Skyline Conditions

General Palm Springs area.

Skyline Conditions

Postby TectorGorch » Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:51 pm

Looking to do Skyline Monday...any condition reports would be very much appreciated, Thanks
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Re: Skyline Conditions

Postby zippetydude » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:54 pm

Hi Tector. Cool avatar. Skyline is normally a great challenge because it is a trail that climbs a little over 8000 feet in just a few miles. Right now, at least the last 1000 feet of climbing would have to be done without any semblance of a trail because the soft, powdery snow is a few feet deep above 7000 feet elevation and probably extends most of the way down to Flatrock. If you go up the tram and walk over to Grubb's Notch you will no doubt see exactly what I mean. Since the trail selects the only viable route among the many false leads that end up topped out at cliffs, it would probably be a fruitless effort right now. I have checked it out from below before when conditions are like this, and each time I have ended up hiking back down. Not a bad thing in itself, but that's the conditions right now. I enjoy Skyline and have done it many times myself, but right now I would just consider it unpleasant and maybe even not possible for all the wrong reasons. A challenge is good, a big challenge is even better. But fruitlessly trying to find the right route while slowly plowing through waist deep powder only to get stuck below yet another cliff is not a challenge.

If you've ever seen my posts before you'll know I'm no Net Nanny, I think everyone has a right to go give it a shot. I am just leveling with you when I say that it will probably suck. I'm thinking late March for my next Skyline. Til then, the peak is stunningly beautiful right now!

z
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Re: Skyline Conditions

Postby TectorGorch » Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:32 pm

Thanks for your thoughtful response. We've done a number of Skylines and one C2C but never in winter conditions. I respect your reasoning and given recent occurrences we'll opt out for the "full Skyline" on Monday but perhaps we'll go up till we hit a bit of snow, have a fresh coffee and turn around for a leisurely down hike. Thanks again.
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Re: Skyline Conditions

Postby Sally » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:17 pm

Tector, the latter sounds like a reasonable plan! (Not for me, though...my knees would never forgive me!)
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Re: Skyline Conditions

Postby TectorGorch » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:22 pm

We did half a Skyline today...museum to 5000 feet. Snow level looked to be around 6 and diminishing in the strong sunshine. We were excited to see 12 deer in different groups...the last group had a forked buck, a spike buck and strangely enough, a very young deer hanging out with the forky. Gorgeous conditions and VERY green up there.
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Re: Skyline Conditions

Postby Sally » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:54 pm

Tector, Happy to hear that you had a safe, sane, and wildlife-filled hike. The last time I did Skyline (right before the BIG snow-dump) we saw something like 17 deer, big ones, little ones, and antlered ones, in 3 different groups. Maybe the plants on the ridge are more succulent now that it has rained a lot, and the deer can venture out of the canyons more to find stuff to munch on.
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Re: Skyline Conditions

Postby TectorGorch » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:41 pm

Today we caught the first tram up and carried our snowshoes all the way up to the summit on a warm, sunny, clear day. Microspikes were all we needed (mostly for the concrete ramp) with the trail well packed and the off-trail snow perfect for kickstepping. The summit was calm, warm and the visibility unlimited. Loved it!
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Re: Skyline Conditions

Postby 2600fromatari » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:01 pm

This isn't for the regulars but newbies to Skyline, please be careful. Conditions are going to change but as of today the snow shifted from soft postholing snow to very hard snow and sometimes ice back and forth. My boots couldn't kick in more than an inch at spots. My friends and I went up two weeks ago and stuck to the trail as close as possible. That route has been wiped out. Someone else has gone up since then and laid some good boot tracks that sticks to the trail well until a few hundred feet below the Traverse. Their path is very steep and does not switchback like the normal trail. If you don't have an ice axe to self arrest, a fall will likely be fatal. Boot tracks are also wiped out just about everywhere in the big gullies from drifts coming down. Make sure you know where you're going. My tracks from today traversing those gullies probably won't stick for long either. I also tried going up just for the heck of it to that crag that's South and about the same height as Coffman's/Long Valley. It was water ice up there. Don't think about it unless you have crampons and ice tools and know how to use it. If my tracks are still there after this storm coming up, DON'T GO UP THERE! I had to downclimb after reaching the rock and it was not fun. Keep traversing, and don't go up too early before Coffman's. Again, this isn't for the regulars but for newbies to Skyline who might not know the way and just follow boot tracks.
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Re: Skyline Conditions

Postby Ed » Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:52 am

2600fromatari,

Thanks for your excellent snow reports. Detailed reports like yours can prevent a lot of grief. I think I know how to read them. I'm not going up there! Other times they have been encouraging, and everything was fine.

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Re: Skyline Conditions

Postby Ellen » Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:09 pm

Howdy 2600fromatari :)

Thank you so much for your meticulous snow report --"soft postholing snow to very hard snow and sometimes ice back and forth." Yikes -- I won't be going up Skyline in such conditions :shock:.

Miles of smiles,
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