Snow Hiking In Los Angeles: Mt. Islip

Two weeks ago it snowed as low as 3,000 feet in Los Angeles. Last week temperatures got into the 90’s for a couple days (what happened to spring?). I hiked up to Mt. Lowe with Scott last Tuesday and saw no remains of snow on the north slopes. I realized that without another storm, I might only have one more chance to hike in snow this year. So, I drove up to Islip Saddle and hiked the Pacific Crest Trail to Mt. Islip on Sunday. There was no snow at the trailhead and at first I thought I was too late.

Pacific Crest Trail near Islip Saddle. (click to enlarge).

Pacific Crest Trail near Islip Saddle Trailhead. (click to enlarge).

By a quarter mile into the hike snow appeared as I traveled on the north slopes. It was of the icy variety so I put on my microspikes.

Icy snow on the Pacific Crest Trail between Islip Saddle and Little Jimmy Campground.

Icy snow on the Pacific Crest Trail between Islip Saddle and Little Jimmy Campground.

Throughout the day the presence of snow was uneven. At times almost completely melted away.

Pacific Crest Trail between Islip Saddle and Little Jimmy.

Pacific Crest Trail between Islip Saddle and Little Jimmy.

At other times snow was abundant. However, it almost always had an icy feel to it. When I reached Little Jimmy Campground, I enjoyed seeing that a Boy Scout Troop had camped overnight. I’m really looking forward to backpacking this year starting with my upcoming Grand Canyon trip the first week in April.

Pacific Crest Trail between Islip Saddle and Little Jimmy. (click to enlarge).

Pacific Crest Trail between Islip Saddle and Little Jimmy. (click to enlarge).

By the time I made it around the north face of Mt. Islip the snow was essentially gone with only small patches remaining. So, I took off my microspikes until my return.

Pacific Crest Trail at Windy Gap.

Pacific Crest Trail at Windy Gap.

The presence of at least some snow along parts of the trail without a north facing orientation enhanced the view as I made my way to Mt. Islip.

View from the Islip Ridge Trail.

View from the Islip Ridge Trail. (click to enlarge).

While there wasn’t snow on the trail for the entire hike, there was enough to enjoy and feel like it was more of a snow hike than not. I took my time on this one and savored what could be the last remnants of this unusually dry winter. If we do get another storm soon, at over 6,600 feet in elevation at the trailhead, this trail is bound to get more snow.

 

Gallery Update #11: Snags

My Gallery Updates are about sharing photos I’ve added to the gallery section of this site. The galleries are my way of creating a visual approach to searching for hikes by having collections of photos that link to information about hiking to where each photo was taken.

This week I added a new Snags Gallery. One of my favorite blogs (Backyard Biology) recently posted a piece (Dead tree wildlife condo) describing the role that snags (dead or dying trees that are still standing) play in nature. Previously I didn’t know there was an ecological term for the many standing dead trees I photograph. Here’s a few in different contexts.

September 2011

September 2011

Above photo taken from the Devil’s Backbone Trail.

May 2012

May 2012

Above photo taken from the Islip Ridge Trail.

December 2012

December 2012

Above photo taken from the Mt. Hillyer Trail.

February 2012

February 2012

Above photo taken from the Silver Moccasin Trail near Little Pines Loop.

May 2012

May 2012

Above photo taken from the Pacific Crest Trail between Islip Saddle and Little Jimmy Campground.

Weekly Gallery Update #9: Views From Trails

My Weekly Gallery Updates are about sharing photos I’ve added to the gallery section of this site.  The galleries are my way of creating a visual approach to searching for hikes by having collections of photos that link to information about hiking to where each photo was taken.

This week I added five photos to the Views From Trails gallery.

February 2012

February 2012

Above view from the Mt. Markham Trail looking down Bear Canyon.

December 2012

December 2012

Above view from the Baldy Bowl Trail.

August 2011

August 2011

Above view from the Islip Ridge Trail toward Crystal Lake.

December 2011

December 2011

Above view from the East Mt. Lowe Trail, looking down on Inspiration Point and toward Catalina Island.

December 2011

December 2011

Above view from the Upper San Gabriel Peak Trail.

Weekly Gallery Update #7: Trees

My Weekly Gallery Updates are about sharing photos I’ve added to the gallery section of this site.  The galleries are my way of creating a visual approach to searching for hikes by having collections of photos that link to information about hiking to where each photo was taken.

This week I’ve added five photos to my existing Trees Gallery.

February 2012

February 2012

Above view from the Dawson Saddle Trail.

September 2011

September 2011

Above view as seen from the Devil’s Backbone Trail.

December 2011

December 2011

Above view from the Lower San Gabriel Peak Trail.

May 2012

May 2012

Above view from the Islip Ridge Trail.

November 2011

November 2011

Above view from the South Fork Trail

Weekly Gallery Update #5: Trees From Below

My Weekly Gallery Updates are about sharing photos I’ve added to the gallery section of this site.  The galleries are my way of creating a visual approach to searching for hikes by having collections of photos that link to information about hiking to where each photo was taken.

This week I’ve added five photos to my new Trees From Below Gallery.  Trees are typically the first image that pops into my mind when someone refers to a forest.  They are one of my favorite things to photograph.

December 2011

December 2011

Above view from the Lower San Gabriel Peak Trail

February 2012

February 2012

Above view from the Dawson Saddle Trail

November 2012

November 2012

Above view from the Mt. Hillyer Trail

April 2012

April 2012

Above view from the Mt. Waterman Trail

May 2012

May 2012

Above view from the Islip Ridge Trail