Attack of the Cholla – Ascent of Villager & Rabbit Peaks
Gain: 8500 ft
Distance: 23 miles
The cholla wasn’t the only thing causing some pain yesterday.
Others’ photos and Meetup link here
7 people made the 3 hour drive for this one. Most of us headed out Friday and camped out close to the trailhead. The sky was quite clear allowing for great views of the stars, something hard to get closer to civilization.
After a little bit of sleep, we got up and met at the trailhead with our headlamps on and headed out by 5:15 am. We had to traverse the flat, but very rocky first 2 miles before gaining the first ridge to Villager. This took a decent amount of time as I didn’t exactly fail the faint use trail and had to navigate over more rocky portions.
We finally gained the ridge and headed up steeply.
This is very typical trail for a most of the hike:
We took a brief break here, and watched a solo hiker (Rick Kent) blaze past us.
We continued up, passing up some steep dropoffs (aka cliffs) on the west side of the ridge.
If one really wanted some pain, they could add an out-and-back to Rosa Point from this point, adding at least another 4000 ft gain. That is where Rick Kent headed.
We continued up over the rocky terrain. After the first 2 miles at the start, up to Villager Peak covers ~ 5000 ft in 5 miles, but there are some flat portions in between some steep ascents, including some sections of light bouldering.
In this terrain, it is not terrible difficult to avoid the brush, at least it seems. Yet the cholla plants managed to attached to you without reason (evidence in first picture). They are quite the pain to get out, as placing your fingers even delicately upon their other needle-thin endings will cause more pain. But, as usual, I did not wear pants and have reach my montly quota of leg lacerations.
We made it to Villager, ate lunch, stored some extra liquids (I really have to learn how to not bring 8 liters on such a hike), and convinced Tim to continue on to Rabbit. Not like it took much, deep down he really wanted to go!
Heading to Rabbit from Villager traverses about 4 miles with 1800 ft gain and 1200 ft loss over several bumps, culminating in a steep final 1000 ft ascent to the summit. Though the summit is generally broad, one can see great views from the summit block. Snow on San Jacinto and especially San Gorgonio was eye-catching.
We headed back just before 1 pm, hoping to reach back at the trailhead around 6 as it would turn dark out. We got back just around 7 as John and Jen were having some lower extremity pain, which was not surprising considering the length and rockiness of the hike.
For me, I was extremely surprised to have practically no foot pain. I felt I could walk at least 30 miles, when usually my feet start hurting around 18. Part of this may have been the comfortable Salomons I was wearing, and part that I made sure to not stand on my feet when not necessary. Either way, the combination worked great.
Somehow I managed to create sweat stains that resembled a face.
This entry was posted on Sunday, February 1st, 2009 at 3:26 pm and is filed under Trail Information, Trip Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.