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On The Loose Guidebook

Published by On The Loose
Outdoors Club of the Claremont Colleges

Today, outdoor education and recreation at the Claremont Colleges is facing an incredible period of growth and development. Each college has a Wilderness Orientation Trip that has become increasingly important to college life and as our community grows, it is important to value the contributions of our predecessors and look towards the future with the same vision and ambition that characterized the club during its formative period. Each year nearly 1,000 incoming Claremont College Students participate in an outdoor orientation program as their introduction to campus. These programs have been largely inspired by their parent organization, On The Loose, which has by no means lagged behind. The academic year 2005-06 marked the largest year ever for OTL. This year OTL provided 4,000 student days off campus and 1,300 participants on 160 trips (This includes 700 unique participants-many people go on multiple trips!), making a true impact on campus culture. However, it is in large part OTL's over 200 trained student leaders that we hope this guide will benefit.

This guide is written for the outdoor adventurer looking to explore the wonders of Southern California. This land of great weather, mountains, desert, and ocean offers year-round backpacking opportunities like no other place in the country. In February in the middle of winter, you can enjoy 80- degree summer camping on the floor of Death Valley. In April, venture 30 minutes away from campus to go snow camping on Mount Baldy. There are hot springs, mud caves, rugged seashore, and wildlife all accessible within a couple hours fiom Claremont. Southern California is the land dreams. The world looks like a different place at sunset from Icehouse Canyon. Stress disappears while soaking at the Hot Springs. Most of this can be accomplished in a weekend, the small sacrifice of a party or a few hours less studying will give you perspective, meaning, and joy. This guide is designed to guide you to the best places, help you camp at the best sites, and make it easier to be on the loose.

Happy Trails,

Bryant Cannon - Editor (2nd web edition)



Preface to the 2nd edition:

Upon opening this book you are opening the pages of our long-standing club, On the Loose. The trips described climb mountains and travel trails that have been climbed by OTL members for at least twenty years. Rumor has it that OTL is the oldest club at Pomona College. While the faces of OTL enthusiasts have changed, Mount Baldy and the Southern California land she watches over remain wondrously the same. Meanwhile, the cities have grown, the skies have darkened, and outdoor enthusiasts have flocked to the sacred hills and deserts. Nevertheless, the adventures that await the hungry student have changed very little.

The legend of OTL's birth is probably more fiction than truth. Two Pomona students went to Mexico for spring break. When break ended, the two women mysteriously didn't return for classes. Friends, somewhat concerned, traveled to Mexico in search of the women -- with no success. The women later surfaced, their disappearance curious. Was it a planned escape, or just a spur of the moment diversion? Supposedly, the women and their concerned friends had so much fun being "lost" in Mexico that they started a club. Originally called the "Outings Club", OTL was renamed sometime later after a famous book written by Terry and Renny Russell. The book On the Loose recounts the Russells' travels with poetry, quotes and pictures, and brings the inspiration to our title and purpose.

Today, OTL is an expanding club. With thirty-some trip leaders and hundreds of participants, OTL has set its sights on bigger goals. Plans are in the works (subject to administrative decision) to lead incoming first-years on pre-orientation backpacking trips. OTL also has an exciting new gear-room in the cottage garage with tons of new gear. Probably the biggest gain has been the addition of four paid positions. Thanks to the vision of Derek Churchill and Dean Quinley, OTL now has work study money to help make sure the daily work of the club gets done. Keeping with OTL tradition and the spirit of our trips, all trips are volunteer led.

This guidebook is now the second edition of an evolving compilation of trips. Our goal serves several purposes. We hope OTL leaders will be able to get ideas for cool places to go when looking for trips to lead. We also encourage all students of the Claremont Colleges to use this as an opportunity to explore the amazing surroundings. Unfortunately, many students graduate without ever climbing Baldy, without ever seeing the wildflowers in Joshua Tree, or without standing atop High Sierra granite. If only a handful of students discover Southern California's rich outdoors, this book will be a success. Finally, we hope to preserve OTL's traditions by recording trips so that future OTL leaders can continue to visit to the same places.

When using this guidebook it is important to note that many descriptions have not been field checked by the editors. Use this guidebook as a base to explore, as a reference to more "official" guidebooks, or as a source of trip suggestions. There are still many rough edges (hopefully less than the first edition) - and we always need more input. If you know a good trip, or want add or correct current trips, please let the coordinator know! I hope you will enjoy checking out some of these places as much as I have enjoyed putting the info together.

Happy trails,

Brian Cross - Editor (1st and 2nd editions)

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Many of the articles in this guide were last revised as long ago as 1994. Be sure to verify all prices and phone numbers before you go on a trip! If you notice anything blatantly out of date please contact OTL.

Driving Times:

Driving times in the LA basin are of course very difficult to forecast. The times listed are only a rough guestimate of the average times with no serious traffic problems. Allow much more time if you plan on driving Friday afternoon.

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Many thanks to all the OTL leaders who contributed information!

    • Anza Borrego Desert: Derek Churchill (94)
    • Chocolate Mountains / Colorado River: Patti Friedes (95) and Mary Foley (96)
    • Death Valley: Derek Churchill (94) and Brian Cross (96)
    • East Side Sierras: Derek Churchill (94), Dr. Rick Hazlett (Geology Dept.), Brian Cross (96), and Jenny Molyneux (96)
    • Joshua Tree National Park: Jon Snyder (94), Derek Churchill (94), and Brian Cross (96)
    • Mountain Home State Forest: Nabil Khadduri (94) and Karen Mera (94)
    • Mt. Whitney: Dr. Rick Hazlett (Geology Dept.)
    • Sequoia National Park: Jenny Molyneux (96) and Brian Cross (96)
    • Sespe Wilderness and Hot Springs: Derek Churchill (94)
    • Yosemite: Brian Cross (96)
    • Zion: Meg Moser (96) and Tasha MacIlveen (95)
  2. HIKING:
    • Bear Creek (lower portion): Karen Mera (94) and Nabil Khadduri (94).
    • Cajon Pass, Cleghorn Mtn.: Karen Mera (94)
    • Cucamonga Canyon: Derek Churchill (94) and Brian Cross (96)
    • Deep Creek Hot Springs: Derek Churchill (94) and Mike Reed (07)
    • Grass Mountain: Ben Anders (92)
    • Ice House Canyon: Alan Kaufmann (94)
    • Iron Mountain via 39: Peter Leth (97)
    • Iron Mountain via Mt. Baldy: Peter Leth (97)
    • Mt. Baldy via Bear Flats: Peter Leth (97)
    • Mt. Baldy via Devil's Backbone: Peter Leth (97)
    • Mt. Baldy via Sierra Club Cabin: Derek Churchill (94) and Brian Cross (96)
    • Ontario Peak: Peter Leth (97)
    • San Gorgornio: Peter Leth (97)
    • Sunset Peak: Tania Abdul (95)
    • Tahquitz Peak: Peter Leth (97)
    • Sean McCarthy (02)
    • Apple Valley: Brian Cross (96)
    • Big Rock: Brian Cross (96)
    • Corona Del Mar: Derek Churchill (94)
    • Devil's Punchbowl: Brian Cross (96)
    • Point Dume: Brian Cross (96)
    • Red Rocks: Brian Cross (96)
    • Stoney Point: Derek Churchill (94) and Gus Kormeier (96)
    • Suicide Rock: Derek Churchill (94)
    • Taquitz Climbing: Brian Cross (96)
    • The Falls: Brian Cross (96)
    • Williamson: Gus Kormeier (96)
    • Cleveland National Forest: Sean McCarthy (02)
    • Sunset Peak: Sean McCarthy (02)
    • Local Trails: Evan Bilstrom (96) and Bijan Modanlou (96)
  6. SKIING:
    • Tom Elgin (05)
    • Equipment and First-Aid Supplies: Derek Churchill (94), Megan Keith (96), Karen Mera (94), and Tom Elgin (05).
  8. PHOTOS:
    • Brian Cross (96), Jenny Molyneux (96), Ali Beadell (98), Jessie Berman (98), Eliza Cooney (98), Eric Cross, and various sources.

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Guide Home
Notes About the Guide

Anza Borrego Desert
Chocolate Mountains/Colorado River
Death Valley
East Side Sierras
Joshua Tree National Park
Mountain Home State Park
Mt. Whitney
Sequoia & Kings Canyon
Sespe Wilderness/Hot Springs
Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park

Bear Creek
Cajon Pass
Cucamonga Canyon
Deep Creek Hot Springs
Grass Mountain
Ice House Canyon
Iron Mountain via Hwy. 39
Iron Mountain via Mt. Baldy
Mt. Baldy via Bear Flats
Mt. Baldy via Devil's Backbone
Mt. Baldy via Sierra Club Cabin
Ontario & Bighorn Peaks
San Gorgonio
Sunset Peak
Tahquitz Peak

Bridge to Nowhere
Devil's Punchbowl Loop
Icehouse Canyon
Fishbowls Swimming Holes
Mt. Lowe Front Country Loop
Mt.San Gorgonio Dry Lake and Dollar Lake Loop
Bridge to Nowhere

Apple Valley
Big Rock
Corona Del Mar
Devil's Punchbowl
Joshua Tree
Point Dume
Red Rocks
Stoney Point
Suicide Rock
Tahquitz Climbing
The Falls

Mount Baldy
Mountain High
Big Bear / Snow Summit
Snow Valley
June Mountain

Cleveland National Forest
Sunset Peak
San Gabriel Foothills