Leader: Les Stockton
Asst.: Larry Salmon
It is inexcusable for a leader to fail to scout his climb, but a climb can be overscouted also. The Tuesday before this "beginner's climb" was scheduled, your leader found a roadblock at the mouth of the canyon, and a guard stated that no time estimate for opening the road could be given. So as an alternate, I quickly climbed nearby Glendora Mountain - a greater distance but the same elevation gain. Giving out this information to the people calling and changing the meeting place to the roadblock, imagine my amazement on early Saturday morning to find the road open to Crystal Lake, far beyond Smith Mtn. Our Angeles Forest has relatively precipitous slopes and the water from the greatest rainfall in 54 years had torn out many portions of the road but the highway department had bulldozed into the washes sufficiently to provide at least a one-way road to circumvent the irreparable breaks.
On the way in, it was apparent that reaching Monrovia Mtn. (our second peak) was impossible as the road was impassable just beyond the cable. But Smith Mtn. was climbable. Although the beginning of the trail was washed out, the 46 climbers, most of whom were tennis-shoed beginners, plugged up the trail at a comfortable pace. The high Class 1 washes were negotiated with trepidation by many and the full streams (which I had never seen before on this mountain) were welcomed on this warm day.
We "lost" some climbers on the way up -- one within 150 yards of the summit -- but 42 assembled on the summit to listen to your leader explaining and displaying the ten essentials. By the time he finished with everything in his pack, he was up to 25 essentials. Larry reminded the group that most of these essentials were not too essential if "common sense" was essential number one.
Half-way down, a rushing stream provided drinking water and foot baths in that order and we were back at the cars and the ice cold beverages by 2:30 p.m.
The youngest climber was 11 months old and made the climb in a backpack on the back of mother Susan.
Devastation pictures were taken on the way out and future slide presentations will represent what the forces of nature can do to change the surface of the earth.
Even those who didn't make it to the summit enjoyed the effort and the beautiful day!