Mount Islip

Oh, Caltrans! I am always a bit skeptical as to whether or not the road reports are accurate, but in this case, Caltrans had specifically changed the report to indicate Highway 2 was open past Islip Saddle.

That led Al and I to drive up for a Throop Peak attempt. Alas, when we cleared the tunnels we found the gate at Islip Saddle locked, because of course it was. It was too late to head elsewhere, so we hiked up the road a bit and found a snowy gully leading up Mount Islip.

Mount Islip is a peak that deserves further exploration (ideally with more snow). This is a classic San Gabriels peak, so you can expect lots of steep and rugged terrain. Notable also is how skinny the range is here: you're on a big fin-like ridge with the high desert to the north and the L.A. Basin to your south.

We encountered a large group of hikers at the summit who'd come from Crystal Lake, to the south. That looks like a fine hike in its own right, and possibly one you could ski, at least in part, earlier in a good winter.

As for the skiing, we found open-ish glade skiing with good snow all the way down to the road, which was of course closed. We flagged down one of the speeding pebble-plowers, who said maybe the gate would open by Friday.

Otherwise, Waterman looking very thin, Kratka Ridge looked interesting, and Throop Peak looked excellent if you've got a bicycle to get there. Things are starting to melt out.

— April 14, 2019

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Matt D April 16, 2019 at 5:17 am

Oh Caltrans... I saw the 2 shown as open and just couldn’t bring myself to believe it.

What about hitting Throop from Vincent Gulch Divide? It’s a pretty easy hike to the top of BP and then a traverse over to Throop. Long slog on the 2 back to the car but all downhill.

I skied down to 8300’ on the south side of W Baldy on Saturday. The north face still looked completely loaded... and completely frozen.

Patrick McQuinn April 18, 2019 at 3:19 am

Was Kratka ridge still ridable? My friend rode it a couple of times mid winter with some fun turns. Love the site btw, really makes me want to get into backcountry. Any tips for getting started (avalanche course?)?

Matt M April 22, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Anyone get a chance to see if the highway was open past Islip this past weekend?

Andy April 30, 2019 at 2:27 am

Sorry for the late reply--things are pretty burnt along the 2 now. San G is my recommendation.