Monday, February 18, 2013

San Gabriel Peak 4-bagger

Hiked: 2/17/2013
Distance: 7 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 6161' (San Gabriel Peak), 5960' (Mt. Disappointment), 5728' (Mt. Markham), 5603' (Mt. Lowe)
Prominence: 1561' (San Gabriel Peak), all others under 500'
Elevation Gain: 2130' (combined)
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.70
Round trip time: 4 hours
Recommended water: 64 oz.
Parking/Fees: Adventure Pass
Difficulty: Moderate

This trip started from Eaton saddle on the Redbox-Mt. Wilson Road. To get there, take Highway 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) north from the I-5. Stay on the 2 north about 10 miles past Lacanada-Flintridge to Redbox, then take the Redbox-Mt. Wilson Road for about 2 miles to Eaton saddle. There is ample parking on both sides of the road.

San Gabriel Peak is the second highest point in the front range of the San Gabriels and is surrounded by a cluster of other peaks, making it easy to bag 4 peaks in one trip. From Eaton saddle, start down the gated dirt road and through the Mueller tunnel. About half a mile from the start, you will find a cement water tank. The trail to San Gabriel Peak is to the right of the water tank and easy to find. It climbs to a saddle between San Gabriel Peak and Mt. Disappointment. Take the right fork for San Gabriel Peak, left for Mt. Disappointment. There was a little snow and ice on the north side of the trail to San Gabriel Peak but it was not much of a problem. Return to the water tank for the other two.

At the water tank, head left and up the East Mt. Lowe trail that climbs slowly away from the road. After about a mile, you reach the saddle between Mt. Markham and Mt. Lowe. Make a sharp left on the use trail and head for Mt. Markham. I looked for a short cut up Markham, but it appears to be very steep, loose rock on all sides except the ridge that starts from the saddle. This was a fun climb on a narrow ridge that included a few class 2 spots. There are couple of large cairns at the summit. Descend the ridge to the saddle and follow the Mt. Lowe trail for another half mile before turning right at the signed trail to the summit.

Each peak offers similar views of the area, downtown LA, and even Catalina depending on the haze. There are benches on the summits of San Gabriel Peak and Mt. Lowe. The only summit log found was on Mt. Lowe. This particular day, there were two large organized hiking groups (20+) on the mountains. One heading for San Gabriel Peak, the other on Mt. Lowe. These mountains appear to be very popular on the weekends.

Mueller tunnel near the start of the hike

Mt. Markham near the start of the hike

On the summit of Mt. Disappointment

San Gabriel Peak (left) and Mt. Markham (right) from Mt. Lowe summit

San Gabriel Peak benchmark

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