In 1993, my friends and I climbed the northeast firebreak of Sunset Peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. I was first to break through the fog reaching the summit where a little old man was sitting on the old foundation of the old lookout tower. I sat with him and he told me and my friends many amazing stories of peakbagging, especially in Southern California. The San Gabriels spread out before us and he detailed how he had climbed every visible point and how many times each. His name was Sam Fink and I only met him that one time but he changed my life.
I learned from him of the Hundred Peaks hiking group of the Sierra Club. I knew right away that I wanted to hike as many peaks as I could. Over the next few years I hiked a lot until my knee blew.
Later in 2004 I rekindled my passion with a ascent of Pine Mountain and Dawson Peak where I ran into Wolf Leverich. Once again I was hiking like crazy.
Recently my hiking life has been reduced to spare moments due to death, work, school, and a stubborn body. But finally on 12-10-2007 I as able to get away and realize a little dream that was given to me by Sam Fink. Leaving at 5 am in the morning I drove to San Diego and into the Laguna Mountains and hiked up Garnet Mountain
and Garnet Peak
in 6 inches of fresh snow. It was a amazing feeling. I finally used my old ice axe, to dig my Corolla out of the ice at the turnout! Thank you Sam Fink!
Ten Favorite Peaks, not ranked
1. Arctic Point, San Bernardino Mts., amazing views of the Mojave
2. Cornell Peak, San Jacinto Mts., amazing rock and views
3. San Jacinto Peak, San Jacinto Mts., best views in Southern California
4. Lily Rock, San Jacinto Mts., fun rock climb with nice airy summit
5. Pine Mountain, San Gabriel Mts., great wilderness hike
6. Mount Hawkins, San Gabriel Mts., views if Sheep Mountain Wilderness
7. Mount Williamson, San Gabriel Mts., views of Mojave
8. Mount San Antonio, San Gabriel Mts., everything about it awesome
9. Sugarloaf Mountain, San Bernardino Mts., ancient Sierra Junipers
10. Ontario Peak, San Gabriel Mts., views of the Inland Valley
A few of my favorite memories while bagging listed summits.
1. Mount San Gorgonio 1993, ran into black bear at sundown, I think he ran away faster then me!
2. Mount San Antonio 1994, meeting R.J. Secor at the Ski Hut, getting caught in a sudden snow storm while on the summit.
3. San Jacinto Peak 1995, hiked from the tram in 2-4 feet of snow, ice blasted summit, warming forzen feet in the hut.
4. Cornell Peak 1993, fell asleep on the tippy top, laying like I was impaled, while waiting for friends to catch up. I use to be bit more daring back then.
5. Pine Mountain & Dawson Peak 2004, one of the most beautiful sunsets of my life.
6. Silver Peak 2005, Bachelor Party hike with brothers.
7. Gobblers Knob 2004, asking David to be my best man.
8. Keller Peak 1994, late as all hell night drive with my bro Kelly, then up early to get Delamar and Onyx.
9. Susnet Peak 1995, naked night hike with brothers, running into a bunch of drunk partyers at the turnout.
10. Sunset Peak 1993, meeting Sam Fink with brothers Alan and Kelly.
Visit the Hundred Peaks
website for more information on this Sierra Club hiking group.
I would like to thank my brothers Kelly, David, Alan, and Luke for being very faithful to my hiking impulses, especially Kelly for sharing the dream. I also want to thank my newest best hiking buddy Janell! She rocks! I want give thanks to Sam's bestfriend Lynda for reminding that sometimes you just can't hike, so wait it out and be faithful!