Extreme Adventure Group

SoCal X on MeetUp

SoCal X on MeetUp

America’s Finest City is filled with exciting places to visit, so it’s no surprise that it’s filled with adventure groups that meet and organize themselves through the Meetup app. One group in particular, SoCal X (founded October 2012), is an adventure and exploration group that has captivated social media with their breathtaking photos of magical places around San Diego. FINE Magazine spoke to the founder of SoCal X, Trevor Mottram, about San Diego’s most extreme adventure group.

What inspired you to start this group?
I moved here from Indiana, and I [got] into hiking. I told myself, “I’m [moving] to California and starting a new life – I’m gonna take advantage of everything.” I started hiking with a neighbor of mine [that] ended up moving to another state. One of the guys I work with suggested I try Meetup. I thought it was a dating site; I had never heard of it before!

I gave it a shot and started SoCal X. [I] started out with some simple stuff, some hikes and Balboa Park... just some basic stuff around San Diego that I had never been to, and [the group] has blown up from there.

SoCal X Adventure Group

What adventure trips are your favorite?
The first place I explored when I came to California were the Sunset Cliffs. I didn’t have the nerves to climb down the cliffs and see caves. No matter how many times I go to Sunset Cliffs, I always get a kick out of it.

I also really enjoy exploring abandoned mines out in the desert, and that takes a lot of technical skill... There
are cave systems around Campo, but the deep gold and tungsten mines that I’ve explored in the Mojave Desert [are my favorite]. Now [we] repel down vertical mine shafts. We have repelling practice from time to time [to] try to teach the skill.

How does SoCal X choose the locations?
For the first couple of years, it was mainly San Diego County stuff. I’d go to various websites and look up abandoned places – caves, waterfalls, points of interest, hiking destinations. I use a couple different tools like old mine registries, historic documents and Google Earth. I know what to look for in the satellite imagery, so I know how to track mines. I’ll repeat some trips like Sunset Cliffs during the summer since it’s fun to get in the water.

SoCal X Adventure Group

What would you tell people that are unsure of joining the group?
There are a lot of Meetup groups and hiking groups around San Diego. My group isn’t for beginners because we get into dangerous stuff. I really hate to turn people away, but there are a few basic questions people have to answer in order to join the group. What’s your rappelling and rope group skill from one to ten? What’s your exploring underground experience from one to ten? How would you rate your ability to navigate rough terrain off-trail? If someone signs up and they give me all ones, there are other groups that are more that speed.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
SoCal X would be nothing without the people in the group. Our core group of people are fantastic, and I put my life in their hands. I’ve met some really incredible people because of SoCal X. 

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