Following the historic snowfall in Southern California, five friends tried to ski within the city’s limits.
Led by Andy Lewicky, they made the treacherous journey both up and down the tallest peak within Mt. Lukens, the tallest peak in Los Angeles.
LA Times feature sportswriter David Wharton chronicled their incredible journey. Wharton and Lewicky joined Lisa McRee on “LA Times Today.”
Mt. Lukens stands at about 5,000 feet. Last month, snow fell on the mountain, to the 2,000-foot mark. Wharton explained the men had special gear that allowed them to climb the mountain safely.
“These guys, they’re very experienced," said Wharton. "Plus, they have this lightweight gear, this alpine touring gear. You pick up one of these skis, and it’s like a feather. It’s made for people who climb mountains before they ski. I followed them a bit of the way up. But when the snow got heavy, I had to stop. And I did my best to watch them go up from below."
Lewicky and the others continued on, pivoting when their original plans were thwarted by the weather.
“When we got to the top of the mountain, it was completely encased in clouds and we couldn’t see anything," said Lewicky. "I’d had this vision of catching a photo of one of my friends soaring over the skyscrapers of downtown LA. And that dream was kind of evaporating before my eyes. So I suggested we descend to the east via this really, really long fire road. And none of my friends were particularly thrilled with that idea. But I was able to make the case that if we did that, there was a chance that the city would reappear and we could get that photograph."
When skiing on mountains that do not have designated ski runs, Lewicky said, safety is paramount.
“I take my safety and my friends’ safety very seriously," he said. "There are things we’re able to do, based on our experience, but that takes some education. It takes experience, and it takes diligence when you’re out there to not get too excited and to still stick to your plans.'
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