Only Fools rushed in to do a challenge such as the Fool’s 11-Peak Traverse on May 13, 2017, hosted by TRVRS Apparel led by Aar Jay Soria to benefit trash free earth with sponsors from Lagunitas Brewing Co., Arrow Lodge Brewing, Trader Joe’s Monrovia, REI Arcadia, and Patagonia Pasadena.
Originally, the four of us, Gerardo Perez, Meredith Crane, Dolores Grant, and myself were to do this challenge as a group. We met up at IHOP in La Verne, CA on Friday at 10:30 pm and have our late dinner. Gerardo was not feeling well. Even though he was having a tough time physically, he was kind enough to still manage to drive us to the Icehouse Canyon parking lot where I left my car and to the Mount Baldy village church where the Bear Canyon Trailhead is at.
Prior to this hike, I had carried all along an inner right knee pain for the past three weekends now. I went biking, I hiked, and ran 2 races with it. The pain never really went away, but the pain was not unbearable anymore and that is why I know that it was healing slowly.
For the trek, we had enough food and water, brought our trekking poles for steep ascent and descent, and our first-aid kits for blisters and pain. We later said our goodbyes to Gerardo as we started our ascent on Bear Canyon Trail at 12:17 am. It was only Dolores who knew the trail that she led us up all the way to Mount San Antonio (Baldy) which is 6.1 miles away. The weather was perfect in the beginning, cold yet bearable.
As we stormed up the mountain, it became windy and cold, and that is when I started to feel the altitude sickness. I did not feel dizzy, but from time to time, I started vomiting constantly with nothing coming out of my mouth. It was almost the same feeling I had at Mount Whitney. I slowed down my pace, while Dolores and Meredith, my two Iron Ladies moved along. Hikers passed by us while we were almost near the two peaks. Also still visible are large patches of snow. Dolores and Meredith told me that after these two peaks, we should head down and call it off because of my sickness.
The one thing about Mount West Baldy is that we did not know where it was. As we reached Mount San Antonio and took our photos, we asked another hiker where Mount West Baldy and he pointed where it was. We quickly went down and up half a mile to reach the other peak. We looked for the canister and took out the paper and had pictures taken. Meredith realized that we did not do photos with the paper in the canister at Mount Baldy. So we head back there and completed the task. The wind was so strong and cold, but not as windy as Cucamonga Peak two weekends ago. We then decided to move on to the third peak, which is Mount Harwood. It is 8/10 of a mile away. After several times climbing Mount Baldy, I do not recall there was another peak there. It took us a while to find it until we saw some hikers climbing it. There were lots of little rocks reminiscent of the ones around the peak of Mount Whitney, but those have larger rocks. We took our photos with the markers and continued hiking down.
After the three peaks, I felt a lot better. So we decided to continue and hit the three Ts. We continued the hike by passing the Devil’s Backbone Trail. This is the place where a lot of injuries and fatalities happened during winter time. I took my jacket off because it was getting warmer. Before going down the Turkey Shoot, the girls had their bathroom break but was surprised when a group of runners was heading down fast. Okay, I was blamed for not giving them a heads up. A steep descent on Turkey Shoot to the Top of the Notch where we took a break and ate our lunch. Meredith brought a lot of bread. Since Meredith, a vegetarian, and Dolores, a vegan, started eating bread, they crave for it. After our quick lunch, we went back on the trail and head towards Thunder Mountain, the fourth peak, which was 1.4 miles away. We passed by a reservoir that creates snow during wintertime and a steep incline as our final push to the peak. Got our photos with the markers and met Dave, an ultra runner, who joined us on our quest, and who knows more of the trails. As we head out to our fifth peak which was 1.5 miles away, we saw Aar Jay and I think it was Jeremy Boggs for the first time. Aar Jay offered us beer, but we like it at the end of the challenge. A few steps below, we saw Carisa Garcia Hernandez and her two friends who were doing the Three Ts Traverse. I am so proud of her for doing big hikes which ultimately train her to be stronger and better.
Telegraph Peak brings back memories from last year when the 3H family was video recorded singing Happy Birthday to the Cruz’ sister back in Mexico. Once again, going up made me tired. I wonder if it was because of lack of sleep or the remnants of my earlier altitude sickness. Whatever it was, I had to move on. Along the Three Ts Trail, I saw one guy who was sort of lost, but I guided him back the right way. At the peak, we met a bunch of boy scouts with their masters. We took our photos and continued down to the next peak, Timber Mountain, which was 2.3 miles away down some switchbacks of the Three Ts Trail.
On the sixth and my final peak of the day, I was dead tired. My knee was also hurting. So I told my two Iron Ladies that this was my last peak. It was either I wait for them at Icehouse Saddle or at the parking lot below if they decide to continue, which they did.
Going down to Icehouse Saddle from Timber Mountain was 9/10 of a mile. It was a quick descent. So Dolores, Meredith, and Dave continued on going to Cucamonga Peak and Etiwanda Peak, while I rested a bit at the saddle and continued hiking on Icehouse Canyon Trail where the beer awaits. Along the trail, I was surprised to meet Nancy Rojas and Joe, who just did Cucamonga Peak. We then started the conversation about the challenge that was happening today.
Past 3 pm, I saw the TRVRS Apparel tent at the finish line where the crew offered me beer. It was so funny that Nancy saw Aar Jay was resting on a hammock as she took a picture of him. A little later, I met Juan Andrade after he completed his hike at Cucamonga Peak. We drank a couple of beers. We met some cool guys such as Wilmar Amaya and Gus Safar.
I later waited in my car for my Iron Ladies to come down. Thanks for the beers I drank, I probably got a couple of hours sleep when they got back after 7 pm. Dolores, Dave, and Meredith decided to end the hike after 8 peaks and not continue the last 3 peaks. It would be very dangerous coming down Falling Rock Canyon in the dark, which none of them had done it before. Safety always comes first. We had so much fun even after the sufferfest. And yes, we are Fools. 🙂 Aar Jay later mentioned that most who completed the 11 peaks are runners. Congrats to them and to all who had joined the event. I cannot wait to do this again and I will be ready next year for a rematch.
I would like to thank:
- Meredith for making aware and inviting me to this challenge.
- Dolores for being so patient of me throughout the hike.
- Aar Jay and TRVRS Apparel for a wonderful job on making it a successful event especially benefiting Trash Free Earth. Congrats!