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Condor Peak, Fox Mountain #2

24 February 1996

By: Alan Coles

Leaders: Alan Coles, Frank Goodykoontz

There is one sure way to curtail a dry winter. All I need to do is to schedule one good long hike and the biggest deluge of the season will always precede it. I don't usually mind the saturated conditions because it brings character to our hike and characters always come on our hikes.

Despite a number of phone calls the previous night, only 4 people showed up at 7 in the morning along Big Tujunga Road near Vogel Flats; the two leaders, Mike Fredette and Asher Waxman. We left 2 cars there and drove over to Trail Canyon Trailhead to start our loop trip. The water level was high but crossable as we began shortly before 8. Frank dunked his foot on the first crossing but this was the only minor casualty of the day. Everything went smoothly up the canyon past the scenic waterfalls. Mike and I stopped to fix the trail just before Tom Lucas Trailcamp where the stream had diverted onto the trail and destroyed the tread (probably due to bicycles breaking water bars).

The camp, set in a nice meadow next to a spring, was an inviting place that tempted one to linger in the warm, clear sun. We took a break before beginning the long climb up to the saddle and over to the top of Condor Peak. A cool breeze accompanied by low clouds prompted us to put on warmer clothes as we watch the approach of a cold front.

We descended the peak and walked the roller coaster ridge over to Fox, our muscles complaining on the last steep ascent. After a break on the leeward side, we descended the east ridge and pushed our way through brush back to the trail. My memory of this route was a little fuzzy and I should stayed a little more to the west where the brush was much thinner. Never mind, a little more character and ticks.

Our feet went on overdrive as we descended along the cliff-hanging Condor Peak Trail. A relic of a bygone era, this trail seems to have been chiseled out of the south face of the mountain. The increasing clouds blocked the sun on most of this usually shadeless route. We reached the cars just before 5.

That night a cold storm arrived and blanketedd the mountains with snow down to 2000'. It felt good. Thanks to Frank and our participants who made it a good day.

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