I met my friend Victor at the top of Lake at 8am. Conditions were cool, mid 40’s or so, but I was dressed appropriately. We went up to Echo Mountain, saw a few little mudslides and rockslides on the way up, but nothing terrible. From there we went across Sunset Ridge to the Lowe fire road where a cool ranger greeted us. He told us that we can’t go past Cape of Good Hope on the fire road. Like good, law abiding citizens, we obeyed. We turned around and went back towards Echo and took the upper Sam Merrill up to Inspiration Point. It’s awesome to see all of the regrowth from the Station Fire! It really looks better and better each time I’m up there. We arrived at Inspiration Point, which had about about 10 or 12 people there. Still no snow. Victor did some geocache-ing up there, then we ascended the Mt Lowe East trail. When we started traveling upon the north side of Lowe, the trail was covered with at least 3-4″ of snow consistently and it was sketch in parts but not too bad. We saw a dude coming down Lowe in Vibram Five Fingers, too. What the heck?! Good for him, but not my jam. We summitted after about 6.5 hours or so and were treated to some incredible views of Baldy, Wilson, and the rest of the San Gabes. I was also surprised to see the Santa Barbara Mountains with a good amount of snow on em. Visibility was incredible – we could see Catalina, San Nicholas, San Clemente Island, and Santa Barbara Island. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that clear. We descended and were treated to an astounding sunset.
We kept a slower pace, about 2 mph, and found that we didn’t really need breaks…so we took two very short breaks at Inspiration and Lowe’s summit. Temps on the summit were in the low 40’s with little wind. I was plenty warm with my goretex asics shoes, smartwool socks, patagonia cap 1 bottoms under a pair of running pants, a lightweight REI baselayer, and my hat. I also brought a Marmot Zeus vest which I used when we were near the summit and on the way down. That definitely came in handy. I brought 3 liters of water and 12 oz of hammer heed electrolyte drink, along with a bit of trail mix and almonds. I probably could have brought a bit more heed but that proved to be a sufficient amount of everything. Total mileage ended up being about 15.6 miles.