SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PEAKBAGGING TRIP
Mike, Derek, Joel, Leo, Eric, Hannah, and Ali on the summit of Mt. Baldy
By 6:30 am, the parking area was very crowded!
San Antonio Falls en route to Mt. Baldy
Hannah and Eric taking a break near the Ski Hut
Leo and Derek looking back down the trail
Joel and the summit plaque
Looking back to Mt. Baldy as we ascend Mt. Harwood, a "bonus peak"
The trail along "Devil's Backbone"
Ready for long day on Mt. San Gorgonio
We hit the wilderness sign as we climb the steep switchbacks up to Vivian Creek.
The trail then meanders along Vivian Creek for about 2.5 miles.
Eric and Hannah ascending the snowfield
It was too cold and windy for a summit pose on San Gorgonio. It was about 30 degrees with 60 mile an hour winds!
Dense fog and snow made our descent interesting.
Training for the big Shasta/Hood/Rainier trip brought us to Southern California for Memorial Day weekend. I decided to schedule the Three Big Peaks" of Southern California, Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Gorgonio, and San Jacinto Pk. in three days. I was joined by Mike S., Leo, Ali, Derek, Hannah, and her boyfriend, Eric.
As it turned out, it was even better training than I had anticipated as there was still significant snow on all three peaks, due to the above-average precipitation and below-average spring temperatures. The total for the three days was about 40 miles hiked with an elevation gain of just over 13,000'. Throw in some steep icy snow in spots and some true "mountaineering weather" on Sunday (30 degrees with 60 mile per hour winds) and it became quite the adventure!
All three peaks were worthy and quite interesting in their own way. Mt. Baldy was very crowded, but a very pleasant loop hike up the Ski Hut trail and down Baldy ridge to a long service road descent. Mt. San Gorgonio was an epic all-day journey through a wide variety of terrain and weather. Since we "cheated" on San Jacinto and took the tram up to 8600', it was a very scenic, moderate hike (perfect for our final day). The views from all three peaks were tremendous.
We found a cool "campsite" near the trailhead for San Gorgonio in a secluded area. It was unclear whether we were allowed to camp here or not, but nobody bothered us the two nights we spent there!
It was an excellent weekend; thanks to everyone that joined me for this trip!
Looking down on the San Jacinto tram that takes you up over 6000'
Leo, Mike, and Ali at the Long Valley ranger station, where we had to stop to obtain a permit
There were lots of trail signs, except for where we needed one, before we took a detour to "Lotus".
Mike with sardines we found in the stone shelter just below the summit
Joel, Ali, Mike, and Leo on San Jacinto
Victory... three peaks in three days!
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