Smith Mountain, Burro Peak
By: Jack Trager
Leaders: Gordon Lindberg, Jack Trager
This was an opportunity to climb one peak from the 100 pks list and one from the Lower Peaks list. Since there was not much else in the way of one day hikes listed for that Saturday, we had a fine turnout of 22 including a goodly number of list finishers.
Meeting at the Azusa carpool point at 8am, we carpooled as much as possible before stopping for the three dollar per car permits at the mouth of San Gabriel Canyon.' These are now mandated for weekend parking in the San Gabriel Canyon and the requirement is explained as a revenue raiser to provide toilet facilities and other improvements along highway 39. Hopefully, the idea will not spread to the other roads in the Angeles!
It was a fine day for hiking and we enjoyed a pleasant climb up Smith with Gordon leading, lunch on top, and my lead down to the saddle where Gordon took over again for the return to the cars by 1:30.
Seven opted to return home for an early day at this point while 15 drove down the road 3.4 miles to the take-off point for Burro. Since I had climbed it twice before and was in listing it, I was elected to lead the peak.
It is a short climb but steep and with some brush and lots of loose dirt. After an easy crossing of the river on rocks, we scrambled up the steep 30 foot bank on the other side partly with the aid of a wire cable. At this point we should have followed an old road which I had brushed out around to the right for a more gradual climb up the south ridge but Rosina Mueller started up a steep chute which looked reasonable and I followed. At this point five decided this wasn't what they were looking for and departed for their cars.
The steepness and rock outcroppings made the direct approach unappetizing and we worked around to the south ridge and up to the summit with frequent rest stops by the leader who found himself in need of conditioning. Finally one hundred yards from the top I said "go for it" and waited while I caught my breath before continuing. Eight of us reached the summit while two more went most of the way but returned down when they met us descending. Four departed the top earlier and pioneered a new route down an east ridge but got involved in considerable brush while the remaining four descended by the up route and joined forces at the bottom. We got back to the cars at about 4 pm from the short mile and a half round trip climb.
Personally, I was beat and when I got home and my wife looked at my clothes she said "What did you do, climb all the way up on your belly?" Several of those who made the hike wanted to know if this was a typical Lower Peak and where could they get a list when assured that it represented only some of them.
It was great to greet many old hiking companions as well as a number of newcomers.
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