Sugg Peak (attempt)

I decided to attempt to summit Sugg Peak today. I was able to convince my friend Mark Better to tag along. Sugg Peak sits in the heart of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, In researching how to get to this summit, I learned that this was going to be a mix of simple fire roads and pure cross-country hiking. Our quest began on the East Mesa Fire Road. We cruised along for a couple of miles or so until we reached where I thought we should leave the road and begin the true adventure.

From reading Derek’s trip report, he spoke of passing through a meadow and of an abandoned cabin before bushwhacking their way to the summit. Like Derek, I had spent some time on Google Earth to identify landmarks and possible routes. As Mark and I pushed past the brush onto the meadow, we had high hopes.

Crossing over the barbed wire fence that denotes the boundary with Cleveland National Forest, we continued on. Sitting on the edge of the meadow was the abandoned cabin! We spent some time exploring it. The stone walls still stood, but the roof was long since gone. But now it was time to find our way to the summit.

We surveyed the landscape before us, wondering if one route might be better than another. Derek’s description does not give us many clues, nor was there a GPS track to assist us. So we headed off to pick our way through the brush. Faint use trails would appear and disappear as we worked through the scrub. It was slow going. After a good hour of this, we had made little progress. Finally, we decided to turn back.

This is actually a valuable skill to possess as a hiker, know your true limits and when to toss in the towel. This attempt was one of those times. We knew how we felt, and what it would take to get back to the trailhead. The peak will have to wait for another day.

We hacked our way back down to the meadow and onto the fire road. While we did not summit Sugg Peak, the discovery of the cabin and time spent with a good friend certainly offset that. 

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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