Inner Pasture

Today’s adventure was not directly about summiting a peak, but rather the preparations for the attempt. Red Top and Sawtooth (aka Fun and Funner) are the two hardest peaks on the San Diego Sierra Club 100 peak list. Instead of attempting them as a very long day hike, we are going to tackle them as an overnight trip. Susie and Matt used this approach last year with good success. So, following their lead, that is the method we are going to use for my attempt.

Sawtooth and Red Top
Sawtooth (left) and Red Top (right) from near False Sombrero

To try to maximize my probability to summit these monsters, Ted and I decided to hike to the base of the mountain and leave a water cache. That way, my backpack can be a touch lighter. So, Ted and I switched over to our full backpacks, swapped in our standard kit and the water for the cache and set off.

The first part of the hike took us through an unnamed canyon. I had hiked it before when I summited Stage Benchmark and knew that it was an easy 3 miles. Once the canyon opened up onto the Inner Pasture, to our west Red Top rose above the desert floor. We continued to follow the wash to the west. The miles ticked off fairly quickly with us only stopping briefly to double check our track.

Soon, we drew near the base of the mountain and then continued up the drainage to next week’s camping site. We dropped our packs and enjoyed our lunch, feeling good with the pace we kept. I placed my water out of sight nearby. Ted did the same with the water he carried. When he went to pull out his bottles, he realized that he had carried 6 liters, in addition to the fluids he budgeted for the hike itself. We had quite a laugh. We certainly had enough water for next weekend. We looked up the rocky draw that would be our route to the summits. This is going to be a challenge. I am hoping that Matt and Susie have a good memory of their route to help us along.

The topo map shows a spring nearby, so on our way out, we made a small detour to see if it existed. Upon reaching the spot, it was clear that if it did exist, it was not going to be accessed. So much for that idea.

We made good time cruising back, now that our packs were much lighter. We were observing the route with a bit more care. We might be traversing this in the early evening after our summit attempt. Susie and Matt had hiked out partially in the dark.

Once back at the car, we were feeling good about this portion for next week. We decided to treat ourselves to a nice ice cream from the store at Agua Caliente. Now to prepare for the real test.

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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