Ken Jones Finishes The List!
Leaders: Carleton Shay, Patty Kline
Growing up in Southern California I was a Sierra Club member (from back in the days when you needed to be sponsored to join), a hiker, and a backpacker. But my targets were always lakes, not peaks.
Then one day I was leafing through the Angeles Chapter schedule and saw that I could send 10 cents and a SASE for a copy of the "HPS list." Even in those pre-inflationary days I could afford 10 cents, and I was curious. When the list arrived I reviewed it and said to myself, "Gee, a lot of those peaks are right around the Angeles Crest, where I hike anyway." So the following weekend (October 28, 1973), my brother and I had my dad drive us up (we weren't licensed) and drop us off at the base of the road up Josephine Peak. A few hours later we were back at the car, and I was hooked. The next weekend saw me with a high school friend on a two night backpack over Baden-Powell (we camped near the summit after a moonlight hike), Burnham, Throop, Hawkins, and Middle Hawkins. We were picked up at Crystal Lake by my mom. Less than two months after starting I reached number 25 on Buckhorn (now Akawie) Peak, and joined the HPS.
In the first year, I hiked with friends and family - not on Club trips. After some careful planning, I achieved emblem status on San Gorgonio on 10/26/74. Soon thereafter I went on my first HPS climb, and many more. I began to get to know some of the members. By January 24, 1976 I got my 200 peaks bar on Black Mountain #4. This was not as well planned as San Gorgonio for 100 - it was just where there was a scheduled trip when I got to 199.
I was also climbing SPS and DPS peaks by this point, and the HPS peaks were getting checked off pretty regularly. Then college intervened - I had 222 peaks when I left for Oregon State University in September 1976. From this point on it would be harder!
I picked up a few more peaks at Christmas and summer breaks, and hoped to ask John Backus to lead my list finisher. But then the summer jobs started staying in Oregon, and I didn't get any peaks after December 1978. I moved to Portland, then to Pennsylvania. Finally, I moved to Seattle in 1988. My wife was done with her medical training, and I could travel a bit more. In December 1988 I got going again. By this point, there were a number of peaks on the list which hadn't been there when I'd left off. I selected Winston Ridge to save for my finish, since it was convenient to L.A. where much of my family still lived.
Christmas trips home and business trips offered chances to get one or two peaks. By 1992, I realized there were going to have to be trips specifically to hook up with groups for peaks like the Big 3 and the Big 4. Finally, at the beginning of this year I had only eleven to go. A 3-day weekend for Hines, Topatopa, Hildreth, and Eagle Rest resulted in an atrocious case of poison oak. When I returned to L.A. a couple of weeks later for a business trip, I was only able to limp up and down Cross. Another trip, which was focused on the Sierra, gave a chance for Weldon. In August, I soloed Owens one day, did South and Antsell with HPSers the next, and then soloed Ken (with a 4:00 a.m. start) the third. (I don't recommend Ken Point in August!)
At last, I was ready to carry out the trip I'd asked Carleton Shay to schedule for me. After hiking with him in February on Hines and Topatopa, I'd asked him to lead Winston Ridge in October. I asked Patty Kline to assist. Two days short of 24 years after starting, and exactly 23 years after my emblem, I finished the list on a scheduled HPS trip, with much of my family along.
The HPS gave me a wonderful opportunity to see the ranges of Southern California. But it did far more than that. I've climbed with the SPS and DPS, the Mazamas of Portland, the Mountaineers of Seattle. I've climbed in Mexico. I've visited the highest point in each of the 50 states, and climbed all the major Cascade volcanoes from Shasta to Baker. I lead scrambles for the Mountaineers, and am on their Alpine Scrambling committee. The HPS list opened a door to climbing, which has become an important part of my life. It feels really good to finish the list which first got me started.
Now, about those DPS peaks... how many years will it take me from Seattle to get the last 58 I have remaining?