‘Scrippshenge’: Biannual La Jolla phenomenon draws dozens 

The first “Scrippshenge” of the year occurred May 1 and 2 at 7:31 and 7:32 p.m. respectively, when the setting sun dipped perfectly between the beams of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier on its way below the horizon.

“May Gray” clouds threatened to obscure “Scrippshenge” this week, but several captured shots of the spectacle.

“Scrippshenge” only happens, usually in May and August, for a few minutes each time, and has become an event drawing large crowds in recent years.

Sunset lovers and professional and amateur photographers stake out their spot under the pier, waiting for the ultimate shot under the pier.

Scripps Pier was originally constructed in 1916; a modern pier replaced it in 1988. The pier belongs to and is home for many research projects of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and is an iconic feature of the landscape of La Jolla Shores.

The installation of the current pier led to the discovery of the unplanned “Scrippshenge” phenomenon twice a year, but “nobody really thought that much of it,” said Camilla Ingram, SIO’s director of capital programs and space management, adding only the SIO community were aware and enamored of the perfectly framed sunset.

The biannual event slowly grew in viewing popularity, but the audience really grew in numbers during and following the COVID-19 pandemic, Ingram said. 

As the SIO campus was still open when many other spaces were closed, people spent more time walking the beach and discovering “Scrippshenge,” she said.

And with the advance in mobile phone camera technology, “people could take decent pictures,” Ingram added. 

The growing crowds are “really quite amazing,” she said, adding the “Scrippshenge” viewers don’t disrupt the SIO campus.

Ingram cautioned those who want to see the event to park on public streets, adhering to signage, to avoid campus ticketing. 

The spectacle is “fairly short-lived and people are thrilled,” Ingram said. “It’s a positive event for the people who come to see it.”

Scrippshenge May 1, 2024. Photo by Erik Jepsen.
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Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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