My first ascent of Cucamonga was expected to be Class 1, but turned into a Class 2 routefinding adventure due to snow. Once on top it was pretty cloudy lower down, but you knew civilization was down below due to the far off noise of planes, trains, and automobiles.
I climbed it with my father. (notinkansas) We had a great time. Its even more beautiful from the top.
We started in the Icehouse parking lot around 9AM. It was about 70 degrees and there was a slight breeze, so it was very comfortable. As we worked our way up to Icehouse Saddle we encountered only a few other hikers, including a group of people that had apparently started earlier and changed their minds about the whole "climbing thing".
Anyway, after a beautiful 2 hours we reached Icehouse Saddle and had a quick snack. We saw 6 other hikers at the saddle - some chose to do the 3-T's route and some the route to Ontario Peak. There are several paths leaving the saddle so we doublechecked the route before continuing.
About 200 yards up the Cucamonga Peak trail we encountered a couple of guys that were coming down - they had spent the prior evening camping on the peak. One of the guys was sitting in a rock outcropping (that I later found to be very comfortable). If you plan resting at the saddle continue on a little to the rock chair - it offers an excellent view of Cajon pass and the desert to the north.
We continued up the path to Cucamonga saddle, then began the arduous climb to the peak. The visibility was excellent except out towards LA, where ocean moisture obscured the city, beach and ocean.
We reached the peak at 1PM, after several short stops on the way up the peak. While it is steep and unrelenting, it really isn't that bad if you pace yourself and take an occasional break.
The peak itself was amazing - it afforded views from every direction - much better than taller peaks like Baldy. I actually managed to get a STRONG cell signal from the peak as well by walking to the backside and being in line with Victorville - I did not have success on the front by Alta Loma etc.
It is a big peak, and offers numerous areas for overnight camping. I imagine the morning hours would offer excellent views - the smog usually doesn't form up til later in the day. Some hikers had stated that Palomar in San Diego County was visible earlier in the morning. I imagine on a clear day not only Catalina but other islands would be visible from the peak.
After a leisurely lunch and exploration, we left the peak at around 3PM. We took our time on the descent, looking for Bighorn sheep etc. As we reached the mile 2 marker on the way down we noticed the trees and how the leaves were changing - very nice! We finally reached the Icehouse parking lot at 7PM.
The route wasn't very crowded - we probably encountered 11 people on the way up and about the same on the way down.
As far as supplies go, we took 3 liters of water per person - there is no water along the route once you leave lower Icehouse trail. We had about 300ml total when we returned to the car. We packed the usual sunscreen, sunglasses, etc. The bugs weren't too bad until the evening, around 630PM, as we came down lower Icehouse trail next to the water. A flashlight will come in handy if you want to peek inside the mines along the trail. I highly recommend a walking stick or trail poles on this trip. While good hiking boots are nice, comfortable trail shoes of any kind are probably fine during good weather.
Finally, if you are wanting to try and see the fabled Bighorn sheep you might want to take the Chapman trail. It is longer (2.5mi) but offers views of Bighorn peak and the flats where the sheep supposedly are to be found.
I climbed it today. It was a great hike-challenge.
I went up from Icehouse Canyon. I took the Chapman trail route. It was 4.42 miles according to my pedometer.
I took the trail from Icehouse Saddle toward Cucamonga Peak. I hiked up a bit and then started running down the trail as it headed down. I came to a couple old miner's and took some pictures. I continued my run down and stumbled on a branch at a tree nearby and got all banged up when I fell and it HURT! I was okay to continued my workout. I headed for Bighorn-Cucamonga Saddle and made it alright. It's about a mile to there to the Bighorn-Cucamonga Saddle.
I hiked on up from the Bighorn-Cucamonga Saddle to the Cucamonga use trail marked with a "Cucamonga" sign. According to pedometer it was 1.46 mile there. I hiked to the summit which was about a quarter mile.
I found no register can up there. The summit-highest point looked like it was a sandy area by some bushes-it's hard to miss..
After at the Cucamonga Summit, I headed east to Etiwanda and did it then hiked over Bighorn doing it and then ran down Icehouse trail taking the Chapman route to the parking lot where I parked.
Overall, it was a lot of fun in spite of FALLING!
Departed the trailhead at 9:20 with temps in the 40's. Clouds rolling in. Upper parts of Icehouse saddle still had ice on the trees and very cold and windy at Icehouse Saddle. Got above the clouds covering the Inland empire and western side of the mountain around 7800 ft, with the remaining hike up in Sunny cool conditions. Couldn't see much from the top but always cool to be above the cloud layer. (And the clouds were white - not brown). 3 hrs 30 minutes up and 2 hours 10 minutes down with an hour in between at the summit area.