Santa Catalina Island Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Orizaba (2,125 ft)

Date: April 20, 2003

This trip proved to be a wonderful adventure that used Edward Earl's piloting skills in a way few other trips could have provided. Any other mode of transportation, including by boat, would have been far less practical.

Gail Hanna and Richard Carey were our guests. As peakbaggers from southern California with several laurels each, they were more than suitable companions for this nine mile hike to the top of Santa Catalina Island off of Los Angeles.

We foursome went aloft in a Cessna 172 just before 10 a.m. on Sunday the twentieth under beautiful, nearly cloudless skies. The outbound flight lasted just under an hour, and we landed at the Airport-in-the-Sky (1,602 ft) on the north side of Santa Catalina.

The hike, uneventful, was up a dirt road. A locked gated was (legally) surmounted, and, at the very top, FAA transmitters were cordoned off from approaching visitors. A short dash assured that I was at the actual highpoint. Others did similarly at a less frentic path. Here is a photo of Mount Orizaba.

Gail, Richard and Edward set up a summit register just outside the fenced-off area - only to find an earlier register lower down to the east of the true highest area. We all signed in, with Gail noting in the old register the existence and location of the newer and higher register just emplaced.

It was Passover and also Easter Sunday. Having just visited my parents for the two Seders, I had a lot of good food at home. I shared kosher-for-Passover goodies with both Gail and Richard, including gefilte fish with wasabi horseradish sauce on matzoh; Irish cheddar; Israeli date jam on matzoh; and butterscotch mousse-filled chocolates.

On the descent we had an extended discussion of our May hiking and climbing plans. Having initiated the talk, my goal was (and is) to share a trip to southwestern New Mexico and western Texas with Richard and possibly with Gail as well.

Edward and Gail "Earlized" the hike by descending sufficiently so as to make a one thousand foot elevation gain difference between the lowest and highest points of the day. In the meantime Richard and I headed directly back to the airport. I discussed my plans to write a book on prominence. On arrival at the airport snack shop Richard enjoyed a very large chocolate chipper while I had an ice cream novelty with date jam and butterscotch chocolate.

The return flight was thankfully uneventful. I plan on going to Tony Roma's with Edward within a week or two - a long held-off treat for several successful trips recently accomplished - including Edward's ascent of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Ecuador and my Hawaiian vacation with ascents of Haleakala and Mauna Loa.