A Sleepless Overnight on Cucamonga Peak

It was a long night. Ten minutes after we went to sleep, the wind picked up to about 50 mph. These weren’t gusts, it was solid 50 mph wind.

I’ve been up Cucamonga Peak plenty of times, but I thought it’d be fun to do an overnight trip up there with Wes and Liz. So on short notice, we packed and went up. My pack felt pretty light at about 35 pounds. It was a beautiful day when we started out, but unfortunately, Wes didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before.

Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon Quick Facts

  • A free self-serve permit is required

  • Adventure Pass required for parking

  • Dogs on leash are allowed

  • Snow and ice in winter

  • Allow 8 hours

  • Strenuous

  • 5,125′ of elevation gain

  • 14.5 miles out and back

  • Trail tops out at 8,858′

Just a mile in, Wes was wondering if he would make it. This was concerning enough to take a break, and after an Excedrin and a protein bar, he perked up a bit. Caffeine is one of the greatest tools a hiker can have in his med kit, and 15 minutes later Wes was feeling great, so we powered up the mountain.

Caffeine is one of the greatest tools a hiker can have in his med kit, and 15 minutes later Wes was feeling great, so we powered up the mountain.

We decided to press on to Icehouse Saddle, and assess where Wes was at. He wasn’t great, but he had improved enough to keep going. We continued to the base of the upper mountain where he could make a final decision about where or not he had it in him to push up the steep final segment of the trail to the summit.

Wes was back to his normal self so we pushed to the summit. We were all huffing it as usual, but made it in plenty of time. The sun was just on its way down. I think it was about 4 pm. We set up camp and had a great time taking pictures and watching the beautiful sunset. Wes and Liz even posed for some hero shots on the Cucamonga Peak “Pride Rock,” as we call it.

The idea of sleeping on a summit with the stars out always seems cool, but practically every summit I’ve slept on gets exposed to crazy amounts of wind.

We all turned in pretty early that night. Ten minutes after we went to sleep, the wind picked up to about 50 mph. These weren’t gusts, it was solid 50 mph wind. It stayed that way until about 4 am. The idea of sleeping on a summit with the stars out always seems cool, but practically every summit I’ve slept on gets exposed to crazy amounts of wind. It makes it near impossible to get any sleep. That night was no different.

The wind picked up again when we woke up. I got a picture of the kids’ tent, which was practically folded over. It was barely standing on its frame, giving Wes and Liz barely any room to breathe. Fortunately for them, they were so tired they didn’t care and slept through it.

Despite the crappy night’s sleep, I was up with a lot of energy, ready to get back down the mountain. I went to bed at 8:30 pm that night and it felt great to make up for all that lost sleep.

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