Date of climb: September 15, 2012
#17: Saddleback, 4515 ft.
Hiked Saddleback today from the Ore Bed Trail. It was a really nice day and not a tough one at all. The first portion of the trek followed the same route I’d taken to hike the Gothics cable route – Garden to the Interior Outpost, then picking up the Ore Bed and following the Saddleback slide, eventually reaching the col between Gothics and Saddleback. It’s such a great route that I enjoyed the opportunity to hike it again so soon, and in slightly different weather conditions/post-summer for a slightly different view.
The forecast predicted clouds for the morning and sun in the afternoon. This was partially true. We ended up with a mixture of clouds, rain and fog for the first half of the hike, and didn’t see the sun in its full glory until we were on our way down.
The trickiest part of this trail is the vertical rocks above the slide, just as it veers left back into the trees. The rain today made it extra slick and challenging to ascend and especially descend.
I was surprised at how very gentle the Range trail was up to the Saddleback summit from the col with Gothics. It was a piece of cake, and a pleasure to walk. I think we must have passed the false summit at some point though I never figured out where it was exactly… we definitely walked across the “saddle” for a stretch, which was horizontal ground at the top of the mountain on the lovely treed path, and eventually came to the real summit. The clouds were blowing in and out while we were having a snack and a look around. It was nice to be up there in those conditions – not so foggy that we couldn’t see the views, but kind of mystical. I meant to go over and take some pics of the steep trail that descends from the summit toward Basin over the Saddleback cliffs but I was too cold and instead will return again someday in warmer weather for more exploration. It was definite hat and glove weather atop the summit – I would guess somewhere in the 40s, and windy.
The sun came out on our walk back down the mountain which was a nice treat, and it was an easy journey back to Garden once we got past those slick rocks at the top of Ore Bed. I’m happy to have completed the Great Range with the climb of Saddleback today, and look forward to rehiking my favorites post-46.