The Other Williamson

SoCal mountain road access continues to evolve in an ever-more discouraging direction, so I've been scanning my Harrison maps to look for alternate access points.

That led me to discover there is (or was) a trail from the high desert to Islip Saddle, which immediately put me in a Williamson frame of mind—Angeles National Forest edition.

8214' Mount Williamson is absolutely one of the big peaks of the San Gabriels, and, like its famous neighbor to the north, is notable not only for its proximity to the desert, but also for its striking ridgelines and dramatic, brush-choked canyons.

So a Williamson climb-and-ski attempt seemed in order.

As with all things Williamson, this proved to be a challenging adventure, starting with a fast-water creek crossing which very nearly ended my day before it began.

This is a rough and rugged part of the range, and the South Fork trail has clearly seen better days. It seems largely unmaintained to me, and casual hikers will not like its exposure nor its frequently washed out sections.

In this video I've tried to give you a good sense of what it's actually like to do something like this: what it looks and feels like, but also what the process looks like (hint: a lot of trial and error and caution). I hope you enjoy the ride.

— March 2, 2024

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Bob Wieting June 8, 2024 at 7:22 pm

Fantastic, extraordinary accomplishment.
This Williamson has remained, for over 50 years now, one of my favorite peaks.