Skyline Trail

General Palm Springs area.

Skyline Trail

Postby joelbraun » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:19 pm

Hi all, I am coming down to Palm Springs Feb 26-March 9 and wondered if anyone has recently hiked Skyline up to the tram station? I know there has been a lot of snow so just wondering what the conditions are currently? Thanks


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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby Ellen » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:24 pm

Howdy Joel :)

Before the recent weather, the upper section of Skyline had significant snowfall. The Palm Springs aerial tramway (most Skyliners take the tram down) is closed with no expected opening date :cry:

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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby joelbraun » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:57 pm

Thanks Ellen! Yes I’ve been watching the news and repairs. Thanks for the info. I may end up hiking just a portion up and back down.

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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby kwkeuter » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:18 pm

Joel, it sounds like our plans might be similar. I'm also looking for updates on the upper section of Skyline, especially above 6000 ft. The steepest sections between 7000 and 8000 ft seem prone to treacherous ice and snow conditions. I'm planning to do as much of Skyline as conditions allow on March 8 or 9. It would be great to reach Long Valley before turning around. I wasn't planning to use the tram, so I'm not as concerned about that closure. I plan to bring microspikes and trekking poles but no ice axe, crampons, or snowshoes. I've never been on this part of the trail, so if anyone has updates on latest conditions or experience with these spots at this time of year, please share!
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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby Ed » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:47 pm

I do not know what your background is. But if you are not already familiar with the Skyline Trail, my advice is don't do it when (a) it is covered with snow and (b) the tram is not operating. The chances of getting into a sticky situation you can't handle on the upper part of the trail are high. Simply not knowing the route can lead you into a more dangerous situation than the not-so-safe route itself. The tram station not in operation could make a rescue more difficult. You could be lucky and have a good day, but that is not something to count on.
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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby joelbraun » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:37 am

Yes due to the conditions of heavy snow I have planned now to only hike a portion of the trail likely up to 4300 or rescue 2 before turning back down. Depending on where the snow line is. My thoughts would be similar to those that have posted about heavy snow and I’m not interested in cutting trail all the way up to the tram station only to have to have to hike back down through snow! Coming from Canada I know how tedious that can be and this will be my first time hiking skyline so don’t want to get into any route finding troubles! I’m planning my hike before March 8 as we leave on March 6 so I can update on how far I hiked up.

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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby Ed » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:08 am

Joel,

Glad to hear this, and very sensible. My comments were actually directed to kwkeuter, who I think is perhaps underestimating the problems of extricating yourself, or being extricated, after encountering difficulties, particularly with the tram closed. For example, if you review rescue reports, rescues on the upper trail are often done by SAR people who take the tram up and then descend the trail. And some, though not all, of these incidents are due to people getting off route in the snow, in some cases unintentionally, in others from a false belief that they can find a better route. In any case, hope some trip reports giving snow conditions are reported here, good luck to both of you, and I look forward to your trip reports.

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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby Ellen » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:49 pm

Howdy Joel and kwkeuter :)

To my knowledge, no one has hiked up Skyline to Long Valley since the tram closure. I suspect that folks have hiked up to the snow level (5 K?) or a bit beyond and back down. Putting aside the fact that one would have to hike back down after reaching Long Valley, there is presently no route to follow in the upper section from the traverse to Long Valley. The traverse to Coffman's may be a 35-45 degree snowy slope, requiring a left-handed self-arrest if necessary.

I am an average but experienced Skyline hiker (~6 hours in cool weather but without snow). I've used crampons and ice-axe from the traverse to Long Valley, which adds 1 to 2 hours.

If we seem overly concerned, here's a bit of history. In 2009, a group went up despite our warnings on this forum about conditions. When they reached the snow, their feet got cold and they couldn't find the route. Fortunately, SAR hoisted them out via helicopter near the beginning of the traverse. In 2017 (another big snow year), another group (9 people?) required a SAR hoist rescue above the traverse in spite of our warnings on this forum.

Miles of smiles,
Ellen
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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby Krocster » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:37 pm

Thanks Ellen and Ed for the good advice and updates on conditions. Sorry to hear about the tram road damage and the tram being shut down. I suppose that helps keep us all safely out of trouble!

Joel and kwkueter, I will be in the area as well and was planning on hiking on March 9, 10, or 11th. Perhaps we could team up for safety. I intend to only hike as far as the snow level and back. I’ll be carrying hiking poles and light crampons. I’ve hiked to the tram level once, and to the peak once. My time to the tram level is around 6 hours, so I tend on the brisk side.

Cheers
Kevin
Last edited by Krocster on Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby Krocster » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:39 pm

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