Archive for San Gabriel Mountains Forum
  Forum Index -> News & Conditions

Thunder Ridge

Last Saturday I hiked the route described below, and for the entire trip I was studying Thunder Ridge to see if it is possible to hike from the parking lot of Icehouse Canyon to Thunder Mountain via Thunder Ridge.  The lower half of Thunder Ridge, from the parking lot to Cedar Glen Campsite, looks quite steep with lots of thick brush to navigate around.  The upper half, from Cedar Glen Campsite to the summit of Thunder Mountain, is much flatter and looks passable.

Has anyone ever hiked the entire length of Thunder Ridge as a non-snow route?  Is it possible to make it from Icehouse Canyon parking lot to Thunder Mountain via Thunder Ridge?  Would be fun to try.

On to my hike last Saturday.  I started at Icehouse Canyon Trailhead and proceeded to Cedar Glen Campsite via the Chapman Trail. Then I left the trail and ascended the ridge just NE of Cedar Glen Campsite.  When the ridge abruptly ended at the face of Telegraph Peak I dropped down into Cedar Wash.  Then I briefly proceeded up Cedar Wash before ascending a ravine up Thunder Mountain.  I connected with the 3 T’s Trail just shy of the summit.  I then summited Mt. Baldy and returned via the Ski Hut route (and walked down Mt. Baldy road back to Icehouse Canyon trailhead).

A tip for anyone interested in hiking the ridge just beyond Cedar Glen Campsite.  When leaving Cedar Glen Campsite continue to walk straight (Northeast) and you will basically walk right up onto the ridge.  Don’t turn right (Southeast) on the trail and follow it across a wash (which is not Cedar Wash).  This will lead you to the first switchback and a ridge which is not the correct ridge to climb.  It dead ends into Telegraph Peak with no easy exit options other than re-tracing your steps.

I've not done the lower part, having always come up one of the steep chutes on the west side and then continuing up to the top, which is low angle and easy travel with some nice views.

The toe of the ridge looks like miserable scree form all directions. This is what makes winter (when we get one) in the San Gabes so good. It transforms these shitty terrible frustrating scree slopes into easy and quick to ascend slopes once there's consolidated snow on them. I know a lot of folks still don't do winter travel for their own reasons, but I would never volunteer to go up most of these slopes and routes without snow. Some of you guys dig scree, though. Sure is fun to run down.

So, I'd say bushwhack up the toe of the ridge and once you're outta the bushwhacking, it'll get better. Might even be fun! Smile

Hi Taco,

Thanks for the reply.  Maybe I'll try one of the chutes on the west side, and then explore the ridge from the top down.  I'll see how far I can get, realizing I will most likely need to turn around at some point.

I like to explore steep terrain for the first time from top to bottom.  Less chance of getting terrain trapped.

By the way I met your friend Ellen in Falling Rock Canyon two weeks ago.  She introduced me to this forum, and told me about you and some of the other regulars.

Howdy All  Smile

Andrew is in the right place -- home of those with "mad climbing skills"  Twisted Evil  Laughing

I met Andrew when I did Falling Rock Canyon recently. I explained that I'm a trekker, not climber and recommended that he post to the forum. Heck, I can't even keep up with him on trail  Shocked

Taco, I think he's "related" to you, Lilbitmo, Cucamonga Sean, etc. -- he has climbing in the genes.

Miles of smiles,

thunder ridge

i have eyeballed this same route, but mostly for winter stuff. from what I saw, it appeared slightly better to drive past the turnout for icehouse, drive around the first switchback and park there. then access the start of the ridge from it's northwest face. Just seemed like it was less buckthorn on that side and would only require dealing with loose steep scree. good luck if you go! I'll wait for snow thank you!

A partial answer to your question...

I have descended Thunder Ridge from the upper lift terminus atop Thunder Mountain to a prominent point on the ridge above the Chapman Trail.  From there we descended directly down the SE slopes to Chapman. (See attached KML file.)

This upper portion of Thunder Ridge is easily passable, even in the dry conditions during our trip.  The descent down the SE slopes is tedious but also straightforward.

If you do follow this line of descent, make sure to hit the Chapman Trail in the most efficient way possible.  The whitethorn there is some of the deepest and thickest I have seen anywhere in the San Gabes.  We did not actually hit the waypoint I've marked but instead missed the trail by just 50 or 100m. This proved a very painful, 30 minute error.

I can't speak to the conditions of Thunder Ridge below the point where we departed.  But longcut's suggestion looks reasonable to me, as it appears to avoid anything that resembles the whitethorn we encountered.

ThunderRidge.kml Forum Index -> News & Conditions
Page 1 of 1