Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dec 10: Full Moon over the San Gabriels

A screen grab tonight from the towercam on Mt Wilson. It's arguably the most interesting web cam in Southern CA, and it captures great nighttime images too.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dec 3: Point Dume

Hiking Club was out today for a two-mile hike along the Malibu coast, here are a few of my photos. 27 hikers came out for the hike to Paradise Cove and a beach picnic afterward.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nov 26 Sunset

I snapped this photo of the crescent moon and Venus from the summit of Mt Hollywood last night. (Video, no sound)

Nov 13: Hike in the Zabriskie Hills

During a weekend trip to Death Valley, I and intrepid hiking companion Nina climbed Manly Beacon in the Zabriskie Hills. On the way up, a Meetup group from Las Vegas passed us, so they were on top when we arrived. (Video, no sound)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Night Hike in the Hollywood Hills

On October 8, twelve Hiking Club members hiked to the summit of Mt Lee, site of the famous Hollywood sign. This was my first hike up there at night. The sunset was incredible and after the storms this week the weather was perfect, with clear dry air and temps in the 60's. The views of Hollywood and downtown LA were incredible.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mt Williamson in the Sierras

For years I've driven up the Owens Valley and looked up at 14,375' Mt Williamson's west faceWilliamson, and wondered about climbing it - the 2nd highest peak in the Sierras. After Inyo NF changed the rules this year to permit climbers access to the area in late summer, we discussed it and got a permit for Labor Day Weekend this year.
It's a far tougher climb than Mt Whitney, owing to:
1. Mt Whitney has a maintained trail constructed to its summit, while Williamson has a CL2-3 route;
2. Mt Whitney's trailhead is at elev 8000', while access to Mt Williamson is by the Shepherd Pass trailhead at 6300'; and so
3. Williamson's distance, terrain, and elevation gain are all much more demanding.
Our permit was for 5 days. While some experienced climbers can cover the 29 miles / 8000' of gain in a single day, we're not them. So this trip's schedule was two days each way, with a long summit day in the middle. Our foursome camped at 12000', as close as practical to the mountain, and we STILL spent 13 hrs to summit and return to camp.
Photo above shows the Williamson bowl and the mountain's spectacularly irregular and intimidating west face. Photos below: opposing Mt Tyndall, with its much more organized geometry (and ominous Batman shadow), the view down the west side chute; and Mark, Nina, Michelle and me on the summit.
You can view the video here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

7 Days in the Sierras: THE MOVIE!

Am posting a Quicktime video of our time in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. You can turn down the sound, since there's some loud wind in it. The last bit is a 360 from the summit of Mt Donahue.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

7 Days in the Sierras

Had a foursome for this trip, which included a hike from the Mammoth lakes area, through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, out at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, and return on the bus. This trip was postponed by 6 weeks due to the record snowpack this year.

Still, we couldn't avoid snow, as north-facing snowpack still lingers down to about 10,500'. We spent two days on off-trail excursions to climb to 11,100' North Glacier Pass and 12,023' Donahue Peak, and found 11,000' Lake Catherine still mostly frozen over. I've never been to the northern Cascades, but right now the Central Sierras look like photos I've seen from up there. Most of this pack snow will stop melting within a month, and refreeze for another year.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 6: Hiking Club on Mt San Gorgonio

11,500' Mt San Gorgonio is the highest peak in Southern California, and we summitted ten hikers today! This was a 17-mile round trip day, with 5500' of climb from the Vivian Creek trailhead. Everyone did well, and posed for this group photo on the summit. At the end of the hike, in the dusk, our hikers spotted two different bears in the Forest Falls area.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August 5: Bodacious swimmin' hole

Six or seven of us hiked down Deep Creek in the Lake Arrowhead area, to have this swimming hole all to ourselves. The water was great, and a good time was had by all.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


How did I celebrate my birthday this year?
With a birthday bash weekend with Northrop friends in San Diego:

By climbing Skyhaven Peak in the Sierras:

By visiting my hometown of Wheaton IL with my Wheaton buddy, Paul:

And by meeting my cousins Danny and Tommy Corcoran in Wrigleyville (Chicago) for dinner:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 4 on the Gabrielino Trail

I joined the Bear Canyon Trail Crew on Saturday to help reopen the Switzer Falls / Bear Canyon trails. This trail is in the Station Fire footprint, and was closed for two seasons of high rainfall, so it was a mess. It was satisfying to get this favorite trail reopened for the public just as the Angeles Crest Highway finally reopened. I found that the Bear Canyon crewmembers are great to work with, know their stuff, and work hard. Their next workday is in July in the West Fork, and I might join them again for that.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mojave Green is Not A Beer

On a hike in Joshua Tree NP this weekend, this three foot long Mojave Green blocked the way back up the canyon. I'm unsure why it was lounging across the boulder like that, but having just climbed over this rock 20 minutes earlier, I guess there's no telling where it was then. This is the first of these that I've seen, but I'm sure that more rattlesnakes have seen me, than I them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hiking Club in Fish Canyon Narrows

Hiking Club was out on May 15 for a hike to the narrows of Fish Canyon. Not the same Fish Canyon with the big falls that we visited last month, but a different Fish Canyon. This is in the big empty NW corner of LA County. Hiking to the narrows is a water hike, with lots of pools of clear, cool water.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Clearing trail in the West Fork

Several of us worked a project in the West Fork of the San Gabriel River today, to clear the Gabrielino Trail between West Fork camp and Devore camp. This area has been closed ever since the Station Fire in 2009, but starting Monday it will be reopened for the public to visit and enjoy again. Here's a shot of some of the trail crew when we reached Devore Camp. By the way, both camps were mostly unaffected by the big fire, owing to their locations low down in the canyon.
More photos are posted here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pack Trip In Santa Anita Cyn

Over the three-day weekend, a foursome of us hiked up Santa Anita Canyon and stayed in the bunkhouses at remote, historic Sturtevant Camp. Over 100 years old, they still welcome backpackers. On the in-between day we climbed Mt Wilson on a looping route up the canyon and descending the NE ridgeline. In the video, you'll notice a big tree in the foreground by the front of our cabin; the proprietor told us that that is the biggest tree in the Angeles NF, and is over 900 years old.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hiking Club to Fish Canyon Falls

Fish Canyon Falls is a spectacular 4-tiered beauty in the San Gabriel foothills. Today we had ten hikers attend. Someday I want to return and try out that swimming hole at the base of the bottom falls. See my video.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Slide Mtn Fire Tower

Many more fire towers like this one atop Slide Mountain once existed, but sadly this is the last one remaining in this part of the state. It's not an easy climb to get to it, and the route is fully exposed to sun. The Slide Mtn tower was built in 1969, very near the Los Angeles / Ventura County line. While the Forest Service relied on staffing them with lookouts to watch for fires, they quit doing so decades ago. This one is still maintained by volunteers. Here's my video.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


As you can see by this grab from the Mt Wilson Cam, Southern California's mountains received a recent dumping of snow. Today the sun is out, so it's quite a sight. The mountains are getting lots of snow again this year.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hiking Club in L.A.

Hiking Club members appreciate interesting destinations, and once again this February we took advantage of the inclement mountain season to take one of the LA Conservancy's downtown LA guided tours. This year we walked Broadway Ave to see some of the opulent 100-year old movie palaces. This is the interior of the 2300-seat Million Dollar Theater. Sadly, not all of Broadway's movie palaces still survive, and some have been converted for other uses, but the Million Dollar and a few others still host movies.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

National Trail Trek - South Mountain Park

I hiked Phoenix's South Mountain end to end with hiking buddy Mark on Saturday. The city of Phoenix sponsors the hike and runs the shuttle buses, and you get lunch at the midway point, and even a tee shirt. Over 300 people participated in the 15-mile hike, and the weather was perfect. Mark took this photo of some of the hikers atop the summit ridgeline, with the Estrella Mountains in the distance.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Henninger Flats

On a hike with friends to Henninger Flats in the San Gabriel foothills today, the sun came out and I took this photo. This is looking southwest, toward the cities of Glendale and Altadena, and also the Verdugo Mtns in the distance on the right.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Snow Falling in the SCV

In today's winter storm, Valencia was positioned exactly on the lower threshold of snowfall. Here's a shot of my back yard and the neighbors' roofs. This is actually after about two hours of off-an-on snowfall, but the ground remains warm enough to melt it. This area may receive more tonight, though. Snow is not unheard of at this elevation, but I guess this is the first measurable snowfall here since 1989. There's a funny post about this on the LATimes blog here.