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This is a splendid peak which commands a magnificent panorama over the heart of the San Gabriels Mountains. Unfortunately it eludes most people’s radar because it is a fairly short hike (a whopping 1.5 miles round trip) and conquering a “ridge” does not have much appeal to those who want to bag peaks. And the term “Kratka Ridge” is somewhat ambiguous. On one hand it labels an east-west ridgeline which defines the northern border of the San Gabriel Wilderness and the rugged Bear Creek watershed. And it is close to and roughly parallels the Angeles Crest Highway, so casual sightseers can easily access the ridge crest from several spots along the highway.
On the other hand, “Kratka Ridge” is used to label the 7515-foot peak along the ridgeline. The Sierra Club’s Angeles Chapter, Hundred Peaks Section (HPS) has a list of 275 named summits in Southern California of at least 5,000 feet in elevation. Kratka Ridge peak is on that list. And since I have a goal to climb all of the HPS peaks in the San Gabriels, Kratka has been on my list.
Hikemasters hiking group. There are nine of us for today’s hike…the same number we had when we bagged Winston Peak, Buckhorn Peak (aka Mount Akawie), and Mount Lewis back in September. We rendezvous at 7:15 on Saturday morning at the Highway 2 meeting location in La Canada. We drive 35.5 miles up Angeles Crest Highway to the old to Vista Picnic Area (highway marker 60.54), which is about 2.3 miles past the entrance to Buckhorn campground. Ray had dubbed me as the leader, so as a disclaimer, I make sure everyone knows that this was my first time on this trail…blind leading the blind.
Southern California Lost Ski Areas by Eric Gieszl)
From the backside of the bullwheel facility, a distinct path heads up the ridge. We follow this path about 200 yards to our destination.
Everyone in the group seems pleased with this lofty destination. We pose for a group picture and enjoy the scenery. As the group starts back I linger to take a few pics and shoot a panoramic video with no voices. Soon I hear the group chanting my name from the ridge below, suggesting that it’s time for me to join them.
Epilog - What a fun and rewarding outing! Magnificent scenery, gorgeous weather, blue skies, majestic forest, commanding vistas, good company, and crossing another peak off my list. Life is good!
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