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dima

Mt Harvard, Mt Yale and the search for 44-24918

Last week I blatantly copied Missy, and bought "Historic Aircraft Wrecks of LA County" by G. Pat Macha. Haven't looked through the whole thing yet, but it describes a LOT of crashes. Yesterday I wanted to go do something short and sweet in the mountains. The book mentions a 1944 crash on Mt Yale. I've never been to Mt Yale before, and it's easily accessible from a drive to Mt Wilson, so I lazily got my stuff together, and started walking down the Mt Wilson Toll Road at 1PM.

The gate up Mt Harvard was open, so I just walked up the road to the towers. It's really not a very exciting peak. Past Mr Harvard is an old fire break down to the Harvard-Yale saddle and beyond. Sometime in the past there were power lines here: there are many power tower stumps and cable-less guy-wire supports. Now there are just signs to talk to the power company before digging.

I followed the ridge to Mt Yale, and found the benchmark:

(excuse the shitty photos; my camera battery was dead)




The book isn't very specific about the crash location. It's supposed to be somewhere around the 4300ft level on the West face of Mt Yale. Here:



I looked around with binoculars, but found nothing obvious. I dropped futher down on the ridge until the correct level, and cut across to traverse through the brush. This area is very brushy and very steep. I cut all the way across Mt Yale without finding anything made by humans. On the way back, I stayed lower to cover new ground. Eventually I found this odd piece of metal:



It's about 1ft across. Nearby was some sheet metal:



Not clear what either of these are, I investigated. There was nothing above. A ways below was another one of these rings, and further down, deep in brush I found a homemade sled:







It's a pair of old downhill skis (Fischer Superglass) connected together with crossbars, a towrope on the front, and a sheet of plastic covering the bottom. The plastic has long ago shattered, but the chunks were scattered throughout. This isn't my plane, and I really don't know what Doug Walsh's sled is doing on a very brushy slope that never sees any snow.

I didn't find the plane. Just did a web search, and someone who did find it says it's on Mt Harvard, not Mt Yale. So maybe I simply turned around too early. Will try again at some point.
HikeUp

It does snow on Yale, actually Wink.

http://sangabrielmnts.myfreeforum.org/ftopic237-0-0-asc-yale.php+plane

Also...

http://www.av.qnet.com/~carcomm/wreck12.htm

Also...

https://joeidoni.smugmug.com/Airc...es/Mount-Harvard-P-38L-Lightning/
dima

HikeUp wrote:
It does snow on Yale, actually Wink.


Oh wow. OK. That makes the sled only slightly less out-of-place in my mind Smile

As for the plane, I suspect it's roughly below the Yale-Harvard saddle. I turned around just past where I wouldn't call it "below Yale Peak" anymore, and it's probably a bit past that point.
dima

OK, so I went back this morning to check out the area closer to Mt Harvard. Other than 7 birthday baloons, there were even fewer human-made detritus. Looking at joeidoni's photos, I'm wondering if I actually did find some of the pieces the last time. Maybe this (found last time)



the same as this (joeidoni)?



I guess maybe 3rd time is the charm, but I'll give in at least a month.
HikeUp

Interesting. That comparison is close if not the same item. I remember a third reference that I found on the interwebs way back when I was up there in the snow that I thought provided coordinates but I can't find it again.

Will post it if I find it. 3rd times a charm!?
dima

HikeUp wrote:
3rd times a charm!?


Meant that I've struck out twice, and maybe the third trip is what it will take. I however have a new theory: the 3 pieces I found are most of what remains. The sled was used to pull out the debris, and when most of it was removed, the sled was abandoned (it was directly below the pieces I found). The trip report from joeidoni was from 2006, so plenty of time for things to change. And even he said that it looked like there was much material removed. I'll definitely go back and look more thoroughly, regardless.
dima

I looked through more of joeidoni's photos, specifically one set from another P38 site: https://joeidoni.smugmug.com/Airc...ites/Lockheed-P-38L-Lightning-44/

He has a photo of the brake assembly:



This is a really good match for the nubbed discs I found:



So I'm now convinced that the few parts I found earlier were a part of the P38, and searching around that small area is the thing to do.
HikeUp

Cool. Post coordinates!
dima

HikeUp wrote:
Cool. Post coordinates!


Heh. Let me look around there again first. Or if you want to join, send a PM.
missy

Ha! Just saw this and put the biggest smile on my face. That book is a real underrated gem!

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