Mount Islip & Kratka Ridge

Early morning on Mount Islip. Santiago Peak in the background

8 AUGUST 2020 W6/CT-010 & W6/CT-012

Another predawn drive, this time I was headed through the city and on up into the San Gabriel Mountains. I’d first been up Mt. Islip on February 6, 1982 with my childhood friend, Jon Bucci. I made a second trip with my brother Mark on January 16, 1999.

The hike is a short one, 1.25 miles with a 1000′ of elevation gain. I figured at age 64, I’d ease back into peak bagging on a regular basis. The roadhead is unmarked at 41.6 miles up the Angeles Crest Highway from the 210. It follows a well established use trail up a gully and joins several trails at Windy Gap.

The hike up was pleasant and cool in the clean, pine-scented air. On top there is the remains of a fire lookout tower and a stone cabin that has been burned out. Someone was camped in the stone cabin and sleeping, so I moved off to the south side and quietly made 9 contacts – 6 on 2m FM and 3 on 70cm FM – including 2 summit-to-summit contacts. One was with the Mountain Goat himself, NA6MG Dan over on nearby Mt. Lewis and the other was with N6AN David out on Black Butte in the Antelope Valley.

Mt. Islip is named after George Islip who settled in the Angeles Forest in 1880.

Check out the Hundred Peaks Section guide to Mt. Islip.

I left the summit and encountered a lot of people on the trip down. Mt. Islip is a very popular hike in the San Gabriel Mountains.

From the roadhead I backtracked down Highway 2 looking for the roadhead for Kratka Ridge. Even though I had been up to this mountain before on July 30, 1995 I had trouble locating the parking spot. Part of the problem is that the Vista Picnic Area is no longer marked or maintained. After a few false starts I found the old logging road that leads to the top of one of the defunct ski lifts of the old Snowcrest ski area. The hike is very short and easy – .75 miles and 700′ of elevation gain. Although the Vista Picnic Area is unmarked, two boarded-up outhouses are visible south from Highway 2 and the route joins a saddle in the ridge only about 200 yards from your car. This is the key to finding the roadhead.

The route goes right by the main ski lift and it is pretty derelict. The summit is pleasant with tall pine trees and an expansive view of the Los Angeles basin. I made 18 contacts including 3 summit-to-summit contacts. I got Dan again on Mt. Lewis and David had moved over to Lovejoy Butte out there in the Antelope Valley. Lastly I heard from N3XUL way down in San Diego County on Iron Mountain (W6/SC-214) 109 miles away!

Here’s the Hundred Peaks Section guide to Kratka Ridge.

Santaigo Peak and Palomar Mountain in the background

I was back home in Topanga about 1pm after my most successful SOTA outing yet!

Published by wringmaster

I'm a graphic artist in the movie business. When I was a kid I got interested in astronomy. When it would get too cloudy to observe the heavens, my buddy and I would sit at the VFO of his Hallicrafters S 38c like safe crackers trying to coax faraway signals out of that humble radio. My love of astronomy and radio survive to this day fifty+ years later.

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