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Gaskill Peak (via Lawson Peak)

 

Trail Stats

 

Distance - 7.1 Miles

Elevation Gain/Loss - 2000 ft.

Max Elevation Reached - 3796 ft.

Difficulty Level - Moderate

Trailhead - Link

 

Track

 

  

Download Google Earth KML - Link

Download GPX - Link

 

Description

   

Gaskill and Lawson peaks are located SE of Alpine, CA and about 10 miles north of the International border. They stand right at the SW boundary of Cleveland National Forest's Descanso district.

 

This is a moderate hike. For the most part, you walk on an unpaved forest road which first gets you real close to Lawson Peak and then takes you real close to Gaskill Peak. In both cases the road passes the peaks a couple of hundred feet below the summits. To get all the way to the summit, you must leave the established trail (this forest road) and head off in the general direction of the peaks. This road is marked as Forest Route 16S03 in Google Maps and is called Carveacre Rd. in Schad's description. There are no sign posts at the location though.

 

The forest road is wide but unpaved and unmaintained. There has been a lot of erosion (as of Feb. 2009) that has resulted in the creation of several criss-crossing gullys right on the road. There are lots of loose rocks along the road in addition to loose gravel. All in all, this is not an easy surface to walk on. Despite the width of the road, you will find yourself restricted to one edge or the other, constantly switching edges back and forth. 

 

You start off heading west-northwest from the trailhead. The road ascends throughout at a fairly gradual gradient and descends fast just before it sharply turns northward. This last bit of lost elevation will have to be regained on your way back. Right where the road turns north (Schad referrs to the road after the turn as Wisecarver Rd. No signs posted though, so doesn't really matter!) you can leave the road and continue heading northwest towards Lawson Peak, which stands tall right in front of you. Climbing Lawson's Peak requires carefully finding your trail amidst thick bushes and huge granite boulders, some as big as a car. Patience and persistence are key. I had to give up and continue on to Gaskill. The elevation profile below points out the failed attempt.

 

To get to Gaskill Peak, head back to the road and take it northward. After walking some distance you get to a trail junction. It is definitely hard to spot, but a foot trail to the left progressively diverges from road and takes you right up Gaskill Peak. Enroute, you pass under a couple of mini "tunnels" created  by huge boulders leaning against each other. This trail is faint at several locations so some direction finding may be necessary.  After summiting  Gaskill Peak retrace you steps back to the trail junction and follow the road back to where you started. 

It appears that this trail is right along the landing approach to SAN. You therefore spot aircraft after another, nonstop, flying at fairly low altitude.


Elevation Profile

 

 

Trail Log

 

February 22nd, 2009

    

Started from Trailhead - 8:00 am

Reached Gaskill Peak - 11:25 pm

Started back - 12:00 pm

Reached Trailhead - 1:35 pm

Technical Analysis - Link 

  

Photos - Link, courtesy Sachin. D

     

Notes - Nice weather. Spotted a couple hiking up during our return. Witnessed lots of border patrol activity along Lyons Valley Rd. Gathered later that this area is notorious for illegal border crossings.

  

    

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