10,000' Ridge -- Spring Conditions Ascent

12:30 a.m. on May 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Thursday, after work, I decided to take a little drive over to the SGW as a part of a planned ascent of Ten Thousand Foot Ridge.

Good thing I had reservations at the San Gorgonio "Hilton." P1060630.JPG

Just before dawn the following day. P1060635.JPG

First light of dawn on the high country. P1060636.JPG

South Fork of the Santa Ana River. P1060646.JPG

Dry Lake, first look. P1060707.JPG

Dry Lake. P1060715.JPG

Ascending the flanks of Lake Peak. P1060789.JPG

The view from the east ridge of Lake Peak. That's San Jacinto Peak. P1060791.JPG

My objective, the high point of Ten Thousand Foot Ridge. P1060794.JPG

Bighorn Mountain, left, and San Gorgonio Mountain, right, both over 11,000 feet (3350m) in elevation, the number three and number one, respectively, highest peaks in Southern California. Note glacial moraines. P1060845.JPG

Approaching the high point of Ten Thousand Foot Ridge. P1060851.JPG

On the summit of Ten Thousand Foot Ridge. P1060875.JPG

Descending. P1060898.JPG

Back at Dry Lake. P1060921.JPG

Whoever said that Southern California doesn't have any decent scenery needs to get out more often! (click to view high res) P1060922.JPG

Bidding the high country farewell. P1060936.JPG

All in all, a very fine day of real hiking, of getting off into the back country. The summit register recorded only one other visit besides my own since the previous fall. The high point of Ten Thousand Foot Ridge is remote country indeed. I saw not one person all day, and this in an area home to some 15,000,000 people.

HJ

10:57 a.m. on May 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Awesome report, Jim! I made it out west for the first time last fall, where I spent a week near the Tetons. I am itching so badly to get back out there! I dearly love my Appalachains, but the landscape out there has a special draw on me now, too :)

8:34 p.m. on May 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks bro.

The Tetons!  Beautiful.  Haven't been out there for a while, but dang are they beautiful.

Though not the Tetons, I'm fortunate to have the mountains near me that I do have.

HJ

9:39 a.m. on May 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Awesome TR.

Adding that to the list of places to see some day. 

12:56 p.m. on May 11, 2011 (EDT)
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It's definitely a good one, and May is a good time.  Dry Lake is, well, dry frequently in late season.

HJ

2:53 p.m. on May 12, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm hoping to summit San Gorgonio this weekend -- on skis. It's nice to see there's still a lot of snow up there, after all the hot weather last week. But it will still be a bit of a haul getting to it with ski gear. Hopefully worth the effort...

6:57 p.m. on May 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Here's a photo of South Fork Meadows from this past weekend. 

P1060676.JPG

As you can see, it's bare well up the side of Charlton Peak.  You'll need to carry your skis probably at least to the top of Christmas Tree Hill.

Have fun!

HJ

12:10 a.m. on May 13, 2011 (EDT)
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well by george I do believe it's time for me to get my rear-end back out west and get a taste of this high country. I as well love the Appalachians, but the west has been callin my name for some time.

Great report and pics hiker-jim, really motivating!

10:54 a.m. on May 13, 2011 (EDT)
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It's good stuff, bro.  Hikin' Jim sez "check it out."  :)

HJ

11:34 a.m. on May 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Jim, great report and beautiful pics. This area is definitely on my list of places I want to hike in the not so distant future. Thanks for posting.

4:45 p.m. on May 13, 2011 (EDT)
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You're very welcome.  Glad you enjoyed them.

HJ

11:41 p.m. on May 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Made it! -- lunch on top of San Gorgonio today. The skiing/hiking ratio left a little to be desired, but still a fine run and well worth the carry.

8:45 a.m. on May 15, 2011 (EDT)
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BigRed said:

Made it! -- lunch on top of San Gorgonio today. The skiing/hiking ratio left a little to be desired, but still a fine run and well worth the carry.

Just curious: What was your trailhead, and how far was the walk 

Ed

11:59 a.m. on May 15, 2011 (EDT)
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South Fork trailhead on Jenks Lake Road, I think about 6 miles in to Dry Lake, continuous snow in the gully just above Dry Lake. I went more less straight up the rightmost of the three north facing snow fields (first picture below, turns out the leftmost "chute" is more direct) and followed the ridge to the summit, about two miles more, so maybe 8 miles to the top one way. The Sky High Trail takes a roundabout approach with some zigzags up the east ridge that add some mileage. I was definitely in low gear over the last 500 vf, feeling the altitude.

Looks steep from here:

IMG_1944.jpg

But this is more what it's really like, maybe 35˚ at the top, with a good runout. No big deal.
IMG_1925.jpg

Left the trail head at 7:10 AM, summited ca. 12:30, with some time outs to chat with people along the way, including a trio of snowboarders and a group of South Indians with ambitions for Whitney:
IMG_1905.jpg
Hung out on the summit for a good 45 minutes in a windbreaker and t-shirt talking with other summiters:
IMG_1915.jpg
After the all-too-short run back down took my sweet time heading back -- long chats with various people met along the way including a very cool USFS ranger named Michael. Back to the car a it after 6 PM --and there were a whole lot of people due to come down behind me. So if you want to slow down and enjoy the day, 7 AM is not too early.

I was actually supposed to go with a group from San Diego Backcountry Skiers (on meetup.com) but unbeknownst to me the start time got pushed back. When I got to the trailhead at 7 sharp no one was there, I figured I might have somehow missed the meetup and was behind the group so I boogied up the trail, asking people along the way if they had seen any other skiers. By the time I concluded they were probably somewhere behind me, I didn't feel like waiting an indefinite amount of time, and just kept going. I met them coming up as I was skiing down, due to summit I'd guess two to three hours behind me at the rate they were going. Maybe just as well...

12:37 p.m. on May 15, 2011 (EDT)
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BigRed said:

Made it! -- lunch on top of San Gorgonio today. The skiing/hiking ratio left a little to be desired, but still a fine run and well worth the carry.

 Nice!!

HJ

November 26, 2014
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