This is a tough mountain! A long and winding ascent from the trail head at 2000 ft to the summit at 5440 ft, with plenty of ups and downs along the way. I think it is about 7 miles to the summit. This trail sometimes has steep drop offs on the side (including the very first section) so be careful! The trail is never steep until the last rocky scramble to the summit itself.

Started from the old trail head (unmarked) at mile marker 4.5 on Big Tujunga Canyon at 0440. The new trail head is a mile or two further up the road, but this adds a mile each way to what is already a long hike. I was carrying over 12 pints of water because of the desert terrain, and planned to cache 2 pints at each of the the one hour, two hour, and three hour marks as I hiked.

The first several miles of the trail are pretty well graded, I read that in 1998 it had been graded by a miniature bulldozer. I have wondered if this trail had originally been built by the CCC during the 1930s; the trail is carved out of the cliff sides and hillsides. A huge amount of work.

The trail winds up the east side of Vogel Canyon, and placed my first water cache just before it crossed over to Fusier Canyon. Then a couple of easy stream crossings but had to crawl under a couple of downed trees, easy enough.

Looking back across Fusier Canyon. I think I placed my second water cache not far from here. On the other side of that rocky knob is Vogel Canyon.
SAM_0668

The cloudy weather kept things cool. In retrospect, I am glad I could not see the peaks so I could not see how far I had to go!
SAM_0669

The trail then switchbacks up the east side of Fusier. I missed a switchback at one point and returned after a couple of minutes. The trail then leads to the other side of the ridge and you can see east into White Oak Canyon and the Big Tujunga Dam far below. Then back across to the west into Fusier Canyon and up to where a use trail leads to Fox Mountain. I left my three hour cache of 2 pints here. Strong hiking groups will do Fox and Condor, and even add Iron Mountain #2 to the hike, not me! So I took the trail that traverses around Fox.

Somewhere after rounding Fox, fully in the clouds
SAM_0670

Condor has two large lower summits, to the east and west of the main summit. I think of them as the “wings of the condor”. Fairly long uphill section uphill, then reached the top of the east “wing” after a final couple of easy switchbacks. Couldn’t figure it out in the clouds, obviously I was hoping this was the main summit. I got out my compass and realized that where I felt I was walking back east was really west! So I continued on this path and a quick downhill lead to the final rocky scramble.

It was actually a pretty nice scramble
SAM_0671

As I approached the summit I worked Mike W6AH on Mt Williamson and told him I would be on the summit in about 15 minutes; actually it was more like 5. You first reach the east summit and then proceed about 50 yards to the west summit where there is a register in the boulders.

Worked Mike and then some other stations on 2 meters. Set up the mast on a Yucca.
SAM_0672

Quite a lot of QSOs on 20m, including Dan NA6MG on Frankish Peak W6 CT-151, and Matt KF7PXT on Ladd Mtn W7W PL-083. Had tried for Dan on 2m, but he was too much in the noise, luckily he was right there for me on 20m. At times I could hear Charles KM6CEM but we were unable to complete a QSO.

Beginning to clear
SAM_0674

2m FM: W6AH WA9STI W6KGB KB6CIO K6CMG
20m CW: NA6MG W7RV K6TUY W7CNL NK6A NS7P N7EDK N4EX W0MNA W0ERI WA2USA W7USA AE7AP WA6KYR K7TQ KF7PXT
30m CW: AE9F K6EL

Iron Mountain #2, can you believe some people combine this with Condor? Wow!
SAM_0680

Looking back to the east wing of Condor and Fox. If you enlarge the photo you can make out the trail that traverses Fox.
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Heading down, on the east wing. You can see the west wing and the main summit of Condor
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Worked Mike W6AH again between the east wing of Condor and the Fox traverse.

Condor Peak from the traverse around Fox Mountain
SAM_0701

I had noticed that I was getting dehydrated (urine very dark) so began to drink lots more water. By the time I had started down, I had only drunk 2 pints of water, so I started down with 4 pints. Had another two pints of this before I hit my water cache. Reached my three hour cache and drank some more.

The trail started to feel rather confusing; I missed another switchback and after a couple of minutes it didn’t look right, looked around carefully and went back up the ridge to where the switchback goes back into Fusier and not down the ridge. Then looks confusing again as it takes me to the east out of Fusier to above White Oak Canyon and then back into Fusier! Sheesh!

Reached my 2 hour cache, this had taken 45 minutes down from the three hour cache.  I worked Scott WA9STI again, he was mobile.

Pleasant little stream. Further down the trail about half a mile there was another one that also had flowing water
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Obstacle after the stream crossing. Go under! There was even another fallen tree at the next stream crossing!
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Last part of Fusier Canyon
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Reached my final water cache. All told, I drank about a gallon (8 pints) and arrived back at the trail head with 4 pints. Note marks I had made in trail to avoid missing the cache!
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Only another 40 minutes to go from the cache, down Vogel Canyon
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Steep drop offs in places. Careful!
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Looking back to Condor
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The Jeep is in sight. Yay!
SAM_0713

And here is where you start and finish. On the other side of those posts the trail leads through a little brush, up over a crest, down a bit then traverses above some steep parts and meets up with the “official” trail after 10 or 15 minutes.
SAM_0714

An extraordinary “monster” hike. I won’t be doing too many more of hikes this big, I am sure. Knees getting too old. Took 5 hours up, and 3h 45 m down. 3800ft+ elevation gain, at least 14 miles round trip. Other notes: I had carbo-loaded (as for a marathon) the night before with lots of macaroni cheese and ground beef. This worked very well and I had plenty of energy for the hike.

Weather: I selected this day since temps were predicted high of 57F on Mt Wilson (5700 ft) and 65F in Big Tujunga Canyon (1850ft) i.e. a cool day, which was borne out in fact as the day progressed. Winds light 5mph at noon from the SW i.e. a cool on-shore breeze not a gale from the NE Santa Anas. I got more “onshore” conditions than anticipated since the clouds were heavier than I expected, but were OK and kept things cool. As a bonus the moon was just after full, but due to the clouds this was not a real advantage though there was some light from the sky and it was not pitch black. Used the head torch before dawn.

Water: 6 pints would have been just OK. Eight pints was more than enough, I got back to the car fully hydrated. The streams in Fusier Canyon can be used with a purification kit, or without if necessary! They are probably not flowing in the summer; we had some rain two weeks ago which I am sure helped. I took 12 pints to make absolutely sure I would have enough water…

Thank you all chasers!

73!
Hal
N6JZT

PS Here is the other fallen tree blocking the trail. I include this picture because I have seen blogs about mountain biking down this trail before the Station Fire. At the moment, I would not recommend biking down this trail; it would be difficult to get a bike through this obstacle. The lush vegetation near this obstacle in the stream would also be difficult to cross.

SAM_0706a

Up county road 39 towards Crystal Lake, to the trail head for the San Gabriel Wilderness. Started the hike at 0625 about an hour before sunrise. A nicely graded trail that was a pleasure to walk on.

Smith Mountain before sunrise
SAM_0630a

Getting closer, looking steeper, where does the trail go?
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After 3 miles, at the saddle, looking up the steep ridge. The trail is first a fire break that is not too bad, then gets steep like Hoyt Mountain and Twin Peaks.
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If you have an uncontrollable urge you can descend here into the San Gabriel Wilderness and Bear Canyon
SAM_0657

Reached the top in 35 minutes from the saddle. Got on 2 meters right away and worked Bob KB6CIO (who was already chatting on frequency), Charles KM6CEM, K6BRY Bryan, and Mike W6AH on Butler Peak W6 CT-009, then Ken KN6CCW. Then onto HF…
SAM_0642

On 20 meters, then 30 meters, with 2m FM mixed in here and there. As I was packing up the HF gear, Chris K6CMG came on 2m FM during his break at work and we had a good QSO!

2m FM: KB6CIO KM6CEM K6BRY W6AH KN6CCW WD6DUI K6QCB N6WHZ K6CMG
20m CW: N7KRN NS7P NA6MG W0MNA W0ERI VE2JCW N7EDK KH2TJ K0ALN NK6A WA2USA
30m CW: W7RV W7USA K6EL WA6RIC K6TUY K8TE K0LAF K7SO N7EDK NU6T AE9F WB5USB

This summit has spectacular views, and I highly recommend it!

Twin Peaks (the cone), Mt Waterman (flattish), and Kratka Ridge (triple summit and steep cliffs), across rugged Bear Canyon to the West and North. The ridge coming down from Twin to Triplet Rocks is very fore-shortened and is really three miles long!
SAM_0645

Hi there! Placed the camera on the benchmark which was level
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Peak 4654 W6 CT-127 the lump in the center looking as inaccessible as ever. In the background are Mt Wilson, Occidental Peak, Mt Markham, San Gabriel Peak, Mt Disappointment, and further right Mt Lawlor and Strawberry Peak.
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Enjoyed the views a while, then headed down. This is the steep part. Wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
SAM_0655

Mt Hawkins ridge on the skyline to the NE. You can also see how the trail for Smith goes around the spurs and traverses in and out of the ravines
SAM_0656

Looking back at Smith
SAM_0662

Almost down
SAM_0663

The hike is 3.5 miles each way, with 1800 feet elevation gain on the way up. Took 2h 5 min up, 1h 25 m down. A nice hike with great views!

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Last year I had a nice autumn hike on this mountain, and I wanted to do it again this autumn. Dan NA6MG wanted to hike Bare Mountain again so we planned a joint activation. We had planned to meet at the trail head at 0630, but we are both such early birds that when I got there at 0540 or so Dan was already there. He said he had been there about 5 minutes. We dozed in our cars for a while, and began the hike at about 0630. The temperature was 32F when we set off, so we started at a fast pace to warm up. Sunrise was later at about 0700.

Jeeps at the trail head
SAM_0611

A nice hike, first on the dirt fire road 5N04 for a mile, then up the fire break (turn left at the shot-up sign)

Summit to the right. Dan in the picture adds some scale
SAM_0612a

On the steep part. Zoom in and you can see Dan up there!
SAM_0615

Dan arrived at the summit 5 or 10 minutes before me, I saw his radio mast on the summit. He started on 40 meters, I started on 20 meters. I was at 14.0585 MHz, a little lower than usual to avoid Dan’s 2nd harmonic. After starting, I heard Mike N6MKW on Mt Williamson (W6 CT-011) so we had a 2 meter summit to summit QSO

My set up, with Mt Pacifico (W6 CT-015) in the back ground
SAM_0617

After operation on 20 meters and 30 meters, took the mast up to the summit and made a couple of 2 meter FM QSOs with the j-pole: AG6ZR Mark, and KQ2U Sandy over towards Ventura County in Thousand Oaks. Earlier, I has heard Charles KM6CEM on 2m but he couldn’t hear me. Bob KB6CIO was also on 2m but couldn’t hear him.

20m CW: W7RV N4MJ K6TUY AE4FZ KG3W WA2USA WA5BDU N4EX W5QC K8LJG N7UN AE5B KE5AKL

30m CW: KT5X K6EL (S2S W6 CC 072) K6TUY W0MNA W0ERI WA6RIC

2m FM: N6MKW AG6ZR KQ2U

On 2 meters
Hal

Beautiful views from this peak. Pallett Benchmark left, Mt Waterman right
SAM_0620a

Down the fire break after the last steep part
SAM_0622

Bare Mountain from Santa Clara Divide Road on the way back to the Angeles Crest Highway
SAM_0624

It was nice that Dan and I could make so many QSOs. Thank you all the chasers!

Stats: About one and a half hours up, 1 hour down. Temperature was a nice 60F or so when we got down. Bright sunshine!

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Parker Mountain is just north of Acton, in what I call the “Mt Gleason group”. It is near Peak 3788 W6/CT-167 and Blum Ranch. To get there I went north on Angeles Forest Highway and Aliso Canyon Road, left on Soledad Canyon, very sharp right on Crown Valley Road, left on Escondido Canyon, left on Hubbard, then left on Hughes Canyon. The road is smooth and becomes quite steep and you are warned to go into low gear NOW. Then left onto unmarked and rutted Parker Mountain Road for which a high clearance vehicle is needed, with 4WD if you want to keep going up further. My Cherokee is only two wheel drive so I stopped and parked after 0.1 mile. Mike N6MKW on the previous activation  was braver and went up 0.6 miles in his 2WD Toyota truck, Dan NA6MG has been further still in his 4WD Cherokee. I am sensitive to the fact that “two wheel drive” is really “one wheel drive” unless you have a limited slip differential. I found this out the hard way 35 years ago in the Shetland Islands; I tried to turn around on a narrow track. One rear wheel went in the bog but the other stayed on solid ground. The wheel in the bog spun merrily while the other on solid ground did nothing at all… So I had to get a friend to come and tow me out with his Land Rover!

View towards Parker Mountain soon after I started the hike
SAM_0543a

You can go up steep parts (that people 4 wheel on!) or just follow the road. I went up the steep parts, it took 45 minutes to get to the top. I think if I go again I would just follow the road all the way since it is less steep.

View looking back north from the final steep pitch. Sierra Pelona ridge W6/CT-116 in the distance.
SAM_0545

View south from the top. Snow Benchmark (W6 CT-121) left and Magic Mountain (with antennas towers) right. Though the latter is not a SOTA peak, I would like to ride my bike up there and see the old rocket engine test cells; the now defunct Marquardt Corporation had a test facility there for many years.
SAM_0550

I worked on 20m CW and 30m CW. The site is not real great for 2m work since there are quite a few higher mountains around, but worked Richard WA6KYR on 2m FM and 20m CW. Signals were strong on HF and it was a very pleasant activation. I was pleased to hear Bob KB6CIO on CW for our first CW QSO; he usually operates SSB.

20m CW: WA6KYR N7KRN N4MJ VE2JCW KG3W WA2USA NA6MG W7RV N7UN K0LAF WA6RIC WK0X W6UB K8LJG NE4TN W7CNL W0RW/M N4EX

30m CW: K6EL WA6RIC W7CNL W7RV NA6MG KB6CIO W7USA NK6A K6TUY

2m FM: WA6KYR

Set up on the old fire tower foundation. There was a lot of debris from people shooting guns up here.
SAM_0551

Magic Mountain and cone-shaped Peak 4054 W6/CT-156
SAM_0554

Took the jeep road down. This would be a good mountain to do by mountain bike. I noticed many hardy evergreen shrubs. I wonder what they are, they seemed a little like yew trees.
SAM_0556

Approaching the Jeep
SAM_0560

On the way back, stopped in at Blum Ranch and picked up 5 pounds of pears. Peach season is over and pretty soon pear season will be over too.

Stats: 1.5 miles and 750 ft elevation gain up, 45 minutes. 30 minutes down. Temp was 82F back at the Jeep.

73!
Hal
N6JZT

After many years here in LA, I finally hiked Mt Baldy. A more formal name for Mt Baldy is Mt San Antonio, named after San Antonio de Padua.

In the 80s I hiked a lot in the Sierra Nevada, but never in the “local” San Gabriel Mountains. I should have hiked here too but never did. Well, now that I am retired I am making up for it!

As is my usual way now, I got up early and started the hike at 0445, about 2 hours before sunrise! I had parked at Manker flats, and set off by headlamp up the jeep road to San Antonio Falls. After about half an hour I came to the un-signed turnoff to the ski hut trail. There is a post that must have held a sign, and a Spanish Bayonet plant. I guess every time a sign is put there it is vandalized because I have seen photos of signs being there in the past. Up and then a switchback and you come to a metal tray and register, so I knew for sure I was on the right path. Tim K6TW had told me about the register.  A nice walk in the dark and turned off the headlamp at 0600. Arrived at the Sierra Club ski hut.

SAM_0482

The trail is pretty good up to this point but now gets rocky as you go across the bowl (=cirque in French = cwm in Welsh)
SAM_0484

Then steeply up through the trees
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At the crest of the ridge, I met the strong wind wind that had been forecast. The trail now becomes “trails” as there are many use trails which proceed upwards, leading along the west side of the ridge. The ridge across the way further right (west) in the picture has the trail that leads from Mt Baldy Village, which requires 6000 ft of elevation gain to the summit.
SAM_0487

Just keep going up and up and up…
SAM_0488

Almost at the summit, I met a hiker coming down. And then the summit, after almost 4 hours of hiking!
SAM_0489

Beautiful day, but cold in the mid 40s F and very windy
SAM_0490

This scrub pine provided a windbreak to set up the 2 meter slim jim j-pole
SAM_0492

Several hikers passed by coming up, then quickly passed by again heading down after they had quickly tagged the summit. Called Charles KM6CEM on the HT, he came right back and kindly spotted me on 2 meters. A great location for VHF, being up so high. Made 17 VHF QSOs, a 2m SOTA record for me. Including Ken KN6CCW and Bob KB6CIO, both operating on Onyx Peak W6 CT-044. Roy KR6RG was two miles north of the US-Mexico border, a distance of 123 miles, almost 200 km.

2m FM: KM6CEM K6QCB WD8BDN KK6EHQ NA6MG KK6IUF KB6RG KQ6PK WA6SDB AG6ZR KR6IJO W6AAX KN6CCW KB6CIO KJ6KHF AC6DX VA3CC/W6

Also a 2m QSO with Chris K6CMG after I had left the summit

Operated for almost 45 minutes and was getting cold. I went back to the summit and said hi to 4 young endurance runners who were sheltering behind one of the rock windbreaks. I went down the north slope a little to see if I could find another operating place out of the wind, but I could not. I decided not to set up for HF because I did not want to spend another hour immobile and getting colder. The bright sun wanted to warm things up, but the air temperature and strong wind wanted to keep things cold. Asked Charles to add a spot that I was cold and not setting up for HF.

Started down to the east towards Mt Harwood and the Devils’s Backbone trail. The path traverses to the right on Mt Harwood
SAM_0496

Endurance runners catching up
SAM_0503

This route is very scenic
SAM_0509

The backbone has begun. Very exposed in places
SAM_0516

SAM_0518a

Enter the Dragon!
SAM_0522

Mt Baldy Notch below. You can take a chair lift up to the notch from just above Manker Flats.
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From the notch, a gravel road leads back to Manker. I took this and made good time
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Back at the start of the ski hut trail, less than an hour from the Notch
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San Antonio Falls. More spectacular in the Spring when there is more water. I’m glad I started in the dark so I couldn’t see how far away the ridge is!
SAM_0539

And back down. Stats: 1h 50m to the ski hut, 3h 45 m total to the summit from Manker Flats. 4.3 miles, 3900 feet elevation gain. Then 1h 30m from the summit to Baldy Notch, and 1h 10m to Manker. 7 miles, of which 3.2 is from summit to Notch. Took 5 pints of water and drank 2, with a coke back at the car.

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Unbelievably, even after 34 years here in the Los Angeles area I had never been up Mt Baldy Road and the trail heads to the big peaks there: Mt Baldy (10064 ft), Thunder Mountain (8585 ft), Telegraph Peak (8985 ft), Timber Mountain (8303 ft), Ontario Peak (8693 ft), and Cucamonga Peak (8859 ft). So it was finally time! I planned to do the lowest of them, Timber Mountain. The trail head starts at the bottom of Ice House Canyon (4980ft) where there is a parking lot.

19 September 2014. After setting off in the car at 0345, I drove the freeways to Claremont and then headed into the mountains. Seemed strange to be doing so much freeway driving, not used to it. Then up Padua Rd and Mt Baldy Road, much easier drive, and less winding than the Angeles Crest Highway.  Through Mt Baldy Village and to the trail head, where I arrived at about 0500. Set off in the dark at 0520 by head lamp, temperature was 53F. There are cabins every so often for the first mile or so. The trail was mostly easy to follow in the dark, except one place where the flooding of a couple weeks ago had cut the path. Turned off the headlamp around 0620, sunrise was at 0639. Came to a washed out area that was about a quarter mile long. At one point I lost the trail and got out the map and compass to decide which way to go, since I was not familiar with the area; it worked and I found the path half a minute later!

A little further on I stopped to allow a young couple in their 20s to pass me. They were going twice my speed!

View down Ice House Canyon after 3 miles
SAM_0453

Then another 0.6 miles to Ice House Saddle, 7600 ft.

Weather beaten map at the saddle
SAM_0457

Then head left up towards Timber
SAM_0459

After about 10 minutes I heard K6QCB on 2m, called him and said I’d be on the summit in 15 to 20 minutes. The trail traverses around Timber, then the final part you head back east and up to the summit.

Sign points the way for the last quarter mile on the side trail
SAM_0461

SAM_0464

Set up the 2m slim jim j-pole and made some nice contacts with the HT:  Jeff K6QCB, Charles KM6CEM, Bob KB6CIO, Ken KN6CCW, Dan NA6MG, and Mike N6MKW summit to summit on Mt Islip.  Mt Islip is not line of sight, so I guess we got some diffraction over one of Baldy’s ridges that blocked the “view”.  Mike was scratchy at 55. Jeff spotted me and also wrote a comment that I would be on 14.062 MHz CW in half an hour or so. The temperature was in the 40s, I was chilled from sweat so am thinking it may be time to wear my warm wool shirt again. Luckily there was no wind and I warmed up in the sun pretty quickly.

Station on a log
SAM_0465

HF conditions were good
20m CW: K8LJG NS7P N7KRN NA6MG K6TUY NE4TN N5XL K4PIC KE5AKL W7CNL W0MNA WA2USA W0ERI KG3W (S2S W3 ER-001) K0LAF W4DOW K7NEW WA8REI/P

10m CW: W7RV K6EL N7AMA N7EDK K8TE W6BUX AE9F WA6IAF AE5B

SAM_0466

Mt Baldy (left) and Telegraph (center right). In the center is a subsidiary peak of Telegraph
SAM_0467

The way down.
SAM_0473

Met another hiker on his way up; he had climbed Baldy yesterday, and was doing Timber today. He planned to do the monster hike from the desert to the summit of San Jacinto, something like 10000 feet of elevation gain!

Ontario Peak, which is another 2.5 miles after you get back to Ice House Saddle
SAM_0474

Cucamonga Peak is about 3 miles from Ice House Saddle.
SAM_0477

Beautiful grove of Cedars below Ice House Saddle.
SAM_0479

On the way down I ran into about two dozen hikers coming up. This area is obviously very popular. There must be hundreds of hikers on a summer weekend!

There are perhaps a couple of dozen nice mountain cabins in the lower part of the canyon. There is no road to them, I guess they pack supplies in. The cabins do have electricity
SAM_0480

Stats: 3300 feet elevation gain, 3h 15 min up, 1 hr 55 min down. 4.5 miles each way. Took 5 pints of water and only drank 2, I needed to hydrate more by the time I got down.

I drove up the hair pin turns to the Manker Flats trail head for Mt Baldy, and then drove a little further to take a look at the Mt Baldy ski lift at the end of the road. The lift operates weekends during the summer.

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Well, there are no strawberries on Strawberry Peak. It is a desert mountain! It got its name from being shaped like a strawberry resting on its base, apparently.

View of Strawberry Peak from my Josephine bike ride. The easier route I took is on the right(east) ridge. The left(west) is Class 3.
SAM_0342

I got up early, and started the hike at 0515 in the dark. It was nice to see the stars against a black sky. The hike begins at Red Box (Mt Wilson Road turn off), and is the same as taken for Mt Lawlor. I used my headlamp for a while. Temperature was cool in the mid 60s. At the Strawberry/Lawlor saddle took a use trail west up the peak, quite steep in places.

On the ridge
SAM_0437

There are a few bumps to go over on the way up. Looking back at the false summit from the high point
SAM_0442a

At the summit, the 2m noise level was high from Mt Wilson, but made quite a few QSOs on 2m anyway, the first being with Mike N6MKW on Frazier Mountain CC-003. I could hear Charles KM6CEM, unfortunately he could not hear me. Then HF, 20m was OK but not much on 30m. Dan NA6MG kindly spotted me on 2m and 20m. Worked Chris K6CMG just as he was pulling in to work, he put out a call on 2m to see if anyone was on a summit!

Dipole with 30m links. The orientation was E-W since that’s the way this narrow summit runs
SAM_0443

2m FM: N6MKW KW6ACK KN6CCW K6QCB NA6MG K6CMG
20m CW: W0MNA W0ERI NS7P WD4EXI K6TUY WA2USA NE4TN N4MJ AE4FZ
30m CW: K6TUY

View towards Condor Peak and Iron Mountain. Josephine just on the left of the frame. The chaparral is regenerating. The pine tree below didn’t die in the fire so is regenerating too.
SAM_0445

It was starting to get hot when I headed down at 1000. Very bright in the sun!
Trail contours these rugged spurs
SAM_0448

About 6 miles RT, 1600 feet gain. Took me 2h 15m up, 1h 40m down. Drank 3 pints of water on this hike. Temperature was about 82F back at Red Box

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Got up to the area in the dark, so I enjoyed the stars in the dark sky near Switzer picnic area before heading back a few miles to the trail head as the sky lightened. Started the hike at 0530 with my head lamp for a little while until it got light enough to see without it. Took about 45 minutes to get to the top.

Condor Peak
SAM_0411

Set up the mast and 2 meter J-pole and worked Kenan KR6J who was mobile. I put out a call for Bob KB6CIO on the Catalina Repeater, and it was a nice surprise that he came back, he was helping some people in Palos Verdes with geocaching. We moved to simplex, then also worked Neil K6KWI. Then set up for HF.

Yucca
SAM_0412

Though I was told later that the K and A indices were very high, conditions on 20m and 30m were good at this early hour and made lots of QSOs.

2m FM: KR6J KB6CIO K6KWI W6MTM NA6MG KM6CEM

20m CW: W0MNA W4DOW W0ERI N4EX NA6MG K4PIC NE4TN N0EVH K6TUY WA8REI NE1SJ(S2S W3/PO-001) N4MJ VE2JCW K0LAF

30m CW: NS7P W7CNL WA2USA/0 K6TUY WB5BKL

The activation was a pleasant one, the temperature was about 75 degrees with a slight cooling breeze, then starting to get hot when I left at around 0900.

Yep, I know, I know, but the boulders don’t care if I need a level one on which to put the camera…
SAM_0417

I then headed to Aliso Canyon and Aliso Arrastre Cutoff Road to have a look at a mountain (Peak 3819 as marked on the old paper topos) just south of Peak 3788 CT-167. The US Geological Service National Map shows it has a prominence of  520 feet so we need to make this a SOTA peak. If you take its spot height of 3819 feet and go to the nearest 40 foot topo contour of 3320 feet you get 499 foot prominence, which is incorrect; the low prominence is just an artifact of the 40 foot contour interval on US topo maps. The USGS National Map uses the National Elevation Dataset (NED) which includes all available measurements. BTW, List of John says prominence is 519 feet http://www.listsofjohn.com/searchres?textsearch=3819&Search=Name&State=CA

The peak from Aliso Canyon Road
SAM_0424

US Geological Service National Map shows summit as 3818 feet.

http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/?q=34.43718,-118.16248

Peak 3819 summit
Map courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey

Key Saddle is 3298 feet. Note the nifty tool for determining elevations. Horizontal granularity is 1/3 arc second: about 35 feet
Peak 3819 Saddle
Map courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey

At the saddle, looking west
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And looking east from the Saddle. I have other photos looking in different directions, the terrain looks as you would expect from the maps.
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GPS position on the tablet. GPS elevation tends to wander around some, and I don’t know what vertical datum it uses. The USGS uses NAVD 88.
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National Elevation Dataset FAQs may be found at http://ned.usgs.gov/faq.html
NED versus Space Shuttle’s lower accuracy measurements may be found at http://ned.usgs.gov/faq.html#SRTM

I then went over to Blum Ranch and bought 50 pounds of peaches for 16 dollars. They were seconds so they were cheap. When I got home I peeled 10 and made a peach pie! Today I made another peach pie. I have a lot of peeling ahead of me; I will freeze most of then after I peel and chop them up.

73!
Hal
N6JZT

I had ridden up Mt Vetter earlier in the year, but didn’t take the radio. At that time, I met the USFS Charlton Flat volunteer Terry who cut back a lot of the Poodle Dog Bush around Charlton Flat, which is the picnic area on the way to Vetter. Since my thighs were still sore from last weeks descent down Volcano Gully, I thought I’d go back to Vetter which is an easy 2 mile each way with 500 feet elevation gain. Got to Charlton Flats just before 0600. The gate was closed so I parked just off Angeles Crest Highway. Then Terry opened the gate at 0605 so parked in Charlton Flats picnic area.

The temporary fire lookout now has a hard roof
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And they are starting to rebuild the real lookout! Here is the foundation
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Got on 2m FM (noise from Mt Wilson again) and Charles KM6CEM was right there. He always has a strong signal. Then Jeff K6QCB and Frank KK6EHQ

Set up for HF with the 5W HB1B
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The propagation was good, maybe also due to being earlier than I usually am. The RBN list shows my 20m signal was making it to the east coast and mid west
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Lots of Qs on 2m, 20m, and 30m

2m FM: KM6CEM K6QCB KK6EHQ KN6CCW KW6ACK KB6CIO K06N

20m CW: W0MNA ND0C W0ERI W9FHA W7RV N4MJ WA5AFD KG3W N7WM N4EX/p S2S W4K/KA-002 W0/DL6AP/P S2S W0C/FR-063

30m CW: W7CNL K6TUY K6EL S2S W6/CC-072 NS7P W0/DL6AP/P N7EDK N7CW K6XM W6IYS WN6E (his first SOTA CW QSO)

Then a nice ride down, noticed that where Terry had cut the Poodle Dog it was growing back! I think we will just have to wait till it gets choked out by regenerating chaparral.  Then breakfast of scrambled eggs, hash browns and toast at Newcomb’s Ranch. Latest news is that Darren and Danielle are engaged! Also, Dr Rundall made it to the 75th Newcomb’s anniversary party last Sunday though he is quite frail.
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After this, I went up to Three Points for a 2 mile walk on the Mt Waterman trail, this takes you on the south side of Waterman above Devil’s Canyon. It gives a longer hike to Waterman and Twin Peaks than the normal route which starts higher. I may take this route next time to add variety to my hiking.

73!
Hal
N6JZT

I thought I would learn a little more about “The Volcano” aka “Don’t Do It Peak”, as named by Tim K6TW. He and Bryan N0BCB activated it back in 2013 and it was a tough climb. I wanted to see if it was possible to traverse at the 5800 foot contour from the gully a third of a mile over to the saddle between Kratka and the peak. The descent down the gully would then only be 900 vertical feet. The traverse would avoid descending another 300 feet down the gully. Yellow track shows Tim’s and Bryan’s route.

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Started from the road at dawn, headed down the gully at 0555. It was fairly steep but straightforward and fairly easy. I did not have my full SOTA gear with me, only the HT, since I wasn’t intending an activation of CT-083.

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Also very scenic

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The view down, after descending several hundred feet in elevation

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View back up

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The GPS said this was around the 5800 foot level: a 20 foot smooth rock wall from one side of the gully to the other. I saw that the traverse was not possible: the sides of the gully were too steep. One would need to continue on Tim’s and Bryan’s route. If I were to attempt it, I would leave a rope here to make sure I could climb back up! Probably could do it without a rope, but…

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View of The Volcano from near the rock wall. The vegetation in the gully up to this point had not been a problem at all; Google Earth shows it gets much thicker below this point. Also, I tried the HT here, could not access any repeaters (Catalina, Mt Wilson, San Dima WIN, PAPASYS), I guess not a surprise.

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Sat and had a Clif Bar and water for breakfast, then headed back up. The weather was nice and cool and sunny.

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Today I wore my old rock climbing helmet to provide some protection against potential rockfall

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I had noted from the GPS that these smooth boulders marked the point of 150 meters elevation below the top of the gully

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View back down the gully. The Volcano to the right

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Near the top of the gully

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View down into the San Gabriel Wilderness

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It took about 50 minutes to get down the gully to the rock wall, and about an hour back up. The walking and scrambling was pretty easy.

Passed by Newcomb’s at 0830, they weren’t open till 0900 so continued down. Further down at the viewpoint of Waterman, Twin, and Baldy got out the HT and talked with Charles KM6CEM. He was able to relay to Jeff K6QCB that I was on the way home and wouldn’t be activating anything today. I could hear Jeff but he couldn’t copy me. I wanted to get home by 11 to meet some fellow retirees for lunch at Thai Top in Hermosa Beach…

73!

Hal

N6JZT

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