This was my first hike since moving back to California a few weeks ago and it was a great route to get me back into it. I had a nice cool day with clear skies. My dog Grace and I reached the summit in just under three hours. All and all a great day, that is until I returned to the trail head to find my drivers side window broken. Mine was one of three cars broken into that day, so heed the signs and don't leave anything valuable in your vehicle. All they got from me was a spring suit and an iPod charger, but having to replace the window is a real bummer.
Climbed via a southern route. From the trailhead took off up the right side of El Capitan. Very good scrambling and some tough climbing, had to retrace several times and try a different route. When I summited the southeast ridge had a hard time finding the peak summit, was super cloudy. No views, but and excellent climb. Can't wait to do it again when it's not cloudy!! Route down was good scrambling in a gully between the climbing wall and the east face of El Cap. Photos of My El Cajon/El Capitan Mtn Climb
Fun and easy climb up the South Arete on a very cloudy day. At the top of the ridge it was sunny and bright with a lovely view of an ocean of clouds beneath.
Hiked this several times in the late 90's/early 00's, before the Cedar Fire. Great views from the top and always a great workout with all of the ups and downs on the trail!
I can't believe how hard it was to descend.
Gained summit via a southern appraoch. I started a few miles below the damn and traveled a steep, bouldery ridgeline to the summit. Lots of rock scambling and climbing involved. Weather was hot and sunny. Lost all the rest of climb details on my previous hard drive.
Long hike for a small peak, but worth it
Hiked Cajon several times. The elevation gain/loss on this 3600' is unbelievable. Don't hike this bad boy in the summer. I drank more than 3L of water and still ran out 4 mi. out. Not fun!?!
Muggy and uneventful day or so I thought. Noting the normal parking lot was used as a staging area for Wildcat Canyon Road construction I drove up the hill to the TH. I admired the new TH facilities and how far this place has come in a short time and set out towards the summit. After the 4+ hour MUGGY jaunt, I noticed 2 SD Parks Officers in the TH area where I parked as I was descending the last part of the trail. As soon as I saw them they were gone. As I returned to my car, I noticed the note they left me telling me I was not allowed to park at the TH (not posted), but needed to park at the bottom apparently with all the staged excavators, dump trucks and other behemoth construction equipment where, consequently, there is NO PLACE TO PARK!! I was also informed in the note that El Capitan Open Preserve was closed for the whole month of August (also not posted). Gotta love government's oxymoronic nature and lack of organization! Laughable events to end my hike to be sure.
It's hard to find elevation gain like this elsewhere in the San Diego area, unless you're willing to drive much further. Nobody else on the trail. Car to car 7am-12:30pm, will start earlier next time. Went through 3 liters.
South Arete 12.27.07
Finally stuck it out and made it to the top. Went through 4L of water. It was a pretty nice day for mid May - not too hot. Took about 5.5 hours round trip, but the descent took about an hour longer than it could have due to some really tired folks in our group; they just weren't prepared for an 11mi round tripper.
First time on this mountain. I had a 55# pack for training and ran out of gas about a mile from the summit.
The nice thing about this hike was that I had about 1000ft of ascension on the way back.
It was nice on this day, about 65 degrees and I only saw 6 people on the route. I gave a gallon of water to a group of three out of my training weight. They were discussing their water situation on their way down when I was passing them... I would suggest at least 3 liters for this hike and a hot day could call for another one on top of that.
I totally recommend this hike for a San Diego county hike. It is by far the best one I have been on in the county.
We turned back the previous weekend due to rain and low visibility, not realizing that we were 200 ft from the top of the ridge, came back and finished the job in the heat. Expect a 40 minute hike to reach the actual summit once you top out on the ridge.
May 4, 2008 - Did a few sport climbs here, my first multipitch on rock (had done easy multipitch ice), great fun at a great place, thanks Travis!
Sep 26, 2010 - South Arete x2. Dragged the girlfriend and my brother up their first class 3 route, both did awesome and had a blast. Almost bit it due to heat exhaustion on the way down though, despite still having water. Sobering...
It was a busy day on the trail for the re-opening of El Capitan Open Space Preserve (closed since Oct 2003). Ran into a group of 4 on the summit and 3 others who were on their way. Summit register can needs to be replaced. Was simply awestruck when I simultaneously rounded the southwest face of the ridge and popped out of the clouds/fog. The view of the mountain 'islands' above the clouds was magnificent! Overall a great day. Looking forward to climbing the South Arete some day.
I live just a few miles from this one, so I hike it frequently. it's unusual to meet anyone else on the trail. Lots of up and down, good training hike with good views. All things considered, I would call it the second best hiking peak in San Diego county.
Definitely best from mid-October until early June. There will occassionally be snow on the summit after a big winter storm.
The entire mountain was burned over in the 2003 cedar fire. Frequent rains in the 2004/2005 season produced a very spectacular spring 2005 bloom.
An early start to the 2005/2006 rainy season holds the promise of another green winter, and another incredible spring bloom in the coastal sage scrub.
The vegetation of the early successional stages of wildfire recovery attract mule deer, which in turn attract mountain lions.
Good hard trail up and kill climbing once you get up to the base. Worth a trip even if you aren't climbing.
have done many rock climbs since 1973 on the south face. never been to the summit.
This is the toughest day hike that I've been on in San Diego County. The trail is very up and down the entire way, so after climbing to the top, you still have lots of climbing to look forward to on the way back. This trail can be brutally hot in the summer, so I recommend bringing a few litres of water with you and some sun screen. This hike took me four hours to complete, but it sure seemed longer! If you are in good shape, this hike is worth it because it has some really nice views of San Diego and the backcountry.
My brother and I left the car at 7:00am and reached the summit in 3 1/2 hours. After a nice lunch on the summit we made our way back to the truck safely. We were on the mountain for 7 hours and drank two liters of water each. Successful climb.
I'd seen this peak in profile many times while flying into San Diego and took the time to give it a try this April day. Surprisingly tough little mountain! Went back on July 2, 2000 and nearly expired from lack of water.
This peak looks impressive driving east from San Diego and El Cajon on Interstate 8. In fact, I would venture to say it is the best looking peak in San Diego County - it just begs to be climbed. I took the easy way from the west, an enjoyable hike over fire roads and an easy, untrailed ridgeline.