Leader: Jerry Russom
Asst.: Bob Loveland
Seventeen persons answered the bell in a driving snowstorm. A weather coordinator was quickly appointed, and by the time the group reached the trailhead on San Emigdio Creek, things were better.
Eagle Rest is the northernmost peak among the Frazier-Pinos group and can best be reached by a two-mile, 900-ft. approach down the creek. The take-off point is at the foot of a massive SW ridge (3550') and from this point, Eagle Rest Peak is easily visible high on the right. Although the route lies along the crest of the ridge, climbers should take advantage of game trails which tend to utilize an easier gradient for the same gain.
The first third of the journey is on bare dirt and decomposed granite. The ridge joins another from the left and juniper, live oak, and manzanita begin to appear. The middle third of the trip features more rock, a sharper ridge crest, and an increasing number of shrubs. The top of the ridge emerges from a juniper grove onto a cupped slope topped by an extensive summit rock formation. As the configuration is that of a battleship, there is difficulty in getting up the steep sides. At the edge of the juniper grove, stop and locate a 20' high buttress of rock at about the middle of the top of the rubble slope and set your course just to the right of the formation. Reaching there, bear 45° to the left picking your way among large rock faces and after approximately 220' ascend directly upward to the summit.
The rock formations at the top were formerly ocean beds. As you glance down the almost vertical north slope of Eagle Rest, you are aware of the massive tilting of earth strata. The rocks at the top feature layers of water-ground rocks, ocean shells, and hydrologic rubble. The register is on a tilted slab which, under normal conditions, offers no difficulties.
We arrived on top at noon in 49° weather and after 30 minutes for lunch, descended by the same route. The steep descent, as is often the case, was more tiring and in some respects more dangerous than the ascent. One hour and 30 minutes was enough for everyone to reach the creek bed, but then an hour of gently uphill trail remained before we reached the cars. As we drove out, an unexpected bonus resulted from the setting sun shining on the iced pinyon trees which completely cover Frazier and Pinos, to create a massive glitter of Christmas tree tinsel.