Langley via the East-Southeast Ridge

Mount Langley is California's southernmost fourteener and most definitely not California's most climbed mountain. Why doesn't Langley attract more attention? Maybe it's that famous neighbor just a few miles north.

I will try not to pile on too many superlatives in describing Langley but it's hard not to gush—this is an extraordinary mountain. In contrast to other peaks who shall go nameless, Langley seems to offer the more sweeping and diverse vistas, and the wild-eyed part of me says Langley's north face is second to none.

You might also enjoy the mountain's relative solitude.

We climbed this in flawless weather two Sundays ago and virtually had the mountain to ourselves. The standard route to the summit begins at the end of Horseshoe Meadows Road and follows New Army Pass trail, offering mostly class 1-2 hiking all the way to Langley's 14,042-foot summit.

In contrast the East-Southeast Ridge is a climbing route, though one of modest difficulty. Porcella-Burns rate it Class 3, and for once those notorious sandbaggers might be overstating the case.

You won't have any trouble staying on-route (once you know to hike all the way to Langley's south face before gaining the ridge), and aside from talus challenges in the east-southeast chute, if you encounter climbing you don't like, you can easily traverse left (south) on the ridge to find easier ground.

It's a big day though!

Hiking Langley via the New Army Pass Trail is a whopping 24 miles round trip. Take the ridge up instead, then descend via Langley's big southwest face and either New Army Pass or (old) Army Pass to return, and you can shave a little distance off that total.

I last hiked this loop in August 2005. Returning to climb Langley with my son, after the year we've all had, was a truly special moment. This in fact was our first Sierra climb together. We gained a lot of confidence together, and I suspect more Sierra routes will be forthcoming.

We also shot a lot of video.

SierraDescents has always been about finding ways to combine storytelling and technology to bring you, the reader, along for the ride—ideally just as if I stuck you in my backpack. Thanks to its combination of portability, wide angle view, and high-quality stabilization, my GoPro Hero8 in particular seems to excel at creating the sort of immersive, first-person experience that I'm shooting for.

We've come a long way since 2005. Using what we learned in our series of San Gabriel hikes this year, plus a lot of obsessive effort at home to get a natural look out of the GoPro's footage, we've put together what I think is our finest effort to date. Hope you enjoy the result!

— July 9, 2021

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Matt D July 10, 2021 at 7:30 am

What an awesome hike and a beautiful mountain. How did things look over towards Lone Pine Peak and Inyo Creek? It didn't look like there was much smoke from the fire. It was lightning-sparked and I know that's part of the cycle but I was still bummed to see that drainage burn because I think I've convinced myself that route might be within my skiing abilities.

Also my 2 year old got up just as this video was finishing and decided he wants to start the day watching your ski reviews ;)

Andy July 10, 2021 at 8:59 am

We were watching the Portal and there was no visible smoke. We saw fire-retardant streaks in the Inyo Creek drainage but no obvious burn area at least as seen from Lone Pine. I envy how peppy I was in those ski reviews. It was a simpler time. :)

Joseph G. July 12, 2021 at 2:52 pm

I agree! Such a fine video!

I watched this on the 1440p setting on my Retina display. The color/tone is very true to life for the Langley region. Felt like I was there. I may actually use a screenshot to show people to look for the OAP trail when asked again. The ramp and CW Lake #5 are pretty clearly visible at 7:58.

Thanks for another great video.

Thomas G. July 22, 2021 at 10:12 pm

Andy, thanks for sharing this video! How long did this take you guys? Love watching your videos - thanks for documenting this!

Andy July 23, 2021 at 7:08 am

I think we started hiking around 7:30 a.m. and finished around 5pm. Long day but absolutely one of my favorites!

Thomas G July 24, 2021 at 8:31 am

9.5 is incredible time for that mileage and vertical - a long day for sure, but that's a great clip! Thanks again for the video and beta on this one. It's beautiful, and definitely one on my list now!



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