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fortified

EATON CANYON. CAN WE BUILD A NEW TRAIL TO THE SECOND FALLS?

Anyone familiar with the area knows the "Razor back". It is the path people go, attempt, and many get rescued from every year, and someone dies their quite often. Hikers want to get beyond the first falls farther up Eaton canyon. But the RB route is dangerous, and not a real trail. The verticle part is a straight drop with inches of foot space. When I was 13, I went their with my older brother and a couple of his friends. I was told two rules. When you move one extremity, (hand, or foot), make sure the other three have a secure hold. Rule two: If you are falling, don't take anyone with you. Did rule one, but my firm hand broke away the crumbling rock. I was starting the head first backward fall to death. As I wasn't going to take anyone with me, I didn't even make a noise. But my brother turned at exactly the right moment with perhaps a 1/4 second window of time and slammed me back to the mountain side. He happened to have a sturdy tree branch with his far away hand. I was 13. Most of the people that get in trouble or killed are teens to twenties, inexperienced, and perhaps peer pressured.
I would like to propose the idea a building a trail. I have heard responses concerned about it will just move the same problem upstream. But as I remember, The first falls is one of a kind in Eaton Canyon. A trail would benefit everything any other trail would. But it may also save about one or two lives every year, as well as many rescues every year. Anyone want to join. I have never helped maintain or make a trail, even though I have trail run about 10,000 miles. Obviously I have no knowledge of how to build a trail.
mattmaxon

I personally would oppose such a "trail"

Technically it would be a herculean task to build a safe hiking trail to the 2nd falls.

You are also opening yourself to lawsuits from anyone injured or killed on such an unapproved trail
fortified

Legal, or illegal,  trail. .... Are people suing anyone for injuries on other trails now? This would be another trail, just like the rest. Whatever "aproval" needed will be part of the process. Their are many different possible routes for the trail, when talking of difficulty.
Of  the whole sangabriel foothills, I bet this one single spot has the most deaths, and injuries. The trail building is of a higher calling than recreation, and ease of access. It will save lives.
outwhere

The question/proposal for a different trail got me curious.

After all the deep history of trails in that area how come there's never been a trail that might avoid the razorback section?

Is it simply because there isn't really a feasible way - aka trail - that could get hikers past the first fall[s]?

I'm not sure what amazes me more - the risks so many inexperienced 'hikers' take on the razorback and the section right after it --------- or how the helicopter crew and search and rescue pluck people outta those frightening spots so successfully.
cougarmagic

outwhere wrote:
there isn't really a feasible way - aka trail - that could get hikers past the first fall[s]?


Yes, that sums it up right.  Surrounding Eaton Cyn Falls proper is all ridiculously steep, decomposing crumbly granite.

Notice there was a set of wooden staircases going up Rubio canyon in the early 1900s, but the same thing did not work in Eaton, and would not work now.

Also, I'm sure that deaths from motorcycle and car accidents on ACH and other mountain roads outnumber Eaton deaths by a huge amount.  

I used to be concerned and wanted to find a solution but have become cynical.   Sometimes you just can't save people from themselves.
Taco

I too am against it. I would like it to be 'impossible' to reach without rappelling in from above. The canyon is a mess further up, and it really does seem to get worse each year. The Caltech Alpine Club Eaton Canyon cleanup can barely make a dent, and it's a ton of work.

I wish only canyoneers (by that I mean anyone trained to get down the entire canyon) could access the top of either of the two last falls.
HikeUp

cougarmagic wrote:
... cynical.   Sometimes you just can't save people from themselves.

I am beyond cynical - leave it at that.

I vaguely remember seeing remnants of a staircase up the steep wall on the right as you're looking at the falls (i.e. going upstream). Doesn't Robinson mention it in his book?
fortified

Difficulty of making a trail. I have not been over the Razorback since 1970. But....if anyone knows the terrain...
Idea one. Directly over the top of razorback, and down somewhere after the first falls.
Two A whole different concept. Drop in from a higher ridge somewhere between the first falls, and Idlehour. This idea would probably not do much for saving peeps. It would mean hiking for at least an hour first, as opposed to walking up Eaton for 1/2 mile, drink a bear, smoke a doobie, then go over razorback crowd. I think that's called natural selection.
Idea three: Declare it Indian territory, build a casino, a glass landing protruding on top, McDonalds sponsored glass elevator, and a chucky cheese slide down to Loma Alta.
mattmaxon

outwhere wrote:
Is it simply because there isn't really a feasible way - aka trail - that could get hikers past the first fall[s]?.


This cogently sums up my feelings :Thanks:

My idea a few years back was to put in a series of 8-10ft high fences or an electronic sign with year to date rescues and deaths along with historical numbers.

Route side memorials so and so fell here yada yada yada

Switzers Falls used to have regular fatalities what happened?
Augie

Even if you could build a "trail" there, people would find a way to fall off it. If you do anything, I like Matt's idea of a sign with grisly reminders of the danger.
Hikin_Jim

fortified wrote:
Drop in from a higher ridge somewhere between the first falls and Idlehour.
 People are going to say to themselves "too much effort" and go right up the ridge.  Wasted effort.

Quote:
drink a bear
Dude.  Shocked  You'd have to be pretty badass to try that!     Just getting a hold of the "straw" is going to be work.  Dunno though.  Maybe the bears would come to like it over time...

HJ
AW

HikeUp wrote:

I vaguely remember seeing remnants of a staircase up the steep wall on the right as you're looking at the falls (i.e. going upstream). Doesn't Robinson mention it in his book?


I would guess thats the one the SAR guy wants reopened. Im not sure whose land that is since it was the water dept's land for so many years.
AW

fortified wrote:
This would be another trail, just like the rest. Whatever "approval" needed will be part of the process.


There is only one official trail to a waterfall in the San Gabriels-Fish Canyon in Asuza....so it would hardly be a normal trail in the San Gabriels, due to a waterfall's ecological significance and scenic value.

#2) The approval process is to change the plan for the area. I dont think this has been picked up well enough by the media, but thats what the forest service is saying. The current plan doesnt call for recreation in Eaton creek in case you noticed there is nothing there. The  canyon downstream of that is LA County, which has nothing to do with the FS. The trail to Eaton Canyon Falls is like outerspace to the FS. It is not an addition to Eaton Canyon park , its an independent area set aside and mandated so as to say people nearby cant get their hands on it.
 -Now if the FS would just say that to the Asuzites who want access closed along the east and west fork because its "their water"...no, its not "their water" until its on "their property". And to complete the hypocritical cycle they then turn the water back into the river toxic.

Back to being on topic, to get the design for the area changed, it involve not just Eaton, but the entire area, which I would guess is MtWilson. Then Eaton would be changed to Recreation, which involves a trail and maintenance like signange, trash cans, restrooms,etc. Plus an environmental review for everything. For the change to actually occur that would require a lot of money to which other areas would then not be spent on. It might even require another area to change from recreation to wild to balance the master plan. And it would take years just to get through. Along each step of the way, different interest groups have to work together to agree on stuff.

In short, the Forest Service takes comments every 5 years for a new forest plan, and thats where change most often occurs. As others feel, I would oppose changing Eaton creek from wild to recreation. I dont buy for a second that the new trail would lower the number of rescues. I think it will increase the number, changing the rescue type from cliff-hanging to medical aid from jumping or other.
fortified

AW, So theoretically if one wants to build a small 300 yard waterfall bypass, (not debating weather it is feasible or not), it would require the full amount of red tape as other major changes? I have zero idea how this works, but for practicality, don't they have cut off for red tape on a minor alteration?
Just curious, if anyone knows, The trail that starts at the water tank up the cobb estate, and goes to the ridge above Lake, was that approved, or just sorta built? I remember seeing two guys building that right after a fire. Not the 2009 fire, but around 2007.
I emailed the Altadena Rescue peeps a couple days ago for their thoughts, but nothing so far.
VermillionPearlGirl

I would support this if it was in any way possible, just because I think it would help people. I have no problem with increased access, the forest is so big there's plenty of other places for me to go to get away from these people. I don't like folks dying so if it could help with that then great.

It might increasing jumping, but people are already doing that in Chantry (and occasionally dying). I feel like jumping you know you're doing something idiotic. I feel like some people who get stuck on the trail, like the original poster, just don't know any better.

But I don't have the first idea of how it would be done, and as noted by others more informed than me, it's complicated. Honestly, I have a Santa Claus-like relationship to trails. They're just there! By magic! Thanks elves Smile
fortified

HI VermillionPearlGirl....I am "the original poster who got stuck". Yes, I was 13 with older kids about 17 years. I was not stuck, I was falling. Thank God I did not finish the falling thing. That is...unless, like the T.V. show lost....I'm actually dead already....
I would like to explore the idea of going directly over the top of the same ridge people are taking now. I haven't seen the top since 1970, the one and only time I went that way. The wooden stairs through the tunnel was not nearly as scary, but rickety falling apart by 1974-1975. The Santa-Claus trail affect are some of the very people who blog around here.
Through their great work I have discovered two new ways. One is the lone tree trail, the other is the connection from the ridge on top of lake ave that connects to Mt. Lowe road at about the 3009 ft. level (according to google earth) Thanks guys!!!
Hayduke

fortified wrote:
AW, So theoretically if one wants to build a small 300 yard waterfall bypass, (not debating weather it is feasible or not), it would require the full amount of red tape as other major changes? I have zero idea how this works, but for practicality, don't they have cut off for red tape on a minor alteration?
Just curious, if anyone knows, The trail that starts at the water tank up the cobb estate, and goes to the ridge above Lake, was that approved, or just sorta built? I remember seeing two guys building that right after a fire. Not the 2009 fire, but around 2007.
I emailed the Altadena Rescue peeps a couple days ago for their thoughts, but nothing so far.


A "300 yard waterfall bypass" would not be a minor alteration. If the Forest Service was on board (which clearly, they are not) it would be about a two year process from the time of the initial proposal until any trail construction could begin.
fortified

HAYDUKE , You wrote:  "A "300 yard waterfall bypass" would not be a minor alteration. If the Forest Service was on board (which clearly, they are not) it would be about a two year process from the time of the initial proposal until any trail construction could begin."
END QUOTE
Well, that's what's wrong with the country

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