Crystal Lake Crag is a craggy outcropping of granite near the western shore of Crystal Lake up in the San Gabriel Mountains. The rock quality on the routes is mostly good, though as with any new area in the mountains some cleaning may be necessary. Expect loose rock everywhere, as this is the San Gabes.
Adam S.'s Crystal Lake Cafe and General Store is in the area and very easy to find. He makes EXCELLENT chili, and practically everything else is awesome. He's a very nice guy. The closest place to buy beer would be the liquor store at the corner of Azusa and Sierra Madre.
A forest adventure pass is required for parking in the area. Please note that Route 39 is closed from time to time for one reason or another.
This place is a part of my home and my heart, so please keep it clean.
Take the 210 and exit Azusa/Route 39. Head north on R39 (which becomes San Gabriel Canyon Road) and follow it up into the mountains to Crystal Lake. Make a right into the Crystal Lake area, and a left at the road to the lake. There are two parking lots for the lake. The second parking lot is preferable, as it is closer to the lake and has shade.
Go down to the lake and you will see the crag on the opposite bank. Looking at the crag, you'll notice a large scree slope partially hidden in the trees on the right side of the crag. That's the primary way to access the crag. You'll start up that slope in the trees, and then it will open up. Check the MS Paint topo I've drawn up for more info on accessing individual routes.
This route was done after Arete of Regret proved to be a bad lead climb. This route has easy moves with some nice exposure and a decent alpine feel. The rock is generally good. Nearer the top the feeling improves with better views and a dropoff to the left. The route is slightly runout but the climbing never desperate....[more]Browse More Classics in CA
It will take your 15 to 20 minutes to drive from Pasadena to the 39 in Azusa. I've not been up there yet, but it will probably take at least that much longer to get to Crystal Lake. I've lived here for years and just found out about this area recently. Will check it out soon.
Indeed, the drive time is 15 - 20 minutes from Pasadena to Azusa, but with the winding mountain road and all the congestion at the turnouts for swimmers/picnickers the drive up San Gabriel Canyon Road to Crystal Lake will take at least another 45 minutes. So you're looking at 1 hr to Crystal Lake from Pasadena.
Agd......the approach time from the car (2nd/higher parking lot) is likely 20 - 30 minutes, provided one can locate the best access up the scree slope and you can navigate efficiently to the base of your desired route. There isn't a well defined trail up the scree slope beyond the lake.
Anyone ever tried to climb those discontinuous and probably chossy cracks running up the much higher (compared to Ace Dick area) walls on the walk down from Conveniently Sexy towards Ace Dick? I realize this is a very non-specific question, and really I'm just trying to ask if anyone's tried climbing anything between the two routes before. Was out there this past weekend for the first time and didn't do much exploring due to it being very cold in the shade! (About 4in of snow on the ground still by the base of the walls) So I thought I'd ask about exploring here first instead.
By TacoDelRio From: All up in yo bidniss. Mar 20, 2013
Jeff, not yet. Was thinking of it but haven't tried it yet.
A US District Court Judge, Terry Hatter, Jr., citing a 2012 federal appeals decision in Arizona has ruled against the US Forest Service Adventure Pass fees in Southern California. The federal judge has ruled that visitors to Southern California's four forests DO NOT need to buy an Adventure Pass if they are only hiking and do not use Forest facilities. What the rangers and/or ticket issuers can't do is just assume that anyone who is parked at a trailhead is using the facilities and issue a citation. The US Forest Service is reviewing the decision.