Deaths, Rescues, And Trail Closures

It might be helpful if more of us (myself included) who post hiking photos or write about our hiking experiences told more stories about when and why we turn back sometimes prior to reaching our planned destinations.

Helicopter rescue getting under way last Wednesday in Icehouse Canyon.

Helicopter rescue getting under way last Wednesday in Icehouse Canyon.

I mention this in part because two people died this past week in Angeles National Forest. The first, Daniel Nguyen, died falling from the Devil’s Backbone Trail near Mt. Baldy last Tuesday. The second, Dong Xing Liu, died falling in the Icehouse Saddle area last Saturday. Lieu’s wife and ten other people were airlifted off the mountain as well. Four of those people suffered injuries including a broken hip and broken ribs. I followed this link from a post from Modern Hiker on Facebook to learn more about one of Saturday’s rescues. Another hiker, Jason, suffered multiple injuries including a fractured skull and eye socket in a fall from Timber Mountain on January 23rd. As far as I can tell that has only been reported on a gofundme page set up by his brother-in-law Andrew (who posted on my Facebook page) and shared on other social media. Last Wednesday, I played a minor role in a rescue where a hiker needed to be airlifted out of a gully in Icehouse Canyon (he had a broken ankle/leg and should be OK). I was merely one of the several people helping the first helicopter locate the hiker. I also helped walk his dogs down to the trailhead after one of the rescuers shepherded them back up the steep mountain from the gully to the trailhead–which there’s no way I could have accomplished. As far as I can tell, that rescue has only been reported on social media by myself and one of the other hikers (Bonnie) who helped with the dogs. I wonder how many other rescues happen that don’t get reported in the popular press. I’m guessing more than I want to know about. I called the Mt. Baldy Visitor’s Center this morning and verified that the Icehouse Canyon Trail is temporarily closed. With great hesitation, the person I spoke with said Baldy Bowl and Devil’s Backbone are still open. However, it appears that has changed. About an hour later the US Forest Service posted “Be Advised: Until further notice, all Mt. Baldy Trails have been closed due to icy conditions and severe risk of injury.”

Starting downhill with the hiker's three dogs.

Starting downhill playing my minor role with the hiker’s three dogs.

Of course, there’s a lot of criticism floating around on social media. Criticism of the hikers, criticism of the Forest Service for not closing the trails down sooner and also for closing them down at all–the Forest Service really can’t win on that issue. I’m not interested in those discussions. Daniel Nguyen died trying to help someone else. People fall on dry flat perfectly maintained walkways wearing appropriate shoes all the time. I’m thankful I’ve never needed to be rescued but that doesn’t mean I won’t no matter how reasonably cautious I think I’m being. To those who’ve been so critical and condescending, the story of Ranger Randy Morgenson’s death in the High Sierra’s might help slow down a desire to judge and spew out pronouncements. Also, I wasn’t part of the decision-making process the Forest Service used to temporarily close the trails. Without being part of that process, I don’t know all the issues they were dealing with when they decided to make those closures.

Help came quickly with hiker's Anthony and Bonnie ending their hikes early to help me bring the dogs down. Two members of the forest service (who were great) met us part way down and helped as well.

Help came quickly with hiker’s Anthony and Bonnie ending their hikes early to help me bring the dogs down. Two members of the forest service (who were great) met us partway down and helped as well.

I rarely see first-hand accounts of people deciding to turn back earlier than planned on a hike. I certainly don’t write about that every time I decide to turn back at an appropriately early time for me. My turnaround point may be too early or too late for others. However, sharing my decision-making process may help others think through when they might want to choose to call it a day. At the same time, I’d like to underscore that unavoidable accidents do happen. Sometimes a slip is just that; no amount of preparation, gear choice, or reasonable level of caution would prevent it.

I had already hiked to Mt. Hawkins in snow before on November 9, 2011. I bought snowshoes after that hike. Note the post holing track I left on my way up. No sinking into the icy snow occurred on my way up to Windy Gap on this year's attempt.

I had already hiked to Mt. Hawkins in snow before on November 9, 2011. Note the post holing track I left on my way up. No sinking into the icy snow occurred on my way up to Windy Gap on this year’s attempt.

I’ve been on three snow hikes this year. I’ve needed to turn back early on two of them–one was last Wednesday when I turned back just above the junction with the Chapman Trail. On January 25th, I headed up the PCT expecting to go to Mt. Hawkins, microspikes on, using my trekking poles, and carrying snowshoes in my backpack. I had already hiked up to Mt. Hawkins in the snow back in November of 2011 and thought this would be a perfect day for a repeat trip.

The view from Windy Gap looking up the PCT in the direction leading toward Mt. Hawkins.

The view from Windy Gap looking up the PCT in the direction leading toward Mt. Hawkins.

Heading up from Islip Saddle, my microspikes worked great, the trail was comfortably wide for me, and it was a gorgeous day. By the time I got midway between the lower junction with the road to Little Jimmy Campground and the campground itself, the trail began to narrow. Frozen postholes and other clues showed the snow to be over a foot deep in some areas. However, the hard icy conditions prevented me from sinking in. I had never been in conditions like that before. My previous experience with snow that deep meant it was time for the snowshoes because I’d be sinking in. The narrow flat ledge remained wide enough to remain at a reasonable distance inside the edge of my comfort zone. At my skill level, though, I needed to be laser-focused, paying attention to my feet instead of the fantastic views around me, and go real slow in many places. When I reached Windy Gap, I wasn’t physically tired or winded at all, but, I was starting to feel mentally drained. The view up the PCT looked like something I could handle physically. At the same time, I knew there would be lots of areas where I’d need to be super focused mentally and I wasn’t sure I’d be up to the task of doing that. The presence of tracks indicating others had made it higher up didn’t matter, the fact that I had made it as far as Mt. Hawkins in the snow in the past didn’t matter. What mattered was how I felt at that moment, and I felt a little apprehensive. I was concerned about the icy conditions and whether or not I’d know in time if I got too tired to maintain the focus required to descend safely. Unlike the snow that gives, allows one to sink in, and slows one down; this icy hard stuff meant one small slip and I could find myself accelerating down the mountain.

The view from Windy Gap looking toward Mt. Islip.

The view from Windy Gap looking toward Mt. Islip.

After deciding not to go to Mt. Hawkins, my attention turned to Mt. Islip. I wasn’t ready to be done for the day and I’d seen a few photos on Instagram of people who had recently made it to Mt. Islip. Well, there wasn’t any form of ledge or trace of trail present. That may be no problem for some people better trained and more experienced than I, but I need some form of a trail/ledge or I feel too unsteady to move forward. So, that wasn’t an option. I sat on the bench, ate lunch, enjoyed the view and got ready to focus on making it down from where I was.

The road to Little Jimmy running just above the PCT.

The road to Little Jimmy running just above the PCT.

By the time I got to Little Jimmy Campground, I decided I needed another break mentally. This reinforced in me that I made the right decision back at Windy Gap. The trek down from Windy Gap wasn’t even that tough, but, I recalled most of my need to achieve laser-focus was between the campground and the junction with the road. Then I thought about the fact I had never taken the road before. Surely it was wider and much safer. What a relief, the road was perfect. I could just relax, enjoy the rest of my day, and not worry about a few patches of thin and icy trail. From above, I was surprised to see how close the road follows the PCT as I looked down on it. In many ways, it’s just a wider version yielding almost identical views. This road would be great for snowshoeing on another day. In fact, I can’t imagine a scenario where I will take the PCT instead of this road up to Little Jimmy in the snow in the future. A key thing I’ll remember moving forward is the sense of relief I felt when I got to the road. While I know I would have turned back on my way up the mountain if the trail disappeared or got much narrower on the way to Little Jimmy Campground, that sense of relief made me realize the importance of tracking my mental tiredness–especially in areas where there is no real margin for error. How many times have I turned back later than I should have and just got lucky? How would I even know? Accidents happen where there’s nothing one could have done to prepare and there’s nothing one could really do differently (which is why I carry a device that can send messages for help via satellite and $100K of search and rescue insurance). Knowing when to turn back on a hike is a fundamental part of hiking that we hikers should also be training for. I hope other’s will share their stories of turning back as they may provide some inspiration for this form of training as hike reports do in finding trails. One person’s accident is another person’s bad decision making and vice versa. I think there are too many factors to judge whether something is a misfortune or a mistake from afar and that there’s really no point in doing so. It’s up to us to determine what we shouldn’t do. Lot’s of people could have easily made it to Mt. Hawkins on the day I clearly shouldn’t have tried. I’m happy I turned back!

Why I’m Participating In The 52 Hike Challenge

The first time I heard about the 52 Hike Challenge, I had already done that on my own and for similar reasons as Phillip (one of the founders of the challenge). As a result, I really didn’t see it as a challenge and didn’t think about it further. However, I finally opened an Instagram account this past January, noticed the 52 Hike Challenge hashtag, and started reflecting deeply on my hiking patterns since I started tracking them in 2011. Largely, this reflecting was because last year I only did 49.

My first view of the Devil's Backbone Trail in September of 2011. If I was able to picture John Robinson's description better I would have hiked this trail at least two decades earlier. Thinking that while standing there helped inspire me to start this blog. 59 hikes that year covering over 698 miles was a great start to this new lifestyle.

My first view of the Devil’s Backbone Trail in September of 2011. If I was able to picture John Robinson’s description better I would have hiked this trail at least two decades earlier. Thinking that while standing there helped inspire me to start this blog. 59 hikes that year covering over 698 miles was a great start to this new lifestyle.

I started hiking regularly in part because I needed to lose weight. I hate the gym and am not good with diets. I needed something to do where weight loss would be a side effect instead of my main focus. Weight loss was my excuse to indulge myself and enjoy long days in the forest guilt free from other things I was putting on the back burner. I started hiking regularly in Angeles National Forest toward the end of 2010. In December of that year I saw a book on Mt. Whitney, got inspired, and soon made it my goal to stand on its peak. The reading I did convinced me that Mt. Whitney was achievable but I’d need to take training seriously. That turned out to be a perfect goal. One source suggested that I keep a log of the mileage and gain of my weekly hikes. I started doing that in January of 2011 and have continued doing so to this day. After attending a meeting at REI regarding hiking to Mt. Whitney, I decided I needed a year to get in shape to be able to actually start getting in shape. In 2011, I went on 59 hikes covering 698.1 miles with 97,913 feet of gain. Only one hike was outside Angeles National Forest.

David, Scott, myself, and Tim on Mt. Whitney August 15, 2012. By far my best year hiking with over 108 hikes covering over 977 miles.

David, Scott, myself, and Tim on Mt. Whitney August 15, 2012. By far my best year hiking with over 108 hikes covering over 977 miles.

By the time I set out on my first summit of Mt. Whitney in August of 2012, I had lost 67 pounds–some of my training included tennis and paddle tennis and I did start cooking at home a lot more. That year I went on 108 hikes covering 977.6 miles with 275,365 feet of gain. I’d completed two fantastic years of hiking, had achieved the desired side effect, loved the new lifestyle, and wanted to do more. I thoroughly enjoyed a return to an active lifestyle and the only change I contemplated was getting even more active.

Camilla, Etienne, myself, and my wife Debbie on Mt. Whitney on August 1, 2013. Unfortunately, on the way down I injured myself and began my long period of dealing with injuries. 2013 was still a decent year with 77 hikes covering over 638 miles.

Camilla, Etienne, myself, and my wife Debbie on Mt. Whitney on August 1, 2013. Unfortunately, on the way down I injured myself and began my long period of dealing with injuries. 2013 was still a decent year with 77 hikes covering over 638 miles.

2013 started out fantastic. In January, I went snowshoeing in Giant Forest. In April, I hiked the Grand Canyon, rim to rim and back. On August 1st, I was back on the summit of Mt. Whitney with my wife and some friends. However, I injured myself on the way down and was forced to take a long break from hiking. I ended the year having completed only 77 hikes covering 638.3 miles with 166,035 feet of gain. While the last quarter of the year was a disappointment, I was able to get in a few hikes in December and expected to fully rebound in 2014.

Grandview Campground where my daughter and I camped before visiting the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. One of the few real high points in a disappointing year dealing with numerous injuries. This was another down year with my hiking totals falling to 59 hikes covering just over 430 miles.

Grandview Campground where my daughter and I camped before visiting the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. One of the few real high points in a disappointing year dealing with numerous injuries. This was another down year with my hiking totals falling to 59 hikes covering just over 430 miles.

I started 2014 a little heavier having taken so much time away from the trails to recover from my injury. I was anxious to get back to where I was the previous August. I felt a strong sense of urgency to get my mileage back up and start getting my weight back down. I set a goal to hike the High Sierra Trail and went about training on a timetable that was about being absolutely ready to easily achieve that. Unfortunately, I should have been more focused on making sure I was really healed from my injury. 2014 was a completely demoralizing year plagued with constant injuries. I didn’t make it to the High Sierra Trail. I couldn’t even physically pull off a day hike up from Onion Valley to Charlotte Lake to meet my friend Scott who hiked the route I believed I’d do with him. I gained a lot more weight and my hiking totals went down significantly again–59 hikes covering 430.1 miles with 106,377 feet of gain.

Smoke Tree Canyon on January 10, 2015, in the Anza-Borrego Desert. The year started off great but craziness off the trails kept me away. A demoralizing third straight year of significant drop off in hikes yielding a paltry 49 covering just over 339 miles.

Smoke Tree Canyon on January 10, 2015, in the Anza-Borrego Desert. The year started off great but craziness off the trails kept me away. A demoralizing third straight year of significant drop off in hikes yielding a paltry 49 covering just over 339 miles.

For 2015, I began the year with the goal to take it slow, ensure I was indeed recovered, and see how I felt before coming up with any specific goals. It was a brutal year off the trails which meant there was little time to be on the trails. Somehow, being healthy wasn’t enough to guarantee at least one day per week in the forest. Things were so crazy for me and my family that I didn’t hike at all for months at a time. I gained a lot more weight and my hiking totals went down again–49 hikes covering a measly 339.9 miles with only 74,301 feet of gain.

A reasonable start to the year found me enjoying a snowshoeing trip to Mt. Hillyer in Angeles National Forest.

A reasonable start to the year found me enjoying a snowshoeing trip to Mt. Hillyer in Angeles National Forest.

Things are starting off better this year. In January, I went on 7 hikes covering 60.1 miles with  8,780′ of gain. If I just did that every month I’d be at 84 hikes covering 721.2 miles with 105,360 of gain by the end of the year. However, a lot of the crazy things pulling me off the trails last year will from time to time pull me off trail again this year. There’s just no way around that. I need a tangible goal (like my Mt. Whitney goal) to stay on track and get myself into the forest during those times when it’s possible to fit a small hike in when in the past I wouldn’t bother because the hike wouldn’t be long enough etc. I’m closer to needing to get in shape before being able to really get in shape than I am to realistically going after something more strenuous than I’ve done already. As I write this, I’ve gained back 47 of the 67 pounds I lost. While my knee, achilles tendon, and plantar fasciitis issues appear to be resolved; my increased weight means I still need to proceed with caution.

I also started off the year in the Anza-Borrego Desert. This view is from Arroyo Seco del Diablo. Given how difficult the past three years have been, I want to go on numerous trips. This was a great start for me.

I also started off the year in the Anza-Borrego Desert. This view is from Arroyo Seco del Diablo. Given how difficult the past three years have been, I want to go on numerous trips. This was a great start for me.

This is where the 52 Hike Challenge comes in for me. While it looks realistic for me to reach 84 hikes (or more) this year; I’m also susceptible to skipping hiking days when I don’t have enough time to plan out going to someplace new or when there isn’t enough time for me to get in at least half a day in the forest (not including driving). One of the great things about the challenge is that you can start it any week of the year and just complete it over 52 weeks. So, I can use the challenge to inspire me to pick up those smaller hikes I’d probably otherwise miss. Since I’m planning on several trips that take me away from my local mountains, I think 52 hikes in Angeles National Forest (ANF) would be a great challenge for me over the next 52 weeks and still leave room for the many others I’m planning on doing. Therefore, the 52 would form a legitimate challenge for me. I recently went back over my hiking logs and figured out I’ve already completed over 150 different hikes through ANF since I started in 2011 and there are lots more that I want to do. So, to make it a little more interesting for me; my challenge will be 52 different hikes through ANF over 52 weeks. The planning issue won’t be as hard since I already have a list of over 150 to choose from. I’ll start from the hike I did in Icehouse Canyon last Wednesday (February 3) and track them on this page.

 

 

Snow Hiking In Los Angeles: Angeles Crest To Mt. Hillyer

I made it up the mountain for my first snowshoeing hike of the year last Friday (January 8th). Not knowing exactly what to expect, I left my house without a concrete plan of where I wanted to go. Basically, I wanted to go somewhere I had not been before in the snow. I also wanted to go somewhere lower than the places that are almost guaranteed to be in snow most of the winter (e.g. Mt. Baldy). This being an El Nino year, I expect to get out to the snow often and on this day I really wanted to snowshoe from start to finish.

Upper Gate area of Chilao Flats. If it's deep enough to snowshoe there, it will be deep enough all the way to the summit.

Upper Gate area of Chilao Flats. If it’s deep enough to snowshoe there, it will be deep enough all the way to the summit.

So, I headed up Angeles Crest Highway hoping something great would reveal itself and it did. As I passed the lower entrance to Chilao Flats, I noticed the gate was open. This got me thinking about going to Mt. Hillyer. When I drove past the upper entrance, it was clear that the snow was deep enough to snowshoe from Angeles Crest Highway. Although the upper gate was also open, the road wasn’t plowed and it probably was not driveable without snow tires or chains. As a result, I doubled back a bit and parked in one of the plowed areas off Angeles Crest Highway between Devil’s Canyon (not plowed) and the upper gate.

First one up the Silver Moccasin Trail, I enjoyed making my way through the fresh powdery snow.

First one up the Silver Moccasin Trail, I enjoyed making my way through the fresh powdery snow.

Although a couple other people also were snowshoeing the road down to the trailhead, I was fortunate enough to be the first person to head up the Silver Moccasin Trail toward Horse Flats. Normally, numerous people beat me to the trailhead and I have their tracks to follow. Since I only hike areas in the snow that I’ve hiked several times before, I had the confidence to proceed knowing I wouldn’t get off trail (or at least not too far off trail). It’s also true that this area is much flatter and comprised of more rolling type hills than most other areas in the forest. Therefore, even if I ended up off the trail I could have a great day wandering around and find my way back by retracing the footsteps I was creating in the fairly deep snow. So, I thoroughly enjoyed the crisp sound of creating fresh footprints and the pristine visual of undisturbed snow.

One of the narrower parts of the trail. Note the vegetation that serves as somewhat of a guardrail.

One of the narrower parts of the trail. Note the vegetation that serves as somewhat of a guardrail.

This is a great area to visit in the snow because the terrain is comparatively flat for the San Gabriel Mountains, it is reasonably wide in most places (so you can snowshoe effectively and if you fall it won’t be down the side of a mountain), and is fairly well protected when narrow. I forgot my trekking poles and ended up falling a few times when my snowshoes got tangled up (it’s amazing how subconscious fixing that situation without falling has become for me when I have my poles). As a result, this is also a significantly safer area to traipse through the snow than the narrower trails with steep drop-offs to at least one side.

An expansive view from the Mt. Hillyer Trail looking toward Mt. Waterman and Twin Peaks. That I could look back and see each of my footprints defined in the snow instead of a rugged long depression recording multiple journeys by others before me made stepping in the undisturbed snow feel even more special.

An expansive view from the Mt. Hillyer Trail looking toward Mt. Waterman and Twin Peaks. That I could look back and see each of my footprints defined in the snow instead of a rugged long depression recording multiple journeys by others before me made stepping in the undisturbed snow feel even more special.

The Mt. Hillyer Trail between Horse Flats and Mt. Hillyer is among my favorites in the forest. I like the expansive views across long distances to peaks in all directions.

The prevalence of partial snow covered large boulders, snowy trees, and constantly changing great views make the Mt. Hillyer Trail continuously inspiring all the way to the summit.

The prevalence of partial snow covered large boulders, snowy trees, and constantly changing great views make this trail continuously inspiring all the way to the summit.

I find the seemingly endless outcrops of boulders to be magnificent. In snow, the varying degree to which the boulders become snow covered and emphasize the color of the rock combined with the melting water lines (and sometimes icy stalactites hanging down) create a natural sculptural garden of immense beauty. It feels as though each turn in the trail yields something new and beautiful to behold. To provide a sense of scale, the boulders are large enough that mountaineers (I’m not sure of what level) come here to practice rock climbing. I’ve been on the trail at times where I saw more people climbing rocks than hiking.

One of my favorite outcrops which helped guide me up the mountain in the snow. There is a great ledge with a magnificent view on the other side that is fun to climb up to (even for a non-mountaineer like myself) when it's dry.

One of my favorite outcrops which helped guide me up the mountain in the snow. There is a great ledge with a magnificent view on the other side that is fun to climb up to (even for a non-mountaineer like myself) when it’s dry.

I should point out that previous knowledge of the various boulder outcrops (the one pictured above being one of my favorite places in the forest) helped guide me up the mountain to my intended destination. I’m not sure how I would have done without that prior knowledge. Although I think I would have made it anyway, I also believe anyone journeying up this part of the trail would have a great time even if the peak wasn’t reached.

View from Mt. Hillyer.

View from Mt. Hillyer.

As much as I love the trail to the summit, I’m the first to admit the peak itself is a bit of a disappointment–especially when compared with most other peaks in the range. For myself, however, snow manages to improve the experience significantly because the surrounding views stand out more due to contrast provided by the temporary whiteness, tracks in the snow add some nice texture to the fire charred and somewhat barren peak, and the vegetation that rises above the ground pops against the whiteness instead of blending into the dirt. As a result, the snow cover yields a meaningfully less cluttered look than the somewhat clumpy dry landscape filled with a prevalence of scattered burnt tree branches that normally provides groundcover in this burn area.

One of the long views across one of the flatter portions of the Mt. Hillyer Trail.

One of the long views across one of the flatter portions of the Mt. Hillyer Trail.

As I made my way back down the trail, I enjoyed the intermixing of flat parts, mildly graded parts, somewhat steep parts (but not steep enough to require me to use elevators on my snowshoes on the way up), parts with boulder formations, parts without and so on. For such a short trail between Horse Flats and Mt. Hillyer, I found the almost checkerboard degree of variation–especially in snow–to be so stimulating I was almost disappointed to make it down the mountain.

The Silver Moccasin Trail in the late afternoon showing the record of trips made by others during the day. Without snow I wouldn't have known anyone else was on this part of the trail on this day.

The Silver Moccasin Trail in the late afternoon showing the record of trips made by others during the day. Without snow, I wouldn’t have known anyone else was on this part of the trail on this day.

Until about half way down the Mt. Hillyer Trail, mine were still the only footsteps I saw (except for wildlife). When I did see others (a few humans and a dog–perhaps just one small group), the snow still remained deep enough throughout to enjoy snowshoeing. When I made it back down to the Silver Moccasin Trail, the beginnings of a long rugged depression recording the journey of many others had formed. In a few spots (perhaps 5 steps at a time), the combination of south facing terrain and enough people walking on the trail yielded a depression deep enough to reach dirt. Aside from 20 to 25 steps overall at the end of the day, I was really happy to be wearing my snowshoes throughout.

Track map from Angeles Crest Highway to Mt. Hillyer using Backcountry Navigator (US Forest Service-2013 map) from my phone.

Track map from Angeles Crest Highway to Mt. Hillyer using Backcountry Navigator (US Forest Service-2013 map) from my phone.

Follow this link for step by step instructions from the obvious trailhead found by following the road down as shown on the map above. Follow the links below for additional photos:

Silver Moccasin Trail: Upper Chilao Flats to Horse Flats

Mt. Hillyer Trail

Mt. Hillyer

Snow Information For Angeles Forest

El Nino is starting January off with a promising beginning for snow play in Angeles National Forest for this year. As of this writing, Mt. Baldy is reporting 18″ of fresh snow with the possibility of 12″ to 18″ more overnight. Looking forward to breaking out my snowshoes, I started checking out the various websites I visit to get a sense of what is going on in the forest prior to deciding on where to go. Thinking that list of websites might be helpful to others, I added it to my hiking links page and listed them here below. I expect to add several hikes to my Snow Hiking in Los Angeles Series this year. Be safe and I hope you enjoy this snow season.

I haven't made it to the snow yet this year. Here's a shot of me on Mt. Baldy in December of 2012.

I haven’t made it to the snow yet this year. Here’s a shot of me on Mt. Baldy in December of 2012.

Road Conditions: To know what roads are open and where I might need chains (I do carry them in my car all winter), I go to:

L.A. County Department of Public Works Road Closures Website for roads other than Angeles Crest Highway 2 (e.g Angeles Forest Highway, Big Tujunga Canyon Road, Glendora Ridge Road etc).

Caltrans Website for Angeles Crest Highway 2

By the way, as of this writing, chains are required one mile east of Newcomb’s Ranch on Highway 2 to Islip Saddle where the 2 is closed for winter. Parts of Big Tujunga Canyon Road and Angeles Forest Highway are closed.

Weather Forecasts And Reports For Various Peaks:

Mountain Forecast.com This link is to San Gabriel Peak to get you to the drop down menu for peaks in Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. You also need to choose one of the elevation links to get the forecast. I selected the peak elevation for this link. There are enough peaks with weather forecasts to get a good general idea of what the weather will be like on peaks not listed.

Waterman Mountain Website: Winter ski area that gives snow reports and updates ski conditions. Summer mountain bike area and professional disc golf course. Also, a good source to get a sense of what the snow conditions will be in the forest in general at elevations around 7,000 to 8,000′.

Mt. Baldy Ski Lift Website: Winter ski area that gives snow reports and updates ski conditions. Summer scenic rides, restaurant, events, and tent cabin rentals.

 

Last Page Additions for 2015

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this year has consisted of many distractions that have kept me tethered to the city and away from the trails. Below are the pages I’ve added or updated since my last “additions” post. The main thing I’ve done (which many of you have already discovered) is to map all my trail photo galleries in Angeles National Forest to my map page. After such a disappointing year for me in the mountains, I’m looking forward to what 2016 will bring.

My favorite hike over this period was my last one (#049) along the High Desert Trail to Devil's Chair. The north side of the San Gabriel Mountains deserves more hiker traffic.

My favorite hike in Angeles National Forest over this period was my last one (#049) along the High Desert Trail to Devil’s Chair. The north side of the San Gabriel Mountains deserves more hiker traffic.

HIKING JOURNAL

MY MAP PAGE

  • Added a new category (black symbol) for links to my trail photo galleries for Angeles National Forest on My Map Page.
  • Added links to the new peaks (in Angeles National Forest) mentioned below.

NEW PEAKS (ALSO UPDATED ON MY PEAK BAGGING RESUME PAGE)

UPDATED PEAKS (ALSO UPDATED ON MY PEAK BAGGING RESUME PAGE)

  • Mt. Williamson (added a new route starting from Eagle’s Roost)
  • Winston Peak (added a new route following the PCT starting from Mile Marker 54.10 on Angeles Crest Highway)

UPDATED TRAIL PHOTO PAGES

NEW TRAIL PHOTO PAGES