6 OCTOBER 2020 W6/CC-056
At 3,111 feet, Sandstone Peak is the highest of the Santa Monica Mountains. I first hiked to the summit on December 12, 1974. Back then all of Boney Mountain was part of the Boy Scouts’ Circle X Ranch and it was jealously guarded by the cantankerous caretaker, Max Jones. Over the years my friends and I had many run-ins with Mr. Jones as we would sneak in to enjoy this lovely area. Now the entire area is overseen by the Conservancy. In many ways I miss those old days, dodging Max. We seldom saw anybody up there. Now, I’m afraid we are loving this place to death. In the last few years it must’ve made some online “Best Hikes” list because it is packed most days.
Because of the crowds, I left my car at 5:30 AM and made my way up the trail by the cloud-shrouded moonlight. The hike is 1.57 miles and about 1,000 feet of elevation gain. The trail is deeply eroded from so much foot traffic and the Woolsey fire.
The plan was for my friend Brian (WA6JFK) to hike up Flint Peak (CT-225) so we could do a little summit-to-summit. I set up my roll-up J-pole at the end of my new telescoping carbon fiber fishing pole. I could hear Brian clearly but he could not hear me at all. I did make contact with John (W6FE) in Chula Vista. I also had a QSO with Mike (KN6HTX) in San Marcos. Mike was only running 7 watts. I had several QSOs from the Ventura/Point Hueneme area, including a nice, armchair QSO with Bruce (KM6ZJK) in Ventura. As usual, I heard from Derek (KM6UHU) in Altadena and Jon (K6LDQ) in Torrance.
I’ve been rock climbing in this area for many years – long before it became very popular. In fact, I believe my friends and I were the first to climb Balance Rock back in the ’80’s
Fun fact: Sandstone Peak is a misnomer. The peak composed of igneous rock – mostly breccia.