A tiring day on Mt. Islip (8250 ft. W6/CT-010), 1 March 2013

Well, this was a long day, much of it on snow shoes.

Headed up to the Angeles Crest Highway, and saw the Tree People were doing a reforestation of the Chilao campground. I stopped to talk with the leaders Marcos and Bill…I have been planning on doing some tree planting with them since they are replanting due to the 2009 Station Fire. So maybe next week….

Stopped for breakfast at Newcomb’s Ranch. I may revert to my summer schedule of starting the hike at 7AM and having lunch there; breakfast there gets me to the hike later than I really want.

After a hearty breakfast, drove along to  Islip Saddle and began my hike up the closed section of the Angeles Crest Highway. The road is closed for about 10 miles from Islip Saddle, over 7900 foot Dawson Saddle, and down to the parking lot at the start of the trail up Mt Baden Powell.


I walked for about a mile up the road, reaching the beginning of the snow-covered jeep road to Little Jimmy Trail Camp. Put on my snow shoes, and began the trek


The weather was beautiful. Sunny, little wind, and rather warm. I think it warmed up to about 50 degrees F as the day went on. As usual, I found the snow shoe hiking quite tiring and slow, about 1 mile per hour! Quite a few people had been up the jeep road on foot or snow shoes over the last week or so, judging by the prints in the snow. Some nice views along the way, such as Throop Peak (CT-005)


Passed through Little Jimmy Camp, and then reached Windy Gap after 2 hours …takes 1 1/4 hours in the summer!



Took off my snow shoes and picked my way slowly up the ridge trying to avoid the snow where possible. Very steep and tiring. Called AD6QF, Bob, on 2 meters, we had scheduled this to coincide with the meeting of the ham radio club at the school where he teaches. Today he was telling them about SOTA. Five of his students are hams. He kindly spotted me on the SOTA page to let people know I was getting there…After a tiring hour finally reached the top, and had another 2 meter QSO with Bob, then set up the 20m dipole from the “antenna tree”.



Made the following QSOs:



10 MHz CW:

WA6ARA, AD5A, W4RK, K6ILM (my first summit-to-summit, he was on w6/NC-423) , NS7P, K6OZY, KH2TJ, KI0G, WO6M, VE7KBN, W4ZV

14 MHz CW:


14 MHz SSB: W0MNA/m, W9FO


After the QSOs, packed up and headed down, I knew it would be a tiring slog. Said good bye to the old cabin at the top:


The trail was clear for a short while, then put on my snow shoes to navigate the snow on the ridge


I bypassed Windy Gap, managing to reach the sign marking the cutoff trail to Little Jimmy Spring. I did this by sliding down on my butt through soft snow for a couple of hundred feet!. Then continued on my previous footprints back through Little Jimmy Camp


….and along the jeep road….very tiring trudge trudge trudge….


After about 2  hours from the top, I was happy to hit the road!!! The water around my pack is from shaking off the snow from the snow shoes!


And here is a view looking back at the start of the jeep road:


And along down the road and I was never more happy to see my jeep!



So the total was almost about five and a half hours of hiking, and about 1 hour of radio.  I found it very tiring, so I think I will not be doing this kind of lengthy snow shoe hike in the future. I’ll do lower mountains in the winter with no snow, and the higher ones such as this in the summer. Summer is so much easier!

And the adventure continued….after motoring for about 3 miles, I came upon a young woman who had just hit a big rock and her oil pan had been torn off! As I approached, since her car was at the side of the road she looked like she was taking photos and I thought she was OK. Then as I passed by slowly she flagged me down. She had been trying to get cell phone coverage, not taking photos, but there is no cell reception on the Angeles Crest. She had me check here car…yep, oil pan torn off. Gave her a lift down to Newcomb’s Ranch so we could call for a tow. Her name was Christina…poor Christina had been on her way to her sister’s wedding in Yucca Valley. She was one of the bridesmaids! She had been trying to avoid the rush hour traffic on the freeways, poor thing didn’t know the ACH was closed for the winter 3 miles form where she had hit the rock!

At Newcomb’s, the manager Michelle called for a tow. Todd from Mt. Waterman was there too, having a Margarita. I had a beer and bought Christina one too, she needed some “nerve medicine”.

So that was quite a day!


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