Summits: 1340

2014: Oct 22-24 » Santa Barbara: The Big Four and The Big Three

Taking advantage of being in good shape from my recent trip on the John Muir Trail, I set my sights on the toughest summits on the HPS list. Big Pine, West Big Pine, Samon, and Madulce, otherwise known as The Big Four, are usually done as a 3-day backpacking trip totaling 45 – 50 miles (depending on route).   McKinley, San Rafael, and Santa Cruz, or The Big Three, are usually done as a 2-day backpacking trip totaling 33 miles. With the help of my mountain bike and the company of friend Phil Stinis, we set out to do them all in 3 days, hopefully with enough energy to actually enjoy ourselves and the beautiful Santa Barbara scenery. Our itinerary/stats went as follows:


Wednesday (The Big Four)

Leave trailhead via mountain bike @8:30am, arrive Chokecherry Spring @11:30am, stash bikes.

Hike Samon Mountain, summit @2pm, back to bikes @4:15pm.

Bike to Madulce trail junction, set up camp @5:30pm.

Stats – Bike – 12 miles, 3200′ gain

Hike – 6 miles, 1900′ gain/loss


Thursday (The Big Four continued…)

Leave camp @6:45am, ride to Big Pine junction, stash bikes.

Hike Big Pine Mountain, summit @8:05am, back to bikes.

Ride to West Big Pine trail junction, hike to West Big Pine, summit @9:18am, back to bikes.

Bike to Madulce Trail junction, stash bikes.

Hike to Madulce Peak (saw a bear!), summit @12:52pm, back to bikes.

Ride back to trailhead, arrive @4:30pm.

Drive to trailhead for The Big Three.

Stats – Bike – 21.5 miles, 2500′ gain, 5700′ loss

Hike – 10.5 miles, 2400′ gain/loss


Friday (The Big Three)

Leave trailhead @6:45am. Arrive McKinley saddle via mountain bike @9:40am, stash bikes.

Hike San Rafael, summit @10:40am, back to McKinley saddle @11:20am.

Hike McKinley, summit @11:40am, back to McKinley saddle @11:50am

(Phil descended back to the truck here while I continued on to Santa Cruz)

Hike to Santa Cruz , summit @2:25pm, back to McKinley saddle @4:23pm.

Retrieve bike, ride back to trailhead, arrive @5:35pm.

Stats – Bike – 16 miles, 2800′ gain/loss

Hike – 17 miles, 5400′ gain/loss