Mt Pinos Course Setter's Notes

Mt.Pinos consists of open forest of mostly Jeffrey pines and white firs at elevations around 7500 to 8000 feet. The terrain consists of mostly gentle slopes and runnable forest with intersecting gorges that are steep but usually crossable. In the middle of summer Mt. Pinos is usually very pleasant with temperatures 20 to 30 degrees less than the hot desert valleys.

Litter: Mt. Pinos is a beautiful area but it suffers from a small segment of the population who, either because of stupidity or arrogance, chooses to litter. If anyone feels generous and public spirited, we will supply plastic trash bags for anyone wishing to spend a few minutes picking up litter where they see it. It would be nice to leave this pristine area in better shape than the way we found it.

Hazards: Runners will be slowed by the 25% reduction in air (and oxygen) pressure at 8000 feet. There is no poison oak but there is a hazard in the form of alow-lying shrub known as creeping snowberry that attaches itself to the ground in multiple places forming loops like croquet wickets that can easily trip a runner. Also there are a lot of downed trees in the area. Pinecones have become particularly numerous in places and it is easyto turn an ankle if you step on them incorrectly. And you will find that a thick build up of pine needles is as slippery as oil, especially on steepslopes. Another possible hazard, although not common, is the Pacific rattlesnake which ranges up to 11,000 feet elevation. Bears and mountain lions are possible but rare in the area. More than likely you'll be startling deer. The steep downhill terrain beyond the map to the northwest and southwest is part of the Chumash Wilderness. A clue that you have gone beyond the map is the steepness of the terrain (even steeper than what you face on the courses). If you get lost go south or southeast until you reach the road.

Map features:

The map has lots of rock features labeled variously as small, medium, and large boulders, boulder groups, and stony ground. The symbols used on the map are not the same as those normally used on clue sheets. On the map a boulder is a black dot and on the clue sheet a boulder is a triangle. On the map a cluster of boulders is indicated by a triangle and on the clue sheet by a pair of triangles. There are numerous faint trails in the form of bulldozer tracks from the long distant past. Most of these tracks have almost reverted back to the forest and may or may not be mapped as indistinct footpaths. The ones that are mapped are mostly unreliable to use as navigation or catching features since a runner crossing them may miss them entirely.

Light green on the map indicates areas that have denser trees. These areas are usually quite runnable; only the visibility is reduced. Vertical cross-hatched green areas indicate undergrowth which, near the McGill Campground, consists mostly of chaparral whitethorn which can be very difficult to cross. At higher elevations and on north facing slopes the thickets are mostly wax current and gooseberry shrubs which are somewhat easier to cross, but not easily runnable. Both the whitethorn and the gooseberry thickets have thorns. There are lots of areas of thickets that are not mapped.

The meadows near the top of the 8800 foot summit of Mt. Pinos are a botanical area with sensitive plants. This area is out of bounds and is shown as a red cross-hatched area on the map. None of the courses go near this area.

The map indicates numerous seasonal marshes that may be covered with wild irises, lupine, corn lilies, and other attractive plants. These are sensitive areas. Please do not walk on them.

Visit the Mt Pinos event site here .

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Required Waiver

Minors attending without a parent must bring this required waiver filled out by their parent for each event or they will NOT be allowed to participate. Adults and parents with children may sign the waiver at the event.

About LAOC

LAOC is a volunteer-run club promoting map navigation and enjoyment of the outdoors. Learn more here!

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