Rattlesnake Peak

18 April 1998 (Private Outing)

By: Joe Young


Having canceled the scheduled outing to Rattlesnake Pk on March 14 due to bad weather, I had told a few people the weekend of April 18-19 I was available to lead Rattlesnake. So it should have come as no surprise to find a message from "PatnJane" as well as a phone message asking, "Which day are you leading Rattlesnake?" Friday evening, April 17, I called Jane Gibbons back and said that Saturday would be better.

Saturday morning at 8:00 AM Jane Gibbons, Peter Doggett, Sonia Arancibia and Joe Young showed up at the Azusa rideshare point. Since Joe had purchased the $3 County parking pass at the Mobil station earlier, the four piled into Joe's vehicle for the ride to the trail head at the gate on Shoemaker Road. The hike began at 8:50 AM. The sky was clear and temps slightly too warm.

1-1/2 mile up the road where there used to be a spade marker reading 3.39, and there used to be a narrow gully which the road used to cross, is now a washed out road. El Niño completely destroyed the road at this point. This is the spot to begin the ascent of Rattlesnake. We scrambled up the steep left bank and found the remnants of the old road. We followed the old abandoned road as it crosses the gully and up and around to the right, to a point where it drops off. Here we turned left and proceeded up the ridge. We stopped for a break on 3481', and shortly after we all agreed that nobody else would be out climbing Rattlesnake this day, David Hankins showed up. David would hike the rest of the day with us. Peter Doggett had found a jacket on the route and he wrapped it around the survey marker on 3481'. He would pick it up on descent later.

Four of us had brought clippers, and we used them freely. Rattlesnake has become a very brushy peak, and El Niño has exascerbated the problem. Between the warm temps, the continual fighting off the brush, the steepness, and clipping, we rested every 45 minutes or so. We arrived at the summit at about 1:20 PM. The register is one of the best on any HPS Peak: entries go back to 1964. Joe was especially interested in one entry: "Jean Isola June 25, 1976 #215." Jean had also written one word, "Hot." It was to be the last word she would ever write, because she perished from heat exhaustion on descent, having attempted this peak in 100+F temps. As far as I know, she was the first HPS member ever to die on an HPS Peak.

As we were about to leave the summit, Joe decided to check out the north side of the summit and discovered some patches of snow! We all filled our water bottles with snow. We were lucky to find it because we had been using up our water supplies at a fast rate.

We clipped some more on descent. Even though following our clipped route facilitated route-finding on descent, it's still easy to get off route south of 4040'. After a short break on 3481' where Peter picked up the jacket, we headed on down. We arrived at the vehicles at 5:30 PM.

The four in Joe's vehicle agreed to check out The Fort Restaurant at Follows Camp, which is located close to the intersection of Shoemaker Road and the East Fork Road. We were all pleased with the service and the quality, and price, of the food. Jane, Sonia and Peter had various sandwiches while Joe had "Texas Taters," potatoes fried with Cajun spices.

Everyone was satisfied with their respective meals. Full entries are available, as well as beer and wine. Weekend specials are available at $6.95.


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