Ladyface Mountain is a prominent peak that looms over my hometown of Agoura Hills. It’s massive presence becomes part of the fabric of life in Agoura, but, much to my shock, this was the first time I’ve tried to climb it in spite of 20 years of living there.
Ladyface Mountain is not a well-known name outside of Agoura. This volcanic ridge got its name from the alleged resemblance to a woman’s face. That’s a crock of crap. I’ve been looking at this mountain most of my life, and to me it just looks like a mountain. Somebody was probably smoking drugs when they came up with that nonsense.
|Paramount Ranch in the foreground, with Malibu Creek State Park and Castro Crest in the background.|
So, as I said, I’ve been looking at this mountain for a large portion of my life. I watched it burn down one fall. I watched numerous waterfalls erupt after a massive rain storm. I watched it just sit there and be all mountainous. And yet, I never climbed it. For starters, I didn’t know how to, since many of the conceivable paths up the mountain did not seem to exist. Ladyface has some stark, forbidding contours, and the trail that I eventually learned about is an exercise in uphill climbing. Relentless, unforgiving, and, at times, delving into pure rock climbing.
|The trail disappears into a large rock formation that requires a rigorous climb|
In many ways, this trail is reminiscent of the Devil’s Backbone along Mt. Baldy. There is a steep drop on either side, and the trail undulates along a ridge. The difference her is that the trail at Ladyface is much more relentless and difficult than Devil’s Backbone. This makes this trail and summit experience quite a challenge. Not impossible, but I definitely had to stop numerous times to catch my breath and allow my gelatinous leg muscles a chance to rest.
Of course, one climbs a mountain largely for the views, and there are many of those here. This mountain actually features some outstanding views of the Santa Monicas as it stands somewhat apart from the main crest of the range and allows a panoramic view of all the prominent features. The view of Agoura is somewhat less interesting, unless of course you lived here for 20 years and wanted to burn some time trying to pick out landmarks. This was a fun experience, especially since I tackled a peak I had spent most of my life looking at.
The following pictures include some of the landmarks I was able to pick out.
|This is the house where I grew up. You can see the red tiled roof immediately below the yellow letters.|
|Lindero Canyon Middle School: Site of my first crush and years of unmitigated awkwardness|
|I worked at this Trader Joe’s for a year and a half|
|Agoura High School: where all of the centers of the universe congregate|