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