San G summit camping in a big storm

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San G summit camping in a big storm

Postby AlanK » Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:28 pm

At 4:37 AM on Friday, January 4, someone identified only as "Stan" posted this on the SGW Message Board.
Today I hope to make camp at the summit of San Gorgonio to ride out the storm to experience the worst SoCal has to offer. Hope to camp just NE of the summit to gain some protection from the wind. We'll see if the predictions are correct. I am leaving in the next 30 minutes. I've got a minus -10 degree bag and a nice Bibler tent for protection. I did this several years ago and Michael was correct in his predictions. I am not too worried as I've summited Denali and I think the conditions there are much more hostile.

His post caused a bit of a stir, both positive and negative. After the initial response, the negative seemed to prevail, dominated by skepticism about whether Stan and his trip were real. I will not attempt to preserve that discussion.

Just after migdnight on January 9, Stan posted a TR:
Hello everyone!!! I could see from the messages posted that there was some concern over my safety. Well, I am back! I made it to the summit at 1630 Friday in the midst of snow and wind. I made camp in the rock corral on the NE side of the peak to protect myself from the wind. I would have pics for you, but I lost my digital camera in the snow near the rock corral. It is a Canon PowerShot SD750 7.1 megapixel camera. Let me know if anyone finds it; it will probably belater in the spring! If it is in good condition there will be many great shots. Now to the specifics: The snow depth at the summit never got deeper than 6' as the wind and snow settling took care of this, however the drifts were quite deep in places. Althought, I could not see to any real distances do to the clouds, the north ridge which extends to the west of the summit must have had some avalanches. The cornices would build up and they would disapear, meaning that they broke away. The summit register was buried in hard crusted snow, the only thing I could see was the very tips of the summit rocks and the stunted Limber pine tips just to the immediate south of the summit. The winds bust have gusted to greater than 70 mph as I could not stand and I would slip on the crusted snow! The wind would cause a crust to form almost immediately. The winds could have been blowing higher, but I did not have a way of measuring them. I Temps were as follows: NOC lows were 1 - 5 above zereo to a high of 27 during the day. I was very well protected as the snow buildups would help protect me, however, I had to dig out every 3- 4 hours to keep the tent from collaspsing. The snow would build up at its deepest on the lee side of the peak, the NE and North. The wind direction was out of the South and at time the SE. I spent 95% of my time in my sleeping bag snug and warm reading and listening to the howling wind; the winds would not allow me to get much sleep!! There were tranquil moments too. Between the 3 fronts the wind would die down to almost a slight breeze and it would stop snowing or snow lightly. It was at these times I would go out and venture around. Otherwise, I stayed inside, or digging out my tent. I took 10 days worth of food for contigencies to be on the safe side and of course plenty of warm expidition gear. I came off the mountai on Tuesday; I skiied down the south side to Vivian Creek. There was no way that one could hike up in boots or snow shoes due to the snow depth and winds. Skiing is the only way. My next adventure is to do the same trip in winter to the White Mountains and camp on the summit of White Mtn Peak outside of the summit lab. It is not inhabited in the winter anyway. I want to be away from any inhabitations so as not to be close the labs, because I want to rely soley on myself. I DON NOT RECOMMEND THAT ANYONE DO WHAT I DID AS IT COULD BE YOUR LAST TRIP, UNLESS YOU HAVE EXTENSIVE MOUNTAINEERING EXPERIENCE. I hve experience on Danali, Huascuran(Peru), Ancancagua(Argentina), Cho Oyu(Nepal-Tibet). I had a great time and enjoyed myself; I enjoy pitting myself against the elements with calculated risks. NOT taking unkown risks where I am unfamiliar.

He later added:
I posted what I thought at the time was important to me. I tried to give information to those who were thinking of going up themselves. I have a Bibler I tent that is a single membrane tent, meaning it had no fly. I pitched it inside of the rock corral on the northeast side of the summet as close to the rock wall as possible. I had to use my ice axe to chip away some of the frozen snow to put the tent up. I used guy lines 7 of them to stablize the tent. Yes, the wind was deafning and my guy lines would work loose. I had ear plugs, but still I could hear the wind. The snow was deep enouh to protect my stove and melt water at the tent entrance which was practically abutted against the rocks. At these times the snow would blow in and what a mess. I have no difficulty acclimitzing at 11500'. I took 3 liters of cooking fuel. I have never had AMS. I did have problems keeping the snow out of the tent. I was constanly sweeping it out. Also, I want to mention that the winds were out of the south and SE. For the most part I was "protected" from the brunt of the winds as the summit blocked most of the strongest winds. It was far from calm! I rarely slept, but for the most part I was comfortable. I did not weigh my pack, so I do not know what it weighed. I am a strong hiker and I can normally make the summit in 4 - 5 hours on a good day; it took my 11 hours this time.This was my 23rd ascent. I did this two years ago in late Feb 2006 if some of you remember my post.

I personally believe that Stan's posts were exactly what they appear to be. I have spent nights on the summig of San G in winter but I would not attempt to do what Stan did. Controversy (through no fault of Stan's) aside the posts seemed to me to be of interest here.
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San Gorgonio Summit Camping in a Big Storm

Postby Cy Kaicener » Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:45 pm

Everything is feasable, but losing the camera casts some doubt on this story for me. Finding it with some pictures of course would validate the story. I would like to believe it. It depends on the person. We dont know his background.
Thanks for posting his trip report.
. Please visit my website at www.hiking4health.com for more information especially the Links.
http://cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.com
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Postby AlanK » Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:08 pm

It is certainly true that he'd need more documentation to claim some incredible mountaineering first. In this case, we all know that people can do, and have done, the things he talked about, so what's the point about anonymously lying to a bunch of strangers about it?

Actually, some of the skeptics on the SGW board asked some good questions, but I wanted them to do a bit of homework. Instead of asking rhetorical questions such as whether or not a permit was issued or whether or not the rangers saw a car buried in the parking lot, an interested party could call the Mill Creek Ranger Station and ask!

Too bad about the camera. If you follow the WPS Board, you know the story about a guy from Ohio getting his camera's memory card back weeks after he reported dropping it off of Half Dome. Maybe someone will find the whole camera on the SG summit this sprint!
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San Gorgonio Summit Camping in a Big Storm

Postby Cy Kaicener » Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:05 am

Good point Allan. I didn't know he was new to the message board.
People on Summitpost give him the benefit of the claim. Its an amazing performance in adverse conditions.
http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=34862
. Please visit my website at www.hiking4health.com for more information especially the Links.
http://cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.com
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