Ascent of Glendora Mountain on 2014-12-28

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Aidan Barlow
Elijah Partida
Date:Sunday, December 28, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Glendora Mountain
    Elevation:3322 ft / 1012 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our fun day out and about on Vetter Mtn, Aidan was game for another short hike. The temperatures were dropping in the LA region, so some of the lower peaks would finally be in season to climb without breaking much of a sweat. Additionally, Aidan's little brother, Elijah, was interested in joining us for the hike. Since he is in first grade, I would have to pick an easier peak than I would pick for just Aidan and me. Glendora Mtn fit the bill, especially since it is one of the closest peaks to La Puente and there is a frisbee golf course in Azusa that Aidan and I wanted to check out. We both used to play frisbee golf a lot when we lived in PA, but have played it far less since moving back west. We played a lot recently and Aidan is back into it.

Anyway, another interesting aspect of this story happened a full week earlier on Dec 21st. On that day, I had taken Aidan and his brothers to Mt Baldy ski area to play in the snow (like half of LA also decided to do that day...). On the way home, we elected to take Glendora Ridge Rd as it was open, which is apparently hit or miss around here. We stopped at various pull outs where I bored the boys with my knowledge of the peak names of the mountains surrounding them. At one of the pull outs just below Glendora Mtn (the one at the big turn directly WNW of the summit), we stopped to stretch our legs, take pictures, etc. As we were looking to the south at the next large pull out, we noticed a police car pull up with lights flashing. it was shortly followed by an ambulance from Glendora. Along our stretch of road a forest service fire truck passed by about 5 minutes later. Wanting to avoid backtracking to the east fork, we headed for the action so that we could get to Glendora (and then La Puente) before the police decided to close the road. A police car passed us with lights on on this short stretch. We did stop briefly just past the accident (don't judge me, you know that you would too), to see what had happened. Apparently a car had driven off the side of the road and found itself about 200 ft down a ravine. We could not even see the wreckage. Pretty tragic, though a later google search confirmed that a lot of people illegally race up here and this is an all too common occurrence, generally with a teenager behind the wheel of one of those souped up Fast & Furious cars. Another note is that this accident on Dec 21st did not make any news outlet that I could conjure up on google.

So, a week later, we happened to pick this very peak to hike as I felt that it was within Elijah's abilities. We stopped at a large pull out just south of the accident scene, within view of the previous week's tragedy. We happened to see a CHP car sitting at the pull out where the accident had been (next one to the north). My initial thought is that this cop was here to deter racing around this deadly corner. The initial walk into the trees is quite pleasant with all of the green grass in bloom. Once you hit the fire break, the distant scenery is nice, but the fire break is rather dull. It is certainly better than bushwhacking through chaparral, which is what would be here without the firebreak. We took frequent breaks for Elijah, but still made pretty good time up. As we hit a nice flat area around 2840 ft, I noticed that a tow truck had joined the cop. I had seen signs about vehicle impounding, so I again assumed that this was part of an enforcement scheme. Then a fire truck and second military-style crane joined the cop. I then realized that this would be an extraction for a vehicle over the side. I was amazed that another vehicle had gone over the side in the exact same spot less than a week later. Aidan speculated that it may be the car from the 21st. I guess we would find out later. I figured that it would take a while to lower a crew to the car, attach it to the crane, and pull it out. All 3 of us certainly wanted to see the action. I especially wanted Aidan to see what reckless driving can do to you as he is approaching those dangerous teen years... We continued on to the summit with the plan to take a lunch break below at the spot where we could observe the action around 2840 ft. The summit has a small cairn and we dutifully took our summit photos with a short break.

The descent was uneventful, except for the steeper parts where I held Elijah's hand so he would not slip. We made it back to the lunch spot at 2840 ft just as the car was emerging from the ravine with the assistance of the crane. Perfect timing. We caught all the action. They brought the flatbed tow truck over and dropped it on there. I figured that if our luck held, we would reach our trailhead as they drove past so we could see. We did not hurry, just took it easy and ate lunch while watching below. After we were finished with our turkey left over sandwiches, we continued down the firebreak. As we came over the lip of a steeper point right near the car, we bumped into a couple hiking up it. We were all pretty shocked to see each other. I encouraged them to go for the summit and bag the peak! On the descent, we found the nicer use trail through the woods pas the "Glen Saddle" in-ground fire water tank and out to the road. During the hike down, all of the vehicles associated with the recovery had departed. Oh well.

We headed to the pull out near the accident as we wanted to see it up close. There was spray paint on the ground confirming that CHP and San Dimas Mtn Rescue Team were there for an incident on Dec 21st. So, the car we saw pulled out was the same car that crashed the last day we were up here a week ago. I was a bit surprised that it took a week to pull it out. Additionally, as we were parked in the pull out, I spotted the couple from earlier. The woman was on the summit taking in the view and the man was a bit below her still struggling up the firebreak.

Overall, Glendora Mtn is a nice short hike (very short), but would pair well as a nice long extension on an Azusa Peak hike from the 'burbs or pair well with Sunset Pk on the HPS list at the other end of Glendora Ridge Rd. It was also quite fascinating to be witness to both the initial accident and vehicle recovery a week later. Probably a pretty freak occurrence of timing to see both things. Also, watch out on this road! On our ride down a number of motorcycles were racing down and if they spill and go over the edge, there is zero hope of survival. There is also a lot of bicycle traffic. This would make an awesome road bike ride except for the fact that you would take your life into your hands with the road racing drivers. Maybe the forest service would do something cool like lock the gate 1 day per week so only bicycles cold use the road in safety....

After the very pleasant hike, we went to the park in Azusa with the frisbee golf course. It is not as good as the Oak Glen course, but was still a great time (and easier than the Elysian Park course).

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:762 ft / 232 m
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:762 ft / 232 m
    Route:South Ridge
    Start Trailhead:2560 ft / 780 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
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