June 22, 2010

Williamson Blues

Williamson Blues

This past weekend I and two friends made a go at Williamson via the big-big West Face/Shepherd Pass route. We made it as far as Anvil camp, but had to turn back the following day when AMS took out one of my companions overnight. While I was disappointed at not getting a shot at the summit (it would have been my third time up there) (more…)

Posted in Hiking | 3 Comments

October 24, 2009

Mt. Baldy Bikini Party

Mt. Baldy Bikini Party

Okay, I kid you not, as I was driving to Mt. Baldy this morning for an early-season training hike, I was bemoaning the dearth of scantily clad women in the backcountry. I mean, I’ve been hiking a long, long time, and while initially in my hiking career I was convinced I’d one day hit the jackpot and find a mountain covered with lovely ladies, time has taught me it never happens (more…)

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July 20, 2009

BPL Wilderness Trekking Course

Backpacking Light has a tremendous wealth of information on ultralight hiking strategies. Unfortunately the site is subscription-only, so most of its content is firewalled, but BPL also runs wilderness courses, including this Aug 23-Sept 5 Wilderness Trekking Long Distance class, which runs 14 days and a whopping two grand per person (more…)

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June 8, 2009

SPOT 911 on the PCT

A hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail near Horseshoe Meadows got hit by Wednesday’s weather and pressed “911″ on her Spot Satellite Messenger when she became cold, wet, and afraid she would not survive the night (read her account here). In the morning, she sent an “OK” message and hiked to Lone Pine, where she was met by worried family members (more…)

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May 22, 2009

Phil Leacock Memorial Trail & Loop

Phil Leacock Memorial Trail & Loop

Los Angeles has a wealth of good metro-area hikes, though finding them can be challenging. One of my favorites is the Phil Leacock Memorial Trail, which connects Pacific Palisades to the Topanga State Park trail network. For the urban hiker, the Leacock Trail offers tremendous bang for the buck. You get a sharp climb right from the start, great city and ocean views, and a quick loop (about 1.5 miles) back to the car (more…)

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September 29, 2008

The SoCal 8000m Challenge

The SoCal 8000m Challenge

Jansport apparently issues an annual challenge to its gear retailers: get as many employees as you can to the top of Southern California’s three big peaks (Mt. Baldy, Mount San Jacinto, and San Gorgonio Mountain) in one day. For the uninitiated, that entails a whopping total of 24,000 total vertical feet (more…)

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September 14, 2008

PCT: Onion Valley to Cottonwood Pass

PCT: Onion Valley to Cottonwood Pass

Horseshoe Meadow, California — I take one last look inside my car, checking to be sure nothing will appeal to the bears, and then I lock the doors. It feels kind of spooky as my hiking partner Bill drives us back down Horseshoe Meadows Road in his truck, heading east to Highway 395, then north all the way to Onion Valley (more…)

Posted in Hiking | 12 Comments

May 23, 2008

Traveling in Bear Country

Traveling in Bear Country

Late season storms aside, I’ve been looking forward to ditching the ski gear and switching to hiking and climbing. After all, summer camping in the Sierra is easier in almost every respect than winter. There is one big difference, however: in summer, we share the mountains with bears. I must say I ordinarily harbor no ill will toward bears, but as a hiker I find they present an added layer of complexity that (more…)

Posted in Camping, Health, Hiking, Tips | 1 Comment

October 28, 2007

A Very Special Halloween Treat

For my last major hike of the 2007 season, I wanted to do something special. I got the chance this month to do a rare hike with my brother in Arizona. This is definitely one of those off-the-map specials: a rim-to-river scramble deep in the remote, rugged wilderness of the eastern Grand Canyon.

During the landmark 1869 Powell expedition through the Grand Canyon, Walter Powell (brother of John Wesley) scrambled up from the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers to the Canyon’s rim, some 3400 vertical feet above.

While it is likely native peoples used this route to access the river before Walter Powell, his is the first recorded passage, and thus the way is known as the Walter Powell Route.

I have to say, after seeing the Grand Canyon, I think I need to get back to my home state of Arizona a little more often. This was truly a memorable hike: savage, challenging, and more spectacular than I can possibly describe.

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July 29, 2006

Hiking San Jacinto Peak

Hiking San Jacinto Peak

Of the view atop Southern California’s San Jacinto Peak, elevation 10,804′, John Muir reportedly said, ‘it is the most sublime spectacle to behold upon this Earth.’

Having driven by Palm Springs and the San Jacinto Mountains many times myself, I’ve often wondered if the heat got to Muir that day. Last weekend, I got the chance to find out: my brother and I climbed Mt. San Jacinto.

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