North Pinyon Mountain (Peak 3640)

Today’s adventure was to have us hike to the summit of P3640, informally known as North Pinyon. All three of us, Susie, Ted and myself, all had time constraints, so this peak was perfect.  Just past the Scissors Crossing we turned off at Plum Canyon and headed south along the dirt road. After about 1.3 miles the road splits, and the right fork heads to the trailhead for Sentenac, while the left fork would take us to the trailhead for North Pinyon. Initially, we had hoped to squeeze in Sentanac since it almost shares the same trailhead, but we just did not have the time. After another 1/2 mile of driving we reached the turnaround. I parked the Outback and we began getting ready to head off.

The route begins with a short scramble over some rocks before spending some time weaving through the canyon in a nice sandy wash. Some interesting geological features revealed themselves along the sides of the wash. A standard collection of desert plants also dotted the route. Eventually, the wash turned rocky and our stroll became less gradual and more stair-like. We had a few dry falls to contend with, with only one truly needing to be bypassed. As the drainage began to end, I located the exit point I had used the last time and climbed up. 

With a commanding view of Granite Mountain to our west, we did have our first views of North Pinyon to our east. We worked our way toward a small saddle between the minor peak we were on and the final climb up. The last 4/10 of a mile would climb about 400 feet, but the terrain was easy to navigate. Once over the minor false summit, it was a simple walk over to the true summit just to the east. 

There is no benchmark here, but it does have a register that we gladly signed. The skies were pretty clear, so we had some nice views of Whale Peak to our south, Grapevine and Sentenac to the northwest, and the Salton Sea to the east. After a quick snack, it was time to head back down. The only real challenge in this hike is to make sure you drop down into the correct wash to lead you out. Once we did this, we chatted about our plans to complete the San Diego Sierra Club 100 list again. It is going to be a fun desert season for us! We made a quick stop again at Calico Cidery before dropping Susie off at one of the wineries in Ramona to meet her parents. All told the hike was about 4.25 miles in 3:30 with an elevation gain of 1,498 feet.

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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