A Chilly and Snowy Trip to San Jacinto Peak

General Palm Springs area.

A Chilly and Snowy Trip to San Jacinto Peak

Postby Sally » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:30 pm

What do you do when you are aching to hike in snow because there has been a lack of it all season, and there is snow falling but access to most trailheads is sketchy in a 2 wheel drive car and the weather man says the Peaks are going to be -10 degrees with the wind chill factor? You gather every piece of your cold weather apparel and take the Tram up, of course.

Ellen and I did just that. Our mission was to have a good time, whether it was attempting a summit, taking a stroll about Long Valley, or hanging out at the bar. Much to my surprise there were many other like-minded hikers in the boarding area.

Upon stepping outside the tram station we noted that it was a balmy 25 degrees and snowing lightly. We obtained our permit and set out for the Sid Davis route to approach San Jacinto Peak. We noodled around a bit with both our clothing and getting the route down. Once on track, we plodded up the mountain in nearly 10” of dry powder on a consolidated base. No snowshoes necessary.

Eventually we intersected the trail, which had been broken in by a good sized group of women. We hopped on it until we got to the Miller Saddle switchback. Here we diverted and took the saddle to the ridge to the Peak. Mind you, although the weather man said “snow showers until 10:00 and then mostly sunny with gusts up to 50 mph,” it was cloudy and snowing much of the day. At the Peak it was breezy (but not 50 mph) and quite cold, so our visit was brief.

We descended to the hut where a gentleman, George, was either enjoying the solitude or was hoping for some company. Well, Ellen and I entered and we shared food, spirits, and stories. As we were about to leave and head back down a group of “younger” hikers entered. One girl was in tennis shoes and couldn’t feel her feet. I was speaking to a girl in summer hiking boots and learned that they hadn’t stopped at the Peak yet. Anyhow, we left them, a bit concerned about their footwear and the time of day.

We hiked down to the ranger station with George and turned in our permit. Upon reaching the tram station we had celebratory beverages and killed time by having a great meal while we waited for the crowd to subside in the boarding area. (The crowd just got bigger!)

All in all, it was one of the most beautiful days I have spent up there. Rime ice covered trees and brush, hiking in and out of the fog, and the beautiful silence of being in softly falling snow, and great company.

Thank you, Ellen, for a great day and could you please post my pictures? Still trying to figure that out.
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Re: A Chilly and Snowy Trip to San Jacinto Peak

Postby Ed » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:54 am

Sounds like a great day, Sally, look forward to the photos. I'm laid up in the San Diego area with some kind of a cold/flu, so all I could do yesterday was check the LVRS videocam. Saw a guy walking around wearing low-cut shoes, shorts, a short-sleeved crew-necked shirt, and no cap. I would not have lasted 15 minutes with that outfit at 25F. Seemed to be with a woman who was much better equipped. Hope he stayed in the Long Valley area. Well, I did see someone on the summit of Mt. Hood once with crampons strapped to his tennis shoes, tough to top that one. Perhaps he had on a couple of pairs of wool socks, he showed no signs of being uncomfortable.
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Re: A Chilly and Snowy Trip to San Jacinto Peak

Postby Ellen » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:14 pm

Howdy All,

As usual, Sally kindly left out that I was very cranky at the beginning of our trek. I'd suffered on Skyline on Friday and woke up Saturday with a head cold. I had to continually re-arrange clothing/gloves/mittens to be comfortable. On top of that, my internal GPS malfunctioned, so we wound up on the trail to Round Valley instead of taking the Sid Davis drainage. After leaving Round Valley and heading towards Tamarack, we noodled around a bit. Finally found the XC summer route that avoids rocks and brush and joins the trail a bit below 10 K. Still, it was a relief to reach the peak and head down to the hut. We came back done the XC route to Tamarack and the Sid Davis drainage. Thanks Sally for a great day 8)

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Sally's summit selfie.

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Picture of me on peak before saying "Let's get the heck out of here."

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Miles of smiles,
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Re: A Chilly and Snowy Trip to San Jacinto Peak

Postby cynthia23 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:37 pm

BRRRR! Made me chilly just to look at those pix! I was in Banning on Saturday and it was freezing THERE. Can only imagine the peak!

But it looks absolutely beautiful, too! Snow is magical--so long as you're wearing the right shoes. Thanks for posting the pix!
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Re: A Chilly and Snowy Trip to San Jacinto Peak

Postby Sally » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:18 pm

Thank you for posting my pics, Ellen! And, no, you weren’t all that cranky!

Ed, I am so sorry that you are laid up with a cold/flu. Watching other people having fun in the snow on the Tram Cam is entertaining but sad when you are too sick to play in the snow, or stuck at work. Feel better soon! At least it has been cold so the snow isn’t melting off right away.
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Re: A Chilly and Snowy Trip to San Jacinto Peak

Postby tekewin » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:46 am

That looks beautiful but very very cold. I look forward to getting back up there when it warms up.
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