TR: C2C with 3 Peaks 4/27/2013

General Palm Springs area.

TR: C2C with 3 Peaks 4/27/2013

Postby hikeclimbrun » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:27 am

Here is the report on our successful C2C on Saturday, April 27.

We started our hike from the North Lykken trailhead at 3:10am. It was my first time here after having done all my previous C2C's from the museum. The Lykken trail connects with Skyline above the picnic tables; even though it's a little longer than the museum trail, I enjoyed it so much more because it is well-maintained and the gain is more gradual. I simply hate the steep, rocky scramble that welcomes you as soon as you step past the museum. The full moon was high in the sky, so we turned off our headlamps and used only the moonlight for guidance. The group was comprised of 8 individuals; after regrouping at the Lykken/Skyline junction, it became obvious one person would not be able to keep up the pace, so she dropped back with another individual and managed to get up Skyline to the tram, then calling it a day.

The rest of us continued on Skyline and took a break at Rescue 1. It was still warm despite the occasional breeze. While I didn't check the thermometer when we started, I think the temperature was at least 70F. Dawn caught us just as we surmounted the Shade Rock switchbacks. Knowing the sun would come up soon, we picked up the pace. We stopped for a quick break at ~4200' to put away headlamps, take out hats and slather on sunscreen shortly after that fiery orb got above the horizon.

The ambient temperature was still comfortable, but I could feel the air heating fast and the beating from the sun felt stronger the higher up it got. We reached Rescue 2 around 7:00am, took a short snack break, then continued to Flat Rock for a longer break and an early breakfast. We were at Flat Rock around 8:00am, spending about 30-45 min there. By the time we resumed hiking the air was hot and I was really feeling the full force of the sun, as no doubt did my teammates. Anxious to get to the shade past the Traverse, we motored on without any real stops. Once in the shade, we were ready to finish Skyline, so we pushed on and popped out at Grubbs Notch shortly before 10:00am. My Skyline time was 6h45m.

Once the 6 team members were accounted for, we spent some time eating and relaxing at the Notch, then made our way to the ranger station where we refilled on water and got the wilderness permit. The combined time spent between these stops was a little more than I was expecting, but the day was beautiful and the temperature nice and cool at 8400', making it hard to get going again. Nonetheless, we were on our way to the summit around 11.

We reached Round Valley in what seemed like a blink, then continued up to Wellman Divide. The mile between Round Valley and Wellman is the hardest one for me - always been so, both up and down, I can't explain why. There were some isolated patches of snow on the trail, but nothing serious. After another break at Wellman, we began contouring the eastern side of Jean toward the San J summit. There were some big snowdrifts still holding out at the Jean saddle, however they presented no real obstacle. Many pairs of boots put a well-beaten path over and around these mounds, we had no problem getting through. No microspikes needed.

We had discussed previously that we would climb Miller and Folly peaks if time and energy allowed. Feeling strong as we were approaching the big turn in the trail near Miller Saddle, 4 of us split off and scrambled up Miller. Spent about 10 minutes on top, taking in views and setting up shots, then we returned to the trail and powered to the top of San J. We summitted around 2:10pm, making for an 11-hr C2C - slower than my last outing, but we hardly took any shortcuts on Skyline this time, the conditions weren't as good and we added the Miller detour.

After enjoying a much deserved rest, only myself and another person were up for adding Folly. Two guys started back to the tram, while the other two people decided to wait for us on San J by taking a nap. We set off for Folly at 3:00pm.

Initially we scrambled down in a straight line toward the saddle, but soon realized it was easier to drop down on the SW side and contour around. Occasional cairns marked a route of sorts, though I couldn't figure out where it went. What we thought was the highest pile of rocks turned out to be a false summit, so we continued going west over big granite blocks and through occasional snow drifts until we finally reached the highpoint. We didn't spend more than 5 minutes at the summit, other than taking the requisite shots. Climbing back up to the San J summit, my fuel tank finally hit zero. I had to shout at my companion to stop every 50' for breathers. Eventually we got up to the top right at 4:00pm, rested for about 5 min, then started to the tram with the remaining team.

We were all so tired and ready to be done that we took no breaks until the ranger station at Long Valley. The last obstacle, that dreaded ramp, seemed to mock us, but I paid it no attention and just zoomed up. Total time for C2C with the 3 summits: 15h15m. One of the guys who returned early had already taken the tram down and caught a ride with some generous hikers back to the cars. He had his car waiting for us when we descended, thus allowing us to save the cost of a taxi.

All in all, it was a fabulous day. I am grateful for the super strong company, as always my team is fantastic. Learned that Lykken is a much better option for starting and will go there from now on. After doing C2C every six months previously, I decided this will be my only one this year though. It still remains my favorite route in SoCal.
Last edited by hikeclimbrun on Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby lilbitmo » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:37 am

Nice work hikeclimbrun, very nice :D

What a great day in the mountains :D
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Re: TR: C2C with 3 Peaks

Postby Florian » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:22 pm

hikeclimbrun wrote:The Lykken trail connects with Skyline above the picnic tables; even though it's a little longer than the museum trail, I enjoyed it so much more because it is well-maintained and the gain is more gradual. I simply hate the steep, rocky scramble that welcomes you as soon as you step past the museum.

Even tho i work at the museum i hate that bit of trail as well and usually start from Ramon as you did.

Good hike report.

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Postby Sally » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:56 pm

Great TR, hikeclimbrun, and congrats on a job well done. Throwing in Miller and Folly really takes the cake - Wow!

Ellen and I and two friends did Skyline yesterday with the option of going on to San J Peak. Well, although we started at 2:00 AM, the heat did us in and by the time we got to Grubbs Notch at 8:00 we were toast. We opted out of doing the Peak.
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Postby hikeclimbrun » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:33 pm

Thanks all for your comments. Saturday was an absolutely fabulous day on San J. I'm really happy I found the strength to complete C2C and throw in two bonus peaks. On Thursday prior I pushed too hard during my training run, resulting in a very painful tendon in the right knee. Doing C2C was questionable until well into Friday, but thankfully the pain went away and I was able to go.

Sally: I did hear from Ellen that you called it a day after Skyline. When we took the tram down, we were shocked to see how hot it had gotten in PS. If I remember correctly, the predicted high on Saturday's forecast was 93F, but ended up somewhere above 100F. Temp was 87F at 9:45pm when we headed out of town. I didn't think anyone would want to go up Skyline in those kind of conditions, but there's always someone crazier. :)
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