The Mt. Woodson Smackdown, and Potato Chip Rock

This post covers my second trip to the summit of Mt. Woodson, between Poway and Ramona in California.

This hike included a visit to the infamous Potato Chip Rock.

I confess, the first time we climbed to the summit, we were afraid to climb on top of Potato Chip Rock.

It’s not that we had a fear of heights, well… shuh, yes!!! We were surprised at how steep it was to get to the top of this famous boulder. We’ve seen others do this in blog posts and YouTube videos, and it looked like a piece of cake. Until we got there in real life.

Potato Chip Rawk!

So, the first time we hiked back down the mountain, we were even more determined to come back and find a way onto that rock!

We checked out other videos of guys leaping from the adjacent boulder to Potato Chip Rock and I thought that was pure craziness! I mean, when you’re actually there that’s about a 5-6 foot gap. It CAN be done but there is a steep sloop behind you when you land. If you’re a little off balance you could easily fall back down… hard!

So, earlier today we once again climbed to the top of Mt. Woodson, determined to have closure.

Almost at Potato Chip Rock, we heard a girl screaming. And when we got there we saw this Asian couple, perhaps college students? Maybe Korean. The girl was stuck halfway up the side of the boulder. And the guy was trying to figure out another way up, and was able to climb between the two boulders, getting to the top.

Girl Stuck Halfway Up

We talked the girl down. And she went up the path her male friend took, eventually making it to the base of Potato Chip. But he was afraid to get closer to the very final edge. In the end, they both did a great job and overcame their apprehensions and fears. And, I took pics of them on my camera, with the intention of texting the photos to them.

But suddenly, the guy dropped his iPhone and it bounced several times down the boulder! We were all sure the glass screen had shattered, but surprisingly it was fine.

I took better photos of the Asian couple on their own iPhone, and that’s when they got closer to the edge.

Finally, I was able to get on top of Potato Chip Rock and here I am close to the edge. Maybe I’ll do a headstand the next time I’m there! lol

Potato Chip Rock - Mt. Woodson

The Mt. Woodson Smackdown

As for the actual hike…

It’s a beyotch!!!

Remember, we did the East ascent to the summit. It’s short in distance (about 4 miles, to the top and back) compared to the 7.4 mile round trip West ascent starting at Poway Lake. So, it was obvious the East side is a steeper climb… yes, it doesn’t fail to achieve that feeling.

We had to rest quite a few times.

Once we’ve done this hike a few more times, it’ll REALLY be a piece of cake… NOT.

Until then, it was a rough climb for us, and the hike back down off this mountain was equally hard on the knees.

If you’re looking for punishing uphill climbs, this one kind of fits the bill. It’s a BEAST!!!



Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and

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