Come celebrate the 4th anniversary of the Monterey Bay Area Hiking Group with a hike to one of our favorite locations in the Big Sur back country: Pico Blanco. We'll join our friends with the EAST/NORTH BAY Adventurers/Xplorers group as we traverse the route between the Bottcher's Gap campground and the summit of Pico Blanco at the northern edge of the Los Padres National Forest.
Pico Blanco, Spanish for "White Peak," is perhaps the most distinctive and immediately recognizable peak in central California's Big Sur region. It is located at the far northwestern end of the Los Padres National Forest, and splits the north and south forks of the Little Sur River. The peak is the prominent white limestone/marble cone seen from the Ventana Trail leading to Ventana Double Cone, as well as nearby Post Summit. Pico Blanco is reportedly the largest limestone deposit in the entire state of California.
Summit views atop Pico Blanco are considered to be some of the best in the entire Ventana Wilderness area, taking in the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean to the west, Ventana Double Cone and Kandlbinder Peak to the the southeast, as well as a host of other Big Sur peaks including Mt. Manuel, Post Summit, Uncle Sam Mountain, and Cone Peak far off in the distance.
Location: Bottcher's Gap Campground (Los Padres National Forest)
Start Time: 9:00 a.m.
Hike Duration: 8 to 10 hours
Pace: Moderate (2.5 to 3 mph)
Total Distance: ~15 miles
Total Elevation Gain: ~5,000 feet
Difficulty: Challenging for Distance, Challenging for Elevation Gain
NOTE: This hike is being co-hosted with the EAST/NORTH BAY Adventurers/Xplorers Meetup Group (http://www.meetup.com/BayAreaAdventurersExplorers/)
Our hike route will start out at the Bottcher's Gap campground parking area. The trail initially leads down a well-graded fire road that provides the main access to the Pico Blanco Boy Scout Camp. After crossing the Little Sur River, we begin a 1,350-foot climb up to Launtz Ridge before descending into Duveneck's Hole, a dark redwood canyon that harbors an abandoned and dilapidated establishment of hunting huts. Skirting along the north edge of the canyon, we turn a corner to catch our first foreboding glimpse of the rock-strewn south face of the majestic Pico Blanco. At this point we'll begin the final 1,800-foot climb to the summit, the final 400 feet requiring an off-trail scramble up the bright, white limestone face to the summit.
THIS WILL BE A VERY STRENUOUS HIKE due to combined distance and elevation gain. Portions of this hike are considered EXPLORATORY in nature meaning that trail conditions in some areas are not known ahead of time and may present challenges for successful negotiation, including swollen creek crossings, overgrown brush encroaching the trail, faint tread and/or areas where the trail appears non-existent (requiring off-trail excursion intended to get us to our destination, etc.) Trail route will take us through the rugged and remote northern flank of the Ventana Wilderness.
WHAT TO BRING: Sturdy hiking shoes, layered clothing, wind & rain gear, lunch, hat, gloves, 5-6 liters of water, long pants and long sleeve shirt (for poison oak protection). Bring your trekking polls if you have them as there may be steep inclines & declines. Also, bring a flashlight or headlamp in the event we get back after dark. Important: Water sources can be unpredictable any time of year so PLEASE bring ample supplies of drinking water (5-6 liters of water recommended).
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Very fit, disciplined hikers who can handle at least a 15-mile, 5,000+ feet cumulative elevation gain hike over steep/rough terrain. This hike is for hikers who enjoy the adventures of exploring remote, back country wilderness.
HOW TO ATTEND: You must have appropriate hiking experience to qualify for attendance. Members who do NOT have appropriate hiking experience should consider attending another event.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THIS HIKE:
Hike will commence at approximately 15 minutes after the posted start time. Hike will average speed between 2.5 to 3.0 mph. There will likely be some areas where the trail will be difficult to follow thereby requiring some cross country and bushwhacking across unstable terrain, so solid hiking boots and conditioned feet are required for this event! Additionally, POISON OAK encounter is likely so please plan accordingly (i.e. bring long pants, hat, gloves, long sleeve shirt due to poison oak & all the other bushes we will have to pass through. Trekking poles are also recommended.
NOTE: THIS WILL BE A TEAM HIKING EFFORT WHICH MEANS WE WILL STAY TOGETHER AS A GROUP. WE WILL BE HIKING THROUGH AREAS OF VASTLY REMOTE WILDERNESS AND FOR SAFETY REASONS WE WILL MAKE EVERY ATTEMPT TO STAY TOGETHER AS A GROUP THROUGHOUT THE DURATION OF THE HIKE.
We will meet in the parking area at Bottcher's Gap campground in the Los Padres National Forest. Directions to Bottcher's Gap from Carmel, CA can be found at the following URL:
Please be aware that we expect you to take responsibility for your safety while we are out on the trails. This means being prepared with adequate hiking gear and making sure the difficulty level of the event IS NOT beyond the limits of your health & conditioning. We understand that your "Yes" RSVP to this event means you accept this. For more information regarding safety, please refer to the Monterey Bay Area Hiking Group "About" section for more details.