Kern County Highpoint Trip Report
Mount Piños (8,831 ft) and Sawmill Mountain (8,818 ft)
Date: April 13, 2005
Author: Layne Bracy
The road to the trailhead was paved and free of snow. The route, however, was
almost completely covered in deep snow. Fortunately, the snow was packed but
not hard, making for almost ideal hiking conditions. We had not brought gaiters,
snowshoes, or axes but they were unnecessary.
We could not find a trail so we hiked west and up through the woods using the
compass. The trees are spaced apart enough that bushwhacking was not a problem.
The Air Force microwave station came into view and we found the summit of Pinos
(Ventura's highpoint), a small boulder just north of the fence. We did not see
the benchmark, presumably under snow.
Gerry Roach's trip report is good reference for the issue of Kern's highpoint.
Essentially, it is either Sawmill's summit or some rocks in trees 100 yards
northwest of the Pinos summit. We visited the rocks in the trees and then hiked
over to Sawmill's summit on a pleasant day. Gary Suttle left a note in the
register encouraging hp'ers to visit the rocks on Pinos and some high ground
northeast of Sawmill's summit cairn.
We retreated over to Piños. The challenge of the day came in finding the car again.
The sun had erased our tracks. I set the compass for east but we ended
up north of the parking lot and we had to partially re-climb the mountain and
try again. On the second attempt we hit the road 1/3 mile south of the parking lot.
Without map and compass we might have been in trouble; I would have liked
a GPS for this hike.
Hike statistics: Rround-trip approximately 6 miles; 1,600 feet of elevation gain;
5 1/2 hours duration (including an extra 60-90 minutes in route-finding at the end).