, anyone else up there camping?
edited by Rocko1 on 2/17/2020
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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 808


2/17/2020
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 808
Rocko1 the canyon going up was very interesting, with lots of stands of dead or dying pinyon pine that apparently have succumbed in the last 5 years. Lots of potential camp areas in various flats well before the summit if someone wanted. The Smuggler Canyon down route is pretty cool too, there is a lot of boulder-negotiating in that drainage, much more so than the up-canyon route shown. We were the only campers at the summit. Gorgeous views all around. I don't know what took me so long to get up there, maybe it looked intimidating all these years.

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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 520


2/17/2020
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 520
Whale peak is a wonderful place. Nice loop variation to the expedition. Perfect Jan/ Feb climb to gather snow for water. It is a very dry place. Views are fantastic as you said. I looked back in my photos and first climbed almost 29 years ago. On the list to climb again. cheers.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 277


2/17/2020
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 277
ziphius wrote:
Rocko1 the canyon going up was very interesting, with lots of stands of dead or dying pinyon pine that apparently have succumbed in the last 5 years. Lots of potential camp areas in various flats well before the summit if someone wanted. The Smuggler Canyon down route is pretty cool too, there is a lot of boulder-negotiating in that drainage, much more so than the up-canyon route shown. We were the only campers at the summit. Gorgeous views all around. I don't know what took me so long to get up there, maybe it looked intimidating all these years.



Awesome thanks. I have day hiked it via Smugglers Canyon and it was fun but slow going with the boulders. I will give this route a shot.
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Buford
Buford
Posts: 293


2/17/2020
Buford
Buford
Posts: 293
Looks like a fun loop. For all the Bobcat signs around it's amazing how little of them are actually seen.
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 206


2/17/2020
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 206
Great trip! I've done Whale from the easy side. Seems like a good habitat for lions, clearly good for bobcats. That is a quality scrape. I don't think I would have identified what it was, but I'll have an idea now if I see something like that. Great shot of the shadow, too. Surprising that such a long flat mountain casts a sharp shadow.
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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 808


2/17/2020
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 808
@tekewin yeah, I was wondering initially if the shadow was caused by Cuyamaca Peak. But then the next morning, we had an equally-shaped shadow in the opposite direction. I need to observe this a little more from the Whale Peak summit for verification! [ edit: it makes sense that the shadow would be sharper than the mountain itself, especially the farthest point you can see. Just like looking down a set of railroad tracks. Although they are parallel, in the distance, all railroad tracks appear to converge.] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanishing_point
edited by ziphius on 2/18/2020

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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2390


2/25/2020
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2390
Whale Peak is always nice (except in the snow). The Smugglers side can be tough.

Here is another route for those thinking of something different

http://anzaborrego.net/anzaborrego/forum/topic155-whale-peak--inner-pasture--goat-cyn-trestle.aspx

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dsefcik
dsefcik
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2/25/2020
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2390
Buford wrote:
For all the Bobcat signs around it's amazing how little of them are actually seen.

They are around..








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tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 876


2/25/2020
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 876
Nice TR, Ziphius. That's pretty much the same route I remember taking on my first trip up Whale about 15 yrs ago. Was straight out of Schad's book but back then it started in the Blair parking lot, crossed over Foot and Walker to that dirt road. The rest was the same but after crossing Little Blair, you climbed the saddle on that ridge between Little Blair and Blair.

Probably the most serene moment I can recall hiking in the desert was walking through that little meadow between the ascending canyon and Smuggler while it snowed, everything dusted with white and utter silence. Nice memories.
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deborah
deborah
Posts: 81


3/6/2020
deborah
deborah
Posts: 81
Nice trip report and pics! Sounds like a great trip. I haven't been up Whale Peak yet, but I really love those boulders near Smuggler Canyon. They're a lot of fun.
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