San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

General Palm Springs area.

San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby soylentgreen » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:31 pm

Thanks to this forum, I learned about the direct route from the ranger station to the summit of San Jacinto. I've seen it called the Sid Davis route or the Tamarack route. For those who don't know, it's almost a perfectly straight shot from the ranger station to the summit, which means it's short, but STEEP.

My partner and I did this on Tuesday and it was amazing: perfect weather window (cloudless blue skies, no smog, temps around 30s at 8500' and 20s at the summit at 10800', very little wind, and a clearly marked and packed path. We got a late start (11:15am tram) and were surprised how empty it was: we saw one guy in boots hiking down, and ran into another pair of snowshoers at the summit, and nobody else on the entire mountain.

Good condition snow, perhaps a little crunchy on the way back. There was about 1 foot at the base and probably 4 feet of snow at the summit. Looking at the long valley camera this evening it looks like long valley got another 2-3 feet, which suggests the summit might be getting slammed. I bet all of the nicely packed down tracks are gone. :D
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Re: San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby Sally » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:09 pm

Thanks for the TR. I was out on top of a different mountain on the 17th and had similarly perfect weather. I am happy to hear that you used info from the forum and used the Sid Davis Route as it is one of my favorites year-round. I, too, do my adventures mid-week when the hoards of snow-bunnies aren't making havoc of the tram station and vicinity.

Well, there is even a heck of a lot more snow up there as of this last weekend. Ellen and I are going to check out the new snow in the Baldy area tomorrow. It looks like another sunny day in fresh snow conditions for those inclined to head out mid-week! Have fun, y'all and be safe!
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Re: San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby zippetydude » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:12 pm

I hope you will stay away from the Devil's Backbone!

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/new ... story.html

I know you two (or three) know your way around, so I have confidence in that respect. Seems like several people die over on Baldy every year though. I wonder why they don't just close certain routes instead of waiting till a few people die and then closing the whole mountain. In any case, have fun, be safe, and post pics!

z
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Re: San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby hillbasher » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:36 pm

Ahhhhh come on Zip. You don't want to take away a persons right to be stupid now , do you?
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Re: San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby 2600fromatari » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:59 pm

zippetydude wrote:I hope you will stay away from the Devil's Backbone!

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/new ... story.html

I know you two (or three) know your way around, so I have confidence in that respect. Seems like several people die over on Baldy every year though. I wonder why they don't just close certain routes instead of waiting till a few people die and then closing the whole mountain. In any case, have fun, be safe, and post pics!

z


I guess they didn't listen to you Zip!

http://www.pe.com/articles/mount-824086 ... rrain.html
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Re: San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby zippetydude » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:08 pm

Wow! I had no idea! I noticed that the man who was interviewed spoke highly of how prepared Ellen and Sally were...they must have slipped him $50 so we wouldn't give them too hard of a time when we see them! I'm glad they didn't decide to try and "tough it out" with the ice. That can be a fatal error. Once the freeze/thaw cycle creates that layer of ice, which in my experience can be hidden by snow that has drifted over onto the icy area, it becomes a "no fall zone". Better to call for a ride than to risk an uncontrolled slide down the mountain. Since everyone was okay, I look forward to hearing the TR!

z
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Re: San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby soylentgreen » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:46 pm

Interesting followups, thanks.

When we summited San Jacinto on Jan 17th, we were pretty warm from the steep climb. We had started late so knew we had to get back down pretty quickly. But we stopped for 20 minutes to take pictures, eat some lunch, etc. Although we both had warmer clothes, we didn't put them on, figuring "we'd be gone soon". It was perhaps 25F and somewhat breezy at the summit.

Bad idea.

After eating some snacks, we got really cold and decided to hurry out.

In the hurry, somehow, I managed to drop my sunglasses -- into my backpack -- without realizing, so I fished around in the deep powder snow for a while looking for them.

The two backpackers were super nice and helped me in my search (thanks, whoever you are!) but I eventually found them inside my pack.

But minutes had passed.

At this point, partner and I were really cold - hands numb, it was after 3pm (sunset at 5pm ish) and we started racing back. I realized my partner wasn't holding her ski poles since her hands were frozen. I was concerned about her risk of falling vs. frostbite. Stop her and warm up? Or continue We decided to just keep moving, since usually you warm up, right?

The snow had changed quite a bit (a frozen layer) and our downward trek was slower than we thought.

Good news: We were prepared and had GPS tracking (Delorme InReach SE), headlamps, we brought out at dusk. We had warmer clothes but just never put them on.

We made it to the ranger station a little after sunset, and at that point were warmed up and felt safe (aside from the black ice!)

Anyway:

* Super thanks to those two snow hikers who helped me look for my missing sunglasses (which were in my pocket).

* Appreciation for how it can all go wrong. We had perfect weather, perfect information (GPS, Weather, nav data, etc.) and yet we got ourselves into a mildly hypothermic state and made some questionable decisions.

* Moral: when stopping or summiting, first put on all your warm clothes now. Worst case: you can decide later that you are too hot. More likely: you get cold and make stupid decisions that cost you more time than had you put on the warm clothes.
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Re: San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby Ed » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:33 am

Soylentgreen,

Thanks for sharing your experience. It is one I can identify with. Being retired, I could tramshoe on weekdays, and am attracted by the ability to avoid crowds and time weather and snow conditions. But I worry about the late 10am start, because I am slow. and about the cold fingers issue, because I have Raynaud's Syndrome, and you simply have to take your hands out of your mittens sometimes to do things. And I know from experience, as do many other people, that the problem of deciding when to adjust clothing can be amazingly critical.

As for looking for your glasses in the snow, it reminded of a time when we were rappelling down North Palisade. It takes two rappels from the ridge to the U-Notch. and the anchor for the second rappel was an old piton in a crack on a ledge. The ledge was covered in snow from a recent storm, it was mid-afternoon, bad weather was moving in our direction, and we still had the dreaded descent down the U-Notch Couloir to do. We must have spent twenty minutes digging around in that snow looking for that piton before we found it, and by the time we did, it was almost comical how a small group of experienced mountaineers was exerting self control to suppress anxiety and frustration bordering on hysteria.
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Re: San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby Cy Kaicener » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:47 am

I am so relieved that you are both safe. Please don't go back until Spring.
. Please visit my website at www.hiking4health.com for more information especially the Links.
http://cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.com
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Re: San Jacinto Summit 17-Jan-2017

Postby Sally » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:47 pm

Not to worry, Cy, I am taking a little break from Baldy. :roll:
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