Going first time, solo, Last weekend of Jan - Pls advise

General Palm Springs area.

Going first time solo

Postby Cy Kaicener » Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:16 pm

We had a topic called Backpacking up Cactus to Clouds a while back where most of us thought it was a bad idea. It is about thirty topics down on Dec 6 2006.
. Please visit my website at www.hiking4health.com for more information especially the Links.
http://cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.com
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Bottom to Peak

Postby hillbasher » Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:22 pm

I am not quite sure what your fixation with " Bottom to Peak" is. The only true bottom to top routes on San Jack are the Cactus 2 Clouds trail, which takes you to the tram area on its way to the top, and the North Face via Snow Creek, which starts in the desert and ends 10,000 feet higher on the summit. It doesn't sound like you would enjoy either of those two choices, due to their being 2 of the most difficult ascents in Southern California, if not the entire state. I have no personal experience on the C2C route, but do know where it starts,where it ends, and the type of terrain in between the 2 points. The North Face route I have done 3 times and turned around on a 4th attempt. Each time I did it, I swore I would never do it again. You don't want to try that one just yet. Try the tram. Hike into Round Valley and spend a night. Then next morning you can hit the summit, and it will still be a true Mountain experience. If you get back to the tram in time, you can have a cocktail while planning your next trip up into the area. You sound like the type of person ,that once you go up there, you will be back numerous times. Remember that we have had a VERY MILD winter so far, and conditions can change in NO time. People have died up in these mountains, in winter as well as summer. Being by yourself, a first timer, in winter, take the tram and be safe while enjoying a truely wonderful place.
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Postby Mister T » Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:41 pm

Okay, SOLD!!! My plan is to take the tram the first time, see what the hell i am getting into, enjoy myself and at least practice land navigation, and make sure the gear checks out! Maybe someday I will hike another trail once I am more familiar with the mountain. I will let you know how it goes once I go get a taste. I Appreciate everyones input, you could have saved me from a distaster!
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Postby KathyW » Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:58 am

While you're up there, you can stop by the Ranger Station in Long Valley (if they are open) and ask them the questions you have about wilderness/park regulations.

Also, if you're buying crampons and planning on getting into conditions where they are required you will probably also want to invest in an ice axe and then go out and practice self-arrest. There are some good classes out there that will get you started.
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Postby Mister T » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:22 pm

One more question:

Any advice on parking at the Tram? Do you have to pay for overnight parking? Is it generally crime free or is it hit or miss?

Also, if I take the Tram to the top and the Ranger Station isnt open and I want to stay the night, is there some sort of self registration?

I plan on only hiking by myself into the first valley or Tamarak and have never seen those trails, so will be using a map and GPS as my life line in and out.

I have a 4 season one person tent, and a 0 Degree down bag for staying overnight, with a stove to heat up tea, and will be wearing your basic 3 layer system for insulation. Also bringing an axe and crampons in case, but do not plan to summit anything. This is just a quick overnighter.

Any input? you guys have been great, thanks again for the wisdom.
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Postby phydeux » Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:00 am

Parking for the Tram is free (at $21 for a round trip ride, it better be!). Never heard of any crime problems or vehicle vandalism - the lots are serviced by a shuttle, so someone is routinely aware of whats going on in the lots. Additionally, the entrance gate at Hwy 111/Palm Canyon Drive is usually locked at night. There's also an overnight lot up near the lower Tram station - drive all the way up to the station, then start going downhill, and it will be on your left.

You should be able to get an overnight permit at the ranger station in Long Valley. Winter isn't the high season for backcountry camping that would require getting a permit in advance (I've never got an advance permit). The ranger station opens when the rangers come up with the first tram car (8AM weekends).

BTW: If you have a AAA card, it get you 10% off the tram ticket.
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