Telegraph Peak: North Face

The Problem with Telegraph Peak is that it's way too easy to access. The typical San Gabriel Mountain approach serves as a fine gatekeeper to most of the range's technical adventures, but not so with Telegraph.

This little shark tooth of a peak sits just beyond the rope of a popular (if quirky) Southern California ski area, and when there's snow on it you can practically hear the siren song calling.

Among the considerable hazards Telegraph offers, rockfall is one of the more prominent. The north face is a shooting gallery of rocks of all sizes. Even here, only a few days after fresh snow, the apron beneath the north chutes is already coated in rocks and shards.

Telegraph Peak is also very steep, likely in the 45° range, and like many aspects in the San Gabriels, the snow can be exceedingly icy. A fall would be consequential.

Avalanches of all types are a threat here as well—in fact, the gully below the north face is a classic terrain trap threatened by virtually 360 degrees of slope aspects—and if you know where to look for it, you will often see a crown fracture line on the NW face created by venturi-effect cross-loading.

Just to mention one more potential hazard (this list is by no means exhaustive), when you ski Telegraph Peak you must climb back up to return to the safety of the ski area, and this climb is sure to test your resolve (as well as your preparedness).

For more on that subject (and the cruel, cruel topography), see my trip report into the neighboring Stockton Flats area.

— February 1, 2010

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Chad February 1, 2010 at 9:26 am

Amazing how much snow there is. Good work.

Dan Conger February 5, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Looks like the snow was pretty decent windblown pow. The San Gabriels have great natural terrain. Too bad it doesn't snow like this every winter down there. Baldy should run a lift up that mountain.

Ski Christine February 23, 2010 at 3:12 am

I love the video! I definitely should follow your blog more.

Tim Flynn March 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Good stuff, maybe I will buy another splitboard and stop complaining that I miss the Mammoth backcountry since I moved to HelLA! How long was the skin out of the canyon? Nice work you guys.