Owens, Jenkins

Owens is, I think, the southernmost peak on the SPS list. I chose to approach along the PCT from Walker Pass, which requires 20 miles round-trip, 17 on trail. As with most of the PCT, it’s a wonderful trail-run, well-graded and scenic, but unless you are capable of running the flat and downhill trail segments, it will be dull. Fortunately, Yours Truly can run when he must. For non-runners, there is apparently a shorter route from one of the canyons to the east.

There are two other peaks along the way, Morris and Jenkins, but I ignored them on the way out, figuring that I would climb what I wanted on the return. From the Owens saddle, a series of closely-spaced ducks leads up the ridge to the summit, staying mostly on or just to the right of the crest. This climb is longer than it looks. Based on the summit register, the peak is very popular, but I met no one else attempting it.

After a summit nap, I followed a well-established trail to the southeast, then left it to return to the ridge and saddle. From there, I hiked and ran the trail to the cutoff I had noticed earlier, which apparently led to Jenkins. The route is steep, but a line of ducks leads around oak-brush, cliffs, and other such annoyances, making Jenkins a quick, fun side-trip. In addition to the plaque along the trail, there is another on the summit. I was pleased to find that the register left by those who placed the plaque was still there.

Returning to the trail, I easily jogged most of the gradual descent to the trailhead, reinforcing my belief that this is an awesome route for trail-runners. For those living nearby (Miguel?), Owens’ east ridge (from where the white granite begins) looks like a long class 3-4 scramble for the late season.

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