Rattlesnake Peak

8 December 1990

By: David Eisenberg


Leaders: David Eisenberg, Luella Fickle

Somewhere between the time Luella and I agreed on a time and publication of the schedule, the time changed from 6:00 am at the Azuza Carpool point to 8:00. (We have no idea who was responsible for this typo.) This was only the first of many problems which were to plague us during this trip. Being short of time, carpool arrangements were made and we actually drove off at 8:01 am! Unfortunately, the time saved was wasted as we waited 15 minutes at the bridge for a car that decided to visit Crystal Lake instead.

We started up the road at a relatively fast pace, taking 1/2 hour to travel the 1-1/2 miles to the takeoff point up the ridge. We took a short break and started up the ridge to see what the brush was like. (The trip was originally billed as a clipping trip; however, due to the clipping controversy, reports of a fairly open path, and a shortage of time, I requested that clippers be left at the carpool point.)

I had thought that I was recovered fully from a cold the previous week and was shocked to find all of my strength gone at the 4500' level at 11:00. 11 of the participants were able to pass me going up the steep ridge. Harriet Edwards and Nicole Glardon rubbed it in by singing 2 part harmony on the way up! (They sounded quite good over my gasping and wheezing.) Arriving at the top, we looked down and saw that it would be about 1/2 hour until the people at the rear of the group could catch up. (I guess I wasn't as bad off as I felt!) Charlie Knapke and Ray Riley had earlier expressed a desire to go faster if possible. As they were both qualified to lead the trip, I asked them if they would be willing to take the faster people up and back while Luella and I took the slower group. 2 participants signed out at this point; they took it easy for a while and then went back without making the peak. As we were leaving towards the summit, the 3 hikers from the missing car showed up. They were apparently exhausted from catching up and were unable to continue with us. There were now 8 of us out of an original group of 22 watching 9 going over the top of the ridge. We passed the fast group at 1:00, about 15 minutes from the peak. We arrived at the summit at 1:15 and celebrated Richard Schemberg's 100th Peak.

We had thought that the worst of the peak was over and were prepared for a relatively easy descent. Alas, we were again bitten by Rattlesnake's notorious bad luck. Shortly after departing the summit, one participant came down with severe leg cramps. He was forced to stop about every 15 minutes to uncramp. Harriet turned out to be an expert in massage and was able to massage out the cramps during these occasions. We limped out through the brush until we came in sight of the upper road. More adversity was unfortunately in store for us. Luella took a spill and caught herself on a yucca. The needle stuck in her palm turned out to be 1/4 of an inch long! When it was removed it opened an artery, spurting blood about an inch in the air. We stopped the blood, but the bandage covered her hand making it impossible for her to hold her staff. She was reduced to sitting down on the steep parts and bouncing down the ridge on her backside.

With all of this we made it back to the road by sunset, just in time to watch Mt. Baldy turn some of the most beautiful shades of purple. As we were walking down the road, we saw Mars rising over the summit. We reached the cars just as it was getting dark.

On arriving back to the carpool point, we found 2 members of the fast group who had waited 2 hours for us since their stuff was in our cars!

Participants not mentioned above by name were (in order of signing in): Erich Fickle, Don Croley, George Schroedter, Mitchell Helbrecht, Shirley Imsand, Jorg Angehrn, Keith Martin, Leslie Metcalf, Frank James, Kathie Banks, Frank Atkin, Jeff Wilson, Mike, Tal, and Cais.


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