Leatherneck Ridge (from Visitor Center)

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Leatherneck Ridge (from Visitor Center)

Postby Sean » Sat May 14, 2016 12:21 pm

Hey, everyone. I'm new to this board. Since I live near the San Gabriel Mountains, I don't make the drive to San Jacinto very often. But I've done San J three times, including C2C once, and a few other peaks in the range.

Last Thursday some friends (Henry and Dima) and I decided to tackle the Leatherneck Ridge route to Mountain Station. We started at 2:45am from the Visitor Center along the highway. It was about 75 degrees.

The approach to the ridge took about forty-five minutes. Then we had some fun rock scrambling up the very steep initial slope. Around 5am the sky was beginning to lighten up. The ridge continued to be very rocky, and we negotiated a couple bumps and turns in the lower half of the route.

At one rest break we sat down with a sleeping rattlesnake nearby. It didn't seem to care about our presence and posed for several pictures all coiled up in its bed of rocks.

The ridge eventually got a little brushy but nothing terrible. Also the sun got a little warm, but a periodic breeze helped cool us down.

Around six thousand elevation we finally reached the pine trees and ate lunch in the shade with a great view down to Palm Springs. The next thousand feet of gain offered slightly easier, less brushy terrain, which we slowly zigzagged up.

I was starting to feel a bit nauseous from the sun exposure. When we stopped at the 7446' bump, with an open view of the great north face of San Jacinto, I threw down some more food and polished off the rest of my water. I had carried five liters, plus a bottle of coconut water. Still I needed more to stay comfortable and keep a reasonable pace. Henry was carrying seven liters even though he rarely uses that much, so he let me have one.

The next stretch of the ridge turned southward over some rocky bumps, one right after the other. This section, and the initial scramble in the dark, were my favorite parts of the route. We basically went over the top of each bump, side-hilling where it looked easier. At one point we could glance to the right with a full view of San Jacinto, and then glance to the left with an impressive view down-canyon to the lower tram station. It took us about three hours to negotiate that last stretch of bumps. And we reached Long Valley and Mountain Station around 4pm. Where we celebrated with farmhouse ales at the bar.

Some pics:

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Last edited by Sean on Sat May 14, 2016 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (from Visitor Center)

Postby Hikin_Jim » Sat May 14, 2016 4:21 pm

Pretty intense bro.

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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (from Visitor Center)

Postby Ellen » Sat May 14, 2016 4:59 pm

Howdy Cucamonga Sean :)

You STUD! Good job 8) I've only hiked Leatherneck to the tram once (Nov 2011 with Lilbitmo) from the lower parking lot at the tram station. It was a long, challenging day and we had cool weather.

Miles of smiles,
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Re: Leatherneck Ridge (from Visitor Center)

Postby bluerail » Thu May 19, 2016 4:17 am

It's been renamed hummingbird ridge by locals who do it regularly. Hardly seems fitting to name it after guys who needed a rescue. It's a stretch to call it class three when you find the easy way across the bumps up top. Nice job though, glad you avoided that heat.
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