Skyline Switchback Cuts

General Palm Springs area.

Skyline Switchback Cuts

Postby Ed » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:44 am

Went up Skyline yesterday, for the first time in a year. Maybe the last time, given my speed.

There are several places where the switchback cuts look like they are regularly used by a herd of buffalo. I know this does not bother some people, but it bothers me, and I think many other people as well. And is contrary to every set of rules on hiking ever written. Switchback cuts inevitably turn into ugly eroded troughs, which ultimately are not even good for their original purpose.

To be clear, I'm not talking about alternative cross-country and use path routes, or the various places where the trail diverges temporarily into roughly equivalent routes. I tend to think those are ok. I confess, I even cross Doreen's barriers in one or two places. But switchback cuts are different. They save only a few yards and seconds, and seem to serve no purpose but give some people a phony macho off-trail feeling. If someone's wilderness activity ego needs a boost, there is no shortage of legitimate and respectable ways to do it.

Also saw a fair amount of litter, mainly tissue paper and food wrappers. I suspect the contributors there are one-time for-the-bucket-list Skyliners.
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Re: Skyline Switchback Cuts

Postby cynthia23 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:11 pm

Yep, you nailed it Ed. These switchback cutters are stupid and selfish. And they need to stop kidding themselves that it's harmless. After several months away from local trails because of the heat, I ventured out again last month, about two weeks after an intense local rainstorm. I was blown away by how much dirt had been washed away by just that one storm and how in many places the trail had eroded down to piles of bare rocks. It was horrifying.

Don't cut switchbacks. If you do you're a jerk. :evil:
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Re: Skyline Switchback Cuts

Postby Ulysses » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:39 pm

The punishment for switchback cutting should be a days work building and/or repairing trails. 100% recovery rate.
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Re: Skyline Switchback Cuts

Postby RichardK » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:05 pm

When we lived in SoCal 2 1/2 years ago, we were regulars in Icehouse Canyon and surrounding peaks. The switchback cutting was savage. The Ski Hut trail past the hut was difficult to follow as well. The cuts were more obvious than the original trail.
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Re: Skyline Switchback Cuts

Postby Ed » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:17 am

RichardK wrote:When we lived in SoCal 2 1/2 years ago, we were regulars in Icehouse Canyon and surrounding peaks. The switchback cutting was savage. The Ski Hut trail past the hut was difficult to follow as well. The cuts were more obvious than the original trail.


You are so right about Baldy, Richard. The last time I hiked Baldy, I went up the Devil's Backbone and down the Ski Hut route. I was shocked at how bad the trail was on the way down in some places. People taking various routes down, and slipping and sliding everywhere. I remember thinking 'I don't want to do this ever again.' I can remember what it was like in the '70's. The trail from the Ski Hut up to the ridge was an excellent, clearly defined trail. Only a problem in the winter and spring when it could be quite icy. I remember the rest of the trail up to the summit as more like a use path in places, but certainly not eroded.

In fairness to the hikers there, the traffic has been terrific for a long time, and there seems to be little or no trail maintenance. And I think that some of the damage is due to the fact that large numbers of people now hike Baldy in the spring when snow obscures some of the trail.
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