Ascent of Mount Harvard on 2014-06-08

Climber: Trevor Kent

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, June 8, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Harvard
    Elevation:5441 ft / 1658 m

Ascent Trip Report

Beautiful hike but what I did for this trip is highly dangerous especially on a hot 90 degree day without shade like my situation was. Doing this hike as I did it is for experienced hikers and should be done with caution.

I stopped roughly every 15 minutes in the nearest shade to take breaks and get water much of that time is reflected here. I stopped my clock while eating at Mount Wilson and on most of the other summits.

2.8 miles, 1:15 time, Summated Jones Peak
3.84 miles, 1:43 time, Summated Hastings Peak
6.25 miles, 2:42 time, junction with Harvard Road
7.03 miles, 3:00 time, Summated Mount Wilson - plus 15 minutes on the summit of hiking around the observatory
8.93 miles, 3:27 time, Summated Mount Harvard
~11.90 miles, ~4:00 time, began assent of Yale. but stopped
~14 miles, ~5:20, junction with Jones Peak
~16.8 miles, ~6:30, TH at Baileys Canyon

I set out on this trip to knock out 3 Sierra Club Lower Section Peaks and 1 Sierra Club Hundred Peaks, plus one additional peak at 5 total. I only summated 4. May this be a reminder to check weather (more importantly temperature), bring extra water and hydrate before hiking. On this trip I broke all 3 of those. If you look at some of my other trip reports a 17 mile day should have been a cake walk. But severally under estimating the temperature and giving away water to a family in need put me in a bad situation of serious dehydration.

Starting at the Bailey Canyon Park (451 W Carter Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024) I made my way up through a series of switch backs to to Jones Peak. About half way up most of the shade was gone and would remain this way for much of the remainder of the trip. When your out of the shade there is one junction at the top. to the right is the un-marked Jones Peak. Its only 2-3 minutes from this junction.

After Jones Peak I headed straight across the ridge to Hastings Peak. Most of this is wide open direct sunlight hiking with very few, and small shade spots. I recommend taking every opportunity to stop in the shade and rehydrate because you wont know when the next stop will be. Hastings Peak has a geological maker and a pole that reads "keep fighting" to mark the summit.

Continue along the ridge till you get to a very steep section of the trail and you'll see a metal rope, use this to climb up. Be careful where you grab the rope as it has medal sticking out at random parts and it can be hot like it was on my decent. Once you get to the top of this section you'll meet the Mount Wilson Toll Road Trail. There is a rock cairn to mark this location. Keep an eye out for mountain bikers on this trail. I went right figuring I'd hit Mount Yale from the north but missed the trail. Its a very rugged easy to miss trail and I missed it on the way up, Continue on this trail till you pass a trail coming in from the east and then pass some radio towers on your right and an (open) gated trail. This is the Mount Harvard trail. Stay right and go up the path. There is a lot of shade in there. Eventually you'll come to the Mount Wilson Observatory Parking Lot. The summit is just past the pavilion.

At the pavilion on the summit of Mount Wilson, I took a long much needed break. I ordered the hikers special which was a PB&J, cookie and piece of fruit for $5.45. I refilled my water bottles, walked around the observatory for about 15 minutes.

I was thinking of skipping Mount Harvard but knew I would regret it so I let my pack mid way up the road, summated, took a few quick pictures and left. There are a lot of radio towers and I didn't want to leave my pack for to long.

After getting back on the trail to the Mount Wilson Toll Road Trail I looked for the trail to the summit of Mount Yale from the north. I think I did spot it but it was so poorly maintained, I just wrote it off as a erosion or a random heard path. At this point all the shade was gone and I ran into a family with a young kid who were very poorly prepared. Sneakers, out of water, the Mom had her purse. I gave them half my water and continued on. The heat and rationing of water was starting to really take a toll. I went pasted the cairn and the trail back to Baileys Canyon to look for the trail up Mount Yale.

At a sharp turn in the trail, there is a very rugged, unmaintained trail that included rock scrambling that goes over two bumps to the summit of Mount Yale. At the start of this trail there is a big circular structure like a thread wheel. I got to the second bump, roughly half way from the junction to the summit when I quit. I was experiencing a lot of the signs of dehydration. Dizzy, headache, stomach pain, tightening of muscles/muscle cramps. My piss was bright yellow and I knew I had to turn around.

I got back to the Mount Wilson Toll Road Trail and evaluated my situation, water, food, location, remaining distance to travel, current health condition and availability of help. I was about half way to the trail head with my car which would be mostly descending in elevation and half way back to Mount Wilson which was all up in elevation. I had seen no one between Jones and the Mount Wilson trail and thought. I sat in the shade at the base of a tree on a hill of fire aunt which bit me all over and was painful. Doing the math, I thought I had 6 miles to go to Bailey Canon but I really had 4 and change. A whole mile that would have changed everything had I of known. Using my better judgement, for the first time in my life I called 911 to be safe and had them meet me on the trail. Once I found out they were heading up the trail, I descended an hour later. The rest made me feel much better.

I had gotten half way down Jones Peak, about a mile and a half down hill and had 100ml of water left when I ran into the forest rangers. At this point I was point I was feeling much better and knew I could have finished on my own. But the ice packs and salt water were well welcomed. After testing my blood pressure and dumping water on me, we began to descend at a very good pace. We ran into a rattle snake that took some maneuvering to get around and made it back to the car safely. I can't thank those men enough for the moral and psychological support that they gave me just knowing that they were on the trail.

Blainville's (Coast) Horned Lizard - Phrynosoma (Anota) coronatum
Coast Range Fence Lizard - Sceloporus occidentalis bocourtii
Western Fence Lizards
Southern Pacific Rattlesnake - Crotalus oreganus helleri
Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna)
Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
Indigo Bunting
Western Bluebird ??
some sort of Hawk

18/50 new mountains for 2014.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
dry 80s-90s
Ascent Statistics
    Distance:1.9 mi / 3.1 km
    Route:Mount Harvard Road
    Start Trailhead:Mount Wilson  
    Time:0 Days 0 Hours 27 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    End Trailhead:Mount Harvard  
Ascent Part of Trip: 6/8/14 (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Jones Peak2014-06-08 
2Hastings Peak2014-06-08 
3Mount Wilson2014-06-08 
4Mount Harvard2014-06-08 
5(Attempt) Mount Yale2014-06-08 
6Hastings Peak2014-06-08 

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