7 January 1989
By: Asher Waxman
Leaders: Asher Waxman, Patty Kline
This hike was billed as the "Mount Wilson Grand Tour": 20 miles roundtrip, 5000 feet of gain. We were to start from Chantry Flat, go over Newcomb Pass, down to Devore Campground, across to West Fork, up Rattlesnake Trail, then down Upper Winter Creek Trail.
In October 1987 the hike came off very well. This Saturday, ten of us sat in our ten cars from about 6:30AM and the gate to Chantry Flat stayed closed. At 7:00AM Patty and I decided to try starting from a different trailhead.
We settled on the Mount Wilson Toll road and everyone agreed to that. Despite the fact that there is no exit from the 210 Freeway marked Altadena Drive, we all managed to gather at Eaton Canyon and start hiking by 7:45AM. The sky had gone partly cloudy, from clear and sunny just after sunrise.
About the 2500 foot level we got some light powder flurries. At about 400 feet we walked on an inch or so of snow, sometimes topping a layer of ice. From Harvard Saddle we turned off onto the trail, which, as Patty anticipated, was occasionally icy. Just below the top, two or three hikers slipped (so I heard); but no injuries.
The parking area was deserted of cars and visibility was about 50 feet. Still, we ran into some hikers who had come up via Little Santa Anita Canyon and George Toby (of SPS) who had come up our way with a friend just a few minutes earlier. The concession stand was officially closed, but they had chili (hot) and coffee and in the 28°F cold, anything hot was welcome.
For safety we descended by the dirt road instead of the trail - and kept encountering mountain bikers and lightly dressed hikers, some coming up from Chantry, which had meanwhile opened.
Marty Magaddino had discovered a route down the ridge from about the 3800 foot level, which cut off a couple of switchbacks on the road; eight of us chose this alternative and enjoyed it. (This connected with the Idelhour Trail, leading directly back to the toll road.)
The last hour or so we walked under delightful sunshine, with great mist-shrouded views across from Eaton Canyon. Our roundtrip came to 17 miles, with 4500 feet of gain. We were back to our cars by 3:15PM, for a total of 7-1/2 hours.
The rest of the hearty and hardy group were: Joe Young, Richard Schamberg, Tom Eng, Georgina Burns, Al Moggia, Paula Peterson and Bob Wycka. Thanks to Patty for assisting. The "Grand Tour" will be offered again, probably next Fall.
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