After our first failed attempt to bag San Gabriel, Markham, and Lowe (we climbed Deception and Disappointment instead), Matt and I returned the following weekend armed with long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and garden shears to make our best attempt to defeat the poodle and summit these bad boys.
San Gabriel and Lowe aren't tough hikes so it was easy enough to clear the overgrown poodle blocking the trail and get to the summits unpoisoned.
There isn't an official trailhead where we started, but it's a turnout just south of Angeles Crest Highway on Mt. Wilson Rd. The trail starts out with about a mile of relatively easy switchbacks, some good views on the way and no poodle to worry about.
|San Gabriel Peak|
|San Gabriel Mountains high country|
Once you meet up with the paved road, you're just a few feet from the saddle/missile launch pad/picnic area.
The road to Disappointment is lined with poodle-dog bush (on your right):
And the trail to San Gabriel, Lowe, and Markham is on the left (also lined with poodles):
Nothing really spectacular about San Gabriel Peak.
|Descending the newly de-poodled trail.|
Just before you get back to the saddle from San Gabriel Peak, turn left to start the Lowe/Markham trail. The trail to Mt. Lowe is falling apart in places and prone to rock slides, but it's still a fairly easy hike (and now relatively clear of poodle-dog bush) and the view is much more spectacular than San Gabriel Peak. On a clear day (in the Winter), you'd get a pretty amazing view of Los Angeles from Lowe.
|This is my town.|
|Occidental Peak and Mt. Wilson with Mt. Baldy in the background.|
From the Lowe/Markham saddle, Markham is a short class 2 (at least) scramble through lots of poodle-dog and very loose rocks. Our hands were busy keeping us alive on this climb so there was no way to clear any poodle, and no way to avoid walking through it. We were also warned of rattlesnake activity on Markham, but didn't see any this time.
|Not the hard part.|
If you're planning on doing Markham while the poodles are still at large, wear long pants and sleeves and try not to let it touch your skin. We had sticky poodle goop all over our clothes and they still smell like sage after two washes, but we haven't noticed any weird blisters from touching the clothes. I was able to get rid of the sticky black residue from the garden shears with some rubbing alcohol.
All pics by Matti.