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Kratka Ridge

23 November 2002

By: Karen Isaacson Leverich

Pat Arredondo Finishes the List!

Angeles Forest was closed. San Bernardino Forest was closed. Big chunks of Cleveland Forest was closed. The HPS Management Committee briefly (very briefly) considered suspending most of the list -- it would mean we were once again a HUNDRED Peaks Section. Common sense, however, prevailed.

This meant that Pat Arredondo didn't finish the list the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd, when Mars Bonfire led several of us on a custom hike to Snowy, Black #2, Sewart, Cobblestone, and White. Though we did have it all figured out: if she hadn't needed Kratka (in the closed Angeles Forest), we'd've carefully skipped the summit of Sewart on our way to/from Snowy and Black, and skipped it again as we went out to Cobblestone and White, catching it instead on our return. Pat would have been the first (and last?) person in HPS history to finish the list on Sewart.

It's become traditional to assign credit for some of the lamer ideas that crop up on our hikes. We decided this beauty must be the brainstorm of George Wysup. Even if he wasn't there that day, it felt worthy of him. (Just kidding, George.)

But anyhow, the evening of November 3rd, since Kratka had not been suspended, Pat was just a near miss on the list finishing front, rather than a bona fide list finisher. And somehow the idea of smearing black shoe polish on her cheeks, putting on an all black outfit, and sneaking in and doing Kratka illegally at night didn't hold any appeal for her at all. She waited.

And the weather (not to mention the Forest Service) relented. Angeles Forest reopened! We could once again hike in our beloved San Gabriels.

The original plan had been for Pat to finish the list on one of the Easy Peaks hikes to Kratka Ridge. That hike was of course canceled due to the Forest closure. But once it reopened, we got a phone call from Pat's friend, Ping Pfeffer, wondering if we might be willing to do Kratka Ridge on the Easy Peaks hike scheduled for November 23rd. And could Pat, now an "O" rated leader (and on her way to "I" -- she'd just passed navigation the weekend before), lead the way?

Hey, no problem, though of course if she'd never been there, could we trust her to find it? Well, with her freshly minted nav credential and a map, how could she miss?

So it was that a large group of us gathered at La Canada the morning of November 23rd. Missing were Sandy and Keith Burnside and Byron Prinzmetal -- they wanted to do some other peak on the way, but would meet us on Kratka. Or maybe they weren't sure Pat could find her way and wanted to be sure they'd get the peak, who knows? Not that we were short of hikers. Besides Pat and Frank Arredondo, there were Mars Bonfire (in a rare appearance as a participant on a Sierra Club hike), Winnette Butler, Bill Byrne Kathy Cheever, Dorothy Danziger, Karen and Wolf Leverich Edith Liu, Ping Pfeffer, and Bill Ossa.

We caravanned carefully up to Vista Picnic Ground. Free tip: on a hike this summer (the Waterman Rendezvous, actually), one of the drivers very briefly crossed the double yellow line to give a bicyclist a bit more space. The result: a ticket, a fine, and the chance to take traffic school. So we were all super careful and super cautious whenever we overtook a cyclist.

At Vista, most of us got ready to hike. We left Ping (who's currently sidelined from hiking, but hopefully will be back leading us on lots of fun hikes soon) to guard the cars and the important celebratory goodies. The rest of us headed up the hill towards Kratka Ridge.

The first time I did this peak was in August of 2001, after getting home at 3AM from a long ascent of Dragons Head, then a 7AM wake up call from Byron. So I remember it as being a huge, tremendously challenging peak that I barely struggled up.

Good news! Honey, they shrunk the peak! It's still a hike, but nowhere near as daunting as my memory. Pat handily negotiated the use trail, road, use trail, road, and use trail that leads to the summit. She then scrambled up the very challenging summit block, and thus finished the list a day ahead of Winnette. (Not that the two of them were racing, they just both had been stalled by the various Forest closures.)

At the summit, we found Byron and the Burnsides (sounds like some kind of musical group, huh?). Even without Pat to lead them there, they'd successfully found the peak. We of course then milled around for awhile, but eventually the thought of Ping and all that found waiting for us got us back in gear. What happened next? We ate, drank, and were merry. And figured out where we were going to hike next.

Oh, and what next for Pat? Rumor has it, she'll be leading her "I" provisional sometime in April in Joshua Tree. Watch for it in Schedule 292. Before you know it, methinks she'll be leading the list. Congratulations, Pat!

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