Cowles Mountain November 23, 2014 Trip Report
© December 2014 Adam Helman

Note 1: All pictures are courtesy of Greg Slayden.
Note 2: Mouse-click any image for enlargement.

Greg Slayden's photo album
Greg Slayden's report and GPS track


Greg Slayden and climbing friends have successfully climbed both Baja's Picacho del Diablo and Baboquivari in Arizona - both significant efforts (and which I've also climbed 8-). On the return drive they pass through San Diego on Saturday - and don't contact me because I had alerted them to the possibility of being occupied that evening with an Asian "foodie" group set on gourmet Taiwanese cuisine.

However I was available, having opted instead to eat Thai food with the San Diego Deliciousness food group mid-afternoon. Long story short, they are already in Laguna Beach an hour's drive north when I return their call and arrange for a short hike/climb of local Cowles Mountain for the next morning.

Adam Walker, one of Greg's partners, and our acquaintance from previous "real" mountains, will not attend - it's understandably more important to be with his parents.

Greg Adam
Greg at Cowles' summit. Adam just before descent

Meeting, Hike/Climb

We meet at my home and drive in Greg's rental because it's sensible to use it rather than my larger vehicle. The roughly 23 miles are trivial, and we arrive at my standard trailhead in short order. It's actually the less frequented trailhead, which I prefer, because the mountain is already too crowded with locals!

We ascend the service road as it winds around the east slopes, consuming roughly one half hour to top-out amidst a throng of locals. There are no problems with my (improving) sciatica - and thank goodness.

After a brief snack and many views all-about we descend the standard trail, which annoyingly switchbacks with very little elevation change. Soon enough the junction is reached with that trail returning to the main trailhead (and parking lot just for hikers). We return to Greg's rental soon enough and head home where I shower.

Greg's flight out of John Wayne Airport requires he be there around 2:30 p.m. for the rental return. Hence we have plenty of time to eat at Denny's a few miles north of my home. We both eat breakfasts - myself French toast with all the accompanying items; while Greg has some filling "Slam" meal with cheese omelet (my favorite!), sausage, toast and more.

We part amicably, hoping to climb "real" mountains together in the future. Sadly, a motorcycle accident on Interstate-5 delays Greg's drive for an hour, missing his flight. I assure him that the event is unusual. Still the damage is done - yet the airlines get him on the next Seattle-bound flight.

downtown parking lot
Fuzzy downtown view
from Cowles' summit.
Adam next to Greg's rental.
Note "DENALY" at left.