Josephine Peak, Strawberry Peak, Mount Lawler, Barley Flats
By: Joe Young
Leaders: Stag Brown, Joe Young
Four peaks for the price of five!
Six early bird hikers met for breakfast at Lloyds of La Cañada at 6:00am, and these were joined by five more at 7:00 for the drive to Clear Creek Ranger Station at the intersection of the Angeles Crest Highway and the Angeles Forest Highway. There was a short wait as Bobcat Thompson and Jim (Shamus) Fleming shuttled their vehicles to Red Box, where we would be ending the hike. The weather this day was not the best as temperatures were cool and skies were generally overcast with lowering ceilings and a light breeze. However, at no time did it rain on us.
We started hiking shortly before 8:00am with Stag leading a mostly cross country route generally up the south face of Josephine, occasionally intersecting the road, then ascending by the southeast ridge leading to the summit. This "Stag route" was followed to attain Josephine by a pathfinder non traditional route. (The pathfinder concept was practically made for Stag routes.) We arrived at the summit shortly before 10am, and after signing in left for Strawberry which we climbed from the west via the rock scramble ridge. We arrived at the summit of the Big Berry at 11:45am and lunched for about a half hour. We enjoyed the oranges and cashew nuts shared by Stag and Nami.
Stag led us down to the Strawberry/Lawlor saddle, where we arrived at approximately 1:00pm. I then led a swift ascent of Lawlor via the west ridge arriving at 1:20. This was a fast group as the first arrived at the summit in 18 minutes (2300' per hour ascent rate) and the last in 25 minutes (1700' per hour ascent rate). After a brief stay on the summit, I led the group down the east ridge to Barley Flats, arriving at about 2:20pm. The clouds had descended on us to such an extent that we could not see the water reservoir near the high point of Barley until we were within a hundred yards of it. At 2:40 we began the pathfinder ascent up the east ridge to the summit of Lawlor, the first arriving at about 3:20pm. Three people had checked out at Barley Flats and took the unmaintained and reportedly badly deteriorated dirt road back to Red Box. After a short stay on Lawlor we followed Stag down the south face of Lawlor, looking for the Bridget 0' Sullivan commemorative yucca as we approached Red Box (Bridget had injured her hand here a couple of months earlier). We arrived at Red Box at approximately 4:30pm. We estimated our day had entailed 40001 of gain and fifteen miles.
After the short shuttle back to Clear Creek, we drove back to La Cañada and a number of us reconvened at Pepe's Mexican restaurant for some post hike revelry and warming up.
Thanks to Stag for his customary creative leadership.
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