|December 27, 2010|
We woke up in the back of the truck at the base of Sombrero Peak, having found our way into Indian Valley the night before. Both Anna and myself were well rested after yesterday's hikes, and we were quick to get up and start moving. We had driven in on the sandy road (2WD okay) to our camp in the dark, so I never got a good look at Sombrero Peak. The summit was out of view from the trailhead, but I was sure that we could just hike straight up the slope right next to where we were parked, so that's what we did.
Sombrero Peak (taken on the drive out)
We walked east for just a minute or two through a wash until we saw a good line through the cactus, and started hiking up the steep slope at 7:20am. We gained 500 feet in a fifth of a mile, reaching a low angle plateau where the views really opened up. From the plateau we could see down to Indian Valley behind us, Sombrero in front of us, and the very top of False Sombrero to the north, to which we would be heading as soon as we got down from Sombrero.
Indian Valley from part way up Sombrero
Part way up Sombrero, False Sombrero is the cone farther back on the left
I continued directly up towards the highest point I could see on Sombrero, the going being pretty easy as far as off-trail hiking goes. Anna was just a minute behind me as we got near to the top of the second steep but short slope of the day. We started following pieces of a faint use trail that traversed to the left towards the rocky summit, with the final 200 feet being guarded by cactus, trees, and huge blocks of granite. The trail meanders back and forth through rocks, and we eventually lost it and just made our own way through to the relatively popular summit register, an ammo can resting on the top of a rock the size of a small car. We signed in at 8:40am, and took in the amazing views of the Carrizo Badlands to the east and Carrizo Gorge to the south. I had forgotten at the time, but supposedly you can see the Goat Canyon Trestle in Carrizo Gorge from Sombrero, if you know where to look.
Looking east from 2/3rds up Sombrero
Flora on Sombrero
Indain Valley in the foreground, the Carrizo Badlands farther off
The view northeast from the summit of Sombrero
We descended from Sombrero exactly the same way we had come up, crossing just one pair of hikers on their way up. We returned to the truck at 10:14am, put on clean shirts and downed a couple of energy drinks before the short drive over to False Sombrero...
After Sombrero Peak, Anna and I had driven to the north fork of the dirt road running through Indian Valley, continued to its west end, and parked near a few people car camping near the base of False Sombrero. Sombrero Peak, being a DPS-listed peak, had a published route and at least some available information. False Sombrero on the other hand had squat, though being just 1300 feet higher than where we parked, it didn't seem to matter too much.
Anna on False Sombrero, the truck visible far below in the dirt lot
From the truck, we could see most of the southeast side of False Sombrero. There seemed to be several options for getting to the summit, though none seemed to have a clear advantage over another. Anna and I started heading west into the wash that runs below the south side of the peak, and turned right when we saw a decent route through the cactus, boulders, and loose dirt. We just kept heading up, searching for the path of least resistance, and topped out onto the summit area an hour after leaving the truck. Scrambling through a few large boulders got us to the mild summit boulder and the adjacent register at 12:10pm. The register averaged about an entry per year, though we were the third and probably last people to sign the register in 2010. The last visit was just a week prior to ours, and I recognized the names from the first entry of 2010, Bob Burd and Tom Becht from summitpost.com. I'd actually met Bob briefly in Lone Pine just last August. Small world.
The direct route on False Sombrero
The Sawtooth Mountains from False Sombrero
The views on False Sombrero were slightly less impressive than on Sombrero, though we had the advantage of a clear view of the Sawtooth Mountains, to which we would be paying a visit sometime in the near future. From the summit of False Sombrero, Anna and I dropped a few hundred feet to the west and into the top of the sandy gully running down the southwest side of the mountain. The sand made for an easy descent, and we actually found footprints running the length of the upper gully, I'm assuming from the person responsible for the week-old entry in the register. The sand got us down a good 700 feet before we were funneled into the wash leading back to the truck. We took our time climbing down some of the huge boulders in the upper wash, and arrived back to the truck at 1:10pm where Anna and I agreed that both Sombreros were fun peaks and would be worth a repeat sometime in the future.
False Sombrero, our ascent route up the middle and our descent route was the gully on the left
Being so early, we debated on whether we wanted to hike one more peak before heading home, as I had the necessary maps to get us up the nearby Stage Mountain. We were thinking about it on our drive out of Indian Valley when we were blocked by a truck stopped in the dirt road in front of us. Once we stopped, the truck's owner came over and pointed out several bighorn sheep on the nearby ridge. I couldn't believe I didn't have my SLR in the truck, but managed to get an awful shot with my point-and-shoot. Anna and I spent a short while watching the sheep and talking with our new friend before heading back out to County Highway S2. We stopped to check out a possible route on Stage, but decided to save it and get back into town at a decent time for once. Besides, we'd be back in just 5 days...
A bighorn sheep silhouetted on the ridge
Sombrero stats: 2.4 miles roundtrip, 1900 feet gain/loss
False Sombrero stats: 1.7 miles roundtrip, 1400 feet gain/loss