San Sevaine Lookout, Northeast ridgeSan Sevaine Lookout is the eastern terminus of the +5000 foot elevation of the San Gabriel Mountains. San Sevaine is traditionally climbed from the San Sevaine Fire road. This route is 8 plus mile rough road drive up for a little 2.5 mile hike. In 2004 a fire blazed through the region and the road was closed by the San Bernardino National Forest. So access to this peak has been troublesome especially for the Hundred Peaks Section of the Sierra Club that has Sevaine listed. Personally I have wanted to hike this peak for a long time. In 2005 I had the opportunity to take part in a botanical collecting trip to nearby San Sevaine Flats. A beautiful area rich in cedars and black oak that escaped the fires. Though I was at the trailhead for the short hike to San Sevaine Lookout I did not have permission from work to go tramping off outside of our study area. The road is still closed and I have been looking for alternative routes other then hiking the long boring road. I decided on hiking the northeast ridgeline from the Lytle Creek. On topo there is a firebreak that descends the upper portion of that ridge, so I was hoping to hike from the bottom through brush and join up with the firebreak. The stats on the route look to be 2600 feet of gain with 4 miles round trip.
I had hopes that the notorious brush of the northeastern San Gabriels might still be open from the 2004 fires. From the get go the hike was a steep brush feast. First I had to cross the very low Lytle Creek and ascend a class 2 brushy slope. Some brush is better then others. This region though is made up mostly of Whitethorn, ceanothus. I gained the first ridge and dove deep into the whitethorn intermixed with jagged chemise stumps. I gained the next ridge and was already feeling my saturation point with thousands of pinpricks all over my body. For a short respite the ridge opened with small yerba and was quick to gain the top of the ridge to the base of the firebreak.