Ascent of Mount Disappointment on 2014-03-16

Climber: Joseph Esparza

Date:Sunday, March 16, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Disappointment
    Elevation:5960 ft / 1816 m

Ascent Trip Report

Despite being only the second highest mountain in the Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains by one foot the trek to San Gabriel Peak is no less worthy than its counterpart, Strawberry Peak. Along with its neighbors, Monrovia, Wilson, Markham, Lowe, and Disappointment, San Gabriel Peak crowns the front range of the San Gabriels. Its impressive 1000' sheer granite southern face can be seen from as far as the Santa Monica Bay, and its pyramidal stature gives its a certain prominence when viewed from the cities below. Its next-door neighbor, Mt. Disappointment is, well, a bit of a disappointment, but if you in the area why not bag another peak, only requiring 200' of extra gain? In front of those two summits stands Mount Lowe, or as its was known in the early days, Oak Mountain. Mt. Lowe, although the smallest of the three, offers the finest views, as its rises the closest out from the towns below. All three are quintessential Southern California peaks. Because most of this hike travels through vegetation charred in the 2009 Station Fire, almost no shade is offered despite being near 6000'. Ergo, it is a trek best left to the cooler months.


Category: Moderate
Miles: 6
Elevation Gain: 1,600'
Location: Angeles National Forest
Directions: Eaton Saddle

The Trail: From the Eaton Saddle Trailhead, head west along the precipitous cliffs of Eaton Canyon and San Gabriel Peak, and through the Markham Tunnel, which was built in 1942. After exiting it, you continue a couple hundred yards to the Markham Saddle about 0.5 miles from the trailhead. Once at the saddle, take the unmaintained (but not hard to follow) trail north as its makes its way around the chaparral and burned vegetation from the 2009 Station Fire. Curve around some steep and rocky cliffs above Bear Canyon, and watch your footing on the loose soil. After about a mile from Markham Saddle, you reach the Disappointment-San Gabriel Saddle at 5750'. Take the trail o the right as it makes its final ascent up to the cylindrical-shaped summit of the namesake of the San Gabriel Mountains, San Gabriel Peak. Enjoy the view from the top of the entire range an beyond, unobstructed by trees and bushes as most of them burned in the Station Fire. After savoring in the sights, go down the trail you came back to the Disappointment-San Gabriel Saddle, and head west past a heliport up a mostly paved road to the 5,993' summit of Mount Disappointment, which served as an anti-aircraft base during the Korean War, and now as a telecommunications center. Return down the steep San Gabriel Peak Trail back to the Markham Saddle, and take the upper trail, following the signs to the slopes of Mount Lowe. It is named for the eccentric Professor Thaddeus Lowe, an inventor and the instigator of the famed Mount Lowe Railway, perched on his namesake mountain's lower slopes. Take in the views on the mountains eastern-face towards Mount Wilson and Mount Harvard, both marked with radio devices. Curve around to the north side of Mt Lowe and take the small summit trail to the top, on which is a bench, flagpole, and lookout contraptions. Savor in the views of the Front Country and sea, and return down the trail back to the Eaton Saddle after this enjoyable day in God's country.
Saints Peter, James and John, Apostles of Christ, Pray For Us!

Hiked 3-16-14. Los Angeles County, Adventure Pass Required.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:200 ft / 60 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:0.5 mi / 0.8 km
    Route:San Gabriel Peak Trail to Mt. Disappointment Road
    Start Trailhead:San Gabriel-Markham Saddle (5750')  5760 ft / 1755 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Mount Dissapointment

Complete Trip Sequence:
1San Gabriel Peak2014-03-161000 ft / 305 m
2Mount Disappointment2014-03-16200 ft / 61 m
3Mount Lowe2014-03-16400 ft / 122 m
Total Trip Gain: 1600 ft / 488 m    Total Trip Loss: 500 ft / 152 m

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