Van Dam Peak

I decided to get some early morning hiking in before sitting through a morning of online meetings. Figured I should finally summit the other two peaks around Van Dam. I decided to start up from the Savannah trailhead. Susie Kara joined me in a socially distant manner. That is, as always I was behind her as she led the way 😉

The start of the trail took us steeply up to the main ridge. A bit overgrown, and the wet plants soon made my pants wet as well. Once on the ridge, we made our way to Van Dam peak. Typically, when hikers refer to Van Dam, they are actually referring to North Van Dam (where the graffitied concrete slab is). We turned south on the Iola trail for a bit, before picking up a faint use trail that took us to the summit. There is no benchmark or even a register. A large rock was just to the west of the summit, and Susie scrambled up for her photo.

Once back on the Iola trail, we cruised to North Van Dam. Surveyed the graffiti for a bit, then continued on to the north. At the junction, we veered to the left toward our third peak of the day, Peak 1080.

We finally encountered someone on the trail at this point and passed without issue. We missed the use trail to the summit and continued along the side trail. Checking the map, we realized our error and backtracked slightly. The use trail was actually right where we encountered the other hiker.

We quickly followed it up to the top. Like the others, no marks or registers. A nice view of Black Mountain was the best it could offer. The trail continued down the west side of the peak and back onto the main trail. We followed it until it ended at Sabre Springs Parkway, then we just road hiked back to our cars. Another two peaks crossed off the ‘Near-By” list.” 

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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