Apr 8, 2011 at 12:26 am #1271893
Well, it will be my 3rd annual trip. 2009 was solo. Last year Craig Wisner joined me. Trip reports are linked at the bottom of this thread. This hike is unique for the types of terrain and climatic zones we will pass through. I know of know other 3 day hike that is as varied. We will start in the Lower Colorado Desert, and end up in a Alpine zone in one day. No bears in the San Jacintos, so food storage is not an issue. Water is sparse, so we will be carrying quite a bit each morning. Must be purified.
I am going to mail off for permits this weekend. Want to keep it down to 4 people. Already have a friend of mine who may want to go. So, 2-3 slots will be available.
Date: Memorial Day Weekend (May 28-30; Sat-Mon)
Difficulty: Very strenuous. You will need to be in pretty good shape. Probably recommended to do a couple 5,000' elevation gain hikes prior (5k up, and 5k down).
Cactus to Clouds plus. Start on the desert floor. Hike to top of Mt San Jacinto. Then down 1.5 miles to Little Round Valley. Total milage ~ 18 miles. Elevation gain 10,500 feet. Start around 5:30-6:00 AM. Expect temps during the day up to 80F, but a possibility of higher. Night temps usually around 40F, but last year Craig and I hit around freezing at 9,500'. Minimum of 4 liters of water must be carried for first 11 miles, with an 8,000 foot elevation gain.
Hike back to peak, then down to meet the PCT near Saddle Junction. Continue through the Desert Divide country to Cedar Springs. Mileage ~ 25 miles. Cedar Springs elevation ~ 6,400. There a few elevation drops and rises on this section that are fairly strenuous, so it is not all down hill. But you will think you are in the Sierras.
Cedar Springs to Palm Springs. Will require a few miles of hiking through town. Expect triple digit temperatures. Usually around 100-105 this time of year. But could go over 110F. Ground transportation can be had, if temp becomes a problem for anyone in the group. This last leg will drop down along Garnet Ridge, mostly volcanic rock. Then down into desert canyons. Elevation loss ~6,100 feet. Distance around 21 miles. I will treat cold drinks at Starbucks, which is about 3 blocks from our trailhead parking.
In preparation, if anyone would like to do the Desert Skyline Trail a couple weeks ahead of time on a Saturday or Sunday, I will be glad to lead it, if I am available. This is 11 miles, 8,000' gain to the Tram. I can arrange a shuttle back to our cars in town. This is the exact route we will start with on Day 1.
I really don't know how to describe how strenuous it is. I have little experience with other hikers. Maybe Craig will chime in, since he has hiked with other people over the years. Actually it may be an easy hike for all I know.
Please post any questions, and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.Apr 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm #1723225
I would like to go on this one, if you have room. I saw the daily mileage, but what are you planning on for hours hiked per day. I wanna make sure I can keep pace with you. Also is four liters carried gonna be enough for non- desert dwellers? I went from 74 to Fobes two weeks ago and really cannot wait to see some more of that area.Apr 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm #1723257
I was wondering if you made that trip. How did it go? Any snow? Did you take the PCT from 74 all the way to Fobes? Did you detour to Cedar Spring?
Hopefully we can keep it at about 10 hours per day. Here is how it went last year…
Day 1: about 10 hours. There was a lot of snow, so we did not go to the peak, and cut about 3 miles off our goal. We also stopped for at least an hour in Long Valley, since there was no hurry.
Day 2: Was 12 hours. We took a wrong turn (my fault), as Craig and I were talking too much, so the distance was the same (or more) as if we had started at Little Round Valley (as planned). We had significant mileage in snow which really slowed us down (up to 4 feet of it in some areas), plus I had hurt my foot the day before. We went very slow from Fobes Saddle to Cedar Spring, due to my foot pain on a lot of rocky trail. Probably a poor decision on my part to wear the Shay XC flats, with no rock plate. When we started out in the morning, the ball of my foot was one huge blister :(
Day 3: was about 8 or 9 hours. It is all downhill. We took the bus the last couple of miles, as it was very hot, probably around 105F or 106F. We also stopped at the Indian Trading Post for at least an hour so we could tank up on drinks, and watch the scenery — Craig was looking at the Palm Oasis, me at the ladies — also I had to get my obligatory popsicle :)
I think we got to the Trading Post right around noon.
Hopefully there will not be any snow to contend with this year, as was the case in 2009.
If you are in decent condition, you should be able to keep up… or I should be able to keep up with you. Remember I am 60 years young. You just need to do a couple hikes before hand with a lot of elevation gain.
It is generally recommended to carry at least one gallon on the first section. Unless it is unseasonably hot, we should not see temps above 85F on this section, as we gain elevation quickly. Last year I only needed 3 liters, the year before I drank the last of my 4 when I got near the Tram.
I'll put you down on the list. One more slot available.Apr 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm #1723264
I am going to be cruising through that area right around 5/27-29 on my PCT thru. Hope to see you guys out there. I'll look for the little packs and the dust in your wake!Apr 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm #1723266
That would be cool! There weren't too many PCT thru-hikers on this section last year. A lot of them decided to by-pass it because of the snow, and hike Hwy 74 to Idyllwild.Apr 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm #1723270
Thank you so much for the invite! I am not able to make this trip, but am happy to see So Cal events stay active.
Have a great trip everyone.Apr 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm #1723288
Watch out guys, Nick might be sandbagging.
"…If you are in decent condition, you should be able to keep up… or I should be able to keep up with you. Remember I am 60 years young…"
This is in context of 18 miles with 10,500' of gain the first day. Remember that "decent condition" to Nick is probably someone like his son, Joe. 23 minutes and change to run 5 miles. Nick probably takes a full half hour. (Insert smilie here)
This sounds like a great trip. If I wasn't already committed that weekend I would try it (with fear over that 2 vertical mile hill).
JimApr 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm #1723348
It was a great trip, thanks again for the info. We left my buddies house in Pine Valley ( just north of I-8 @ base of Laguna Mtns ) at 7:00 am and got to the 74 at 9:00 am. We went to Cedar Spring the first day, we made it a real relaxed pace as it was the first hike since early December for us. We got into Cedar Spring at about 3:30. There was still about 3 inches of snow there and the spring was going pretty good, although I have nothing to compare it to. Temps were only down to the mid 30's that night. We hiked about 2 miles up past Fobes and hung around for a little while and headed back to Cedar for the night. There was sections of snow ranging from an inch to 4-5 inches on the way up to Fobes with the majority being on the switchbacks down to Fobes from Cedar. The second night was only down to about 40 overnight and a little windy. We left on third morning at 7:00 am and made it to the trailhead at 12:00 and had burgers at Paradise by 12:30. It was a great first spring trip and had alot of fun with my buddies. Got to try some new gear out and was able to lighten the load in the never ending quest for a light pack.
I will have to look for some good climbs nearby for training, might have to resort to up and down a couple of times on some of the smaller climbs near my house. I am 31, but I never underestimate the older guys, my two buddies on the recent trip are 63 and 60(both PCT section hikers). I will have to get with you on gear selection as the trip nears. I am hoping for a good forecast so I can leave the shelter at home, my gear list still has a way to go to get into the same ballpark as yours.
Anyway looking forward to it.Apr 12, 2011 at 12:55 am #1723495
Hi Jim –
Haven't talked to you in a while. Hope all is well.
I am not in THAT kind of shape :)
I probably can't do 5 miles in double Joe's time.
These kind of hikes do need some level of conditioning, but nothing close to being an elite athlete. A good steady pace is needed. Agility helps a lot. Also know when to slow down on big uphills, and pick up the pace going down.
To me hiking is a different kind of conditioning. If we simply hike a lot, we can do some pretty long days or elevation gains. Probably mental attitude helps too.
Sorry you can't make it, you would make a good partner for this trip.Apr 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm #1723718
Hi Nick, I am very interested in this trip. I was very interested in this route after you and Craig hiked it last year and I am excited to have the chance to walk it this year. I have to make sure I wont have to work Memorial Day weekend so I will check with the boss before I commit, but this trip sounds absolutely amazing. Hopefully I get the chance to go, but either way, thank you for making your trip open to the community- I know you arent accustomed to hiking with others.
I live in Claremont, CA so I am not far away. Baldy is my usual stomping grounds but I have yet to visit San Jacinto. I will let you know ASAP.Apr 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm #1723722
I will put you down for the last slot. As we move forward if anyone drops out I will post it ASAP.Apr 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm #1724174
Looks like I am a "Go" for this trip! Ill try to round out my beard so I actually look like my avatar..Apr 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm #1724181
Sounds great Brandon. Looking forward to meeting you and Chad. As we get closer I will keep everyone updated on weather, possible snow conditions, gear needs and any other items we need to keep in mind. Permit requests have been mailed so we should be good to go.Apr 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm #1725919
Got the State Wilderness permit. The Federal should be in next week. That one is easy, since we will be hiking through the Federal Wilderness, but sleeping outside of its boundary.Apr 19, 2011 at 8:49 am #1726552
Thanks for getting the permits together Nick.
Hopefully we won't need a shelter on this trip. I'm getting excited!Apr 19, 2011 at 9:18 am #1726570
Probably won't be needed. But we will keep an eye on the weather forecast prior to the trip.May 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm #1732654
Well… I regretfully have to back out of this trip. I was able to get my time off from my first job (Starbucks), but I just got a second job that I start next Monday at a party/event rental company and I am required to work that weekend which is a busy one for our company obviously. Its been too long since I have slept outside and I will be thinking of you guys hoofing it out there.
Just remember to be careful! I hiked up to Cucamonga Peak on Sunday as a training hike and apparently a hiker in the canyon below fell to his death.May 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm #1734659
Just thought I'd say that I'm interested as a backup. :)May 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm #1734696
Just in case, I'd be interested in this one as well. My group trip for this weekend fell through; it'd be nice to have company for a great trail/weekend.May 15, 2011 at 11:24 pm #1737067
Sorry for not answering, I have been out of the loop for the past couple of weeks.
Josh, you are in if you still want to go. I will send a PM.
Stephan, I will confirm with everyone else this week and let you know.
I am going to be out of state this week, but will have some Internet access at night.May 22, 2011 at 11:16 pm #1739912
Sorry, I have not been keeping everyone informed… have been traveling and/or hiking most of the past 3 weeks.
Chad and Josh I will send each of you other information.
We will meet in front of the trailhead, which is behind the the Palm Springs Desert Museum. Address is:
101 N Museum Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262.
Park across the street from the Museum in the street; not in the Museum parking lot.
Plan on getting there between 5:30AM – 6:00AM. We need to leave by 6:00AM sharp.
We have a warming trend. By this weekend desert temps will exceed 100F. But we will be gaining altitude on Saturday during the hike, so we should be okay.
WATER: With warmer temperatures you need to bring AT LEAST 1 gallon of water for Saturday. If you tend to drink a lot of water when hiking, then bring 1.5 gallons. This is REALLY IMPORTANT. People die on this trail this time of year when they do not bring enough water.
CLOTHES: Recommend wide brim hat and long sleeve shirt, as we will be exposed to the sun most of Saturday. Something like Rail Riders works well. The desert floor will probably hit 100F around noon. By noon we will be above 5,000Ft and it will probably be 15 degrees cooler that the floor.
This weekend temps at the Tram Station were around 59F high/39F low. The Tram Station is at 8,500Ft. We will be camping at 9,500Ft on night one. I anticipate that the low will be above freezing. Night two will be much warmer, as we will be dropping down several thousand feet.
State Wilderness Regulations: We will only be in the State Wilderness area Saturday Afternoon/Night and Sunday morning. We will quickly exit this wilderness on Sunday. Usual rules apply. Chemical stoves only. No fires. No smoking anywhere in the wilderness.
National Wilderness Regulations: We will only be hiking through the wilderness. Sunday night's campsite is outside the wilderness area. A potty trowel is required when hiking in this area. I have a SMC Snow Stake that should meet the requirements.
Current conditions: there is 1-2 feet of snow from Round Valley to Wellman's Junction, which is 9,000 – 9,700 elevation. Trail runners worked fine for me this weekend. Very little snow on the trail to the peak… only a few small snow fields on the trail, maybe 3. I didn't count them. Slight mud on some sections of the trail, but not a problem. The peak is still covered in snow. I did not have time to hike down to Little Round Valley to check snow levels. Our camping area is 9,500Ft and I expect we will be able to find dry spots to camp. I will be using a Neo Air and a thin water proof foam mat. I will not be taking micro spikes… unless it looks like over night temps will hit freezing. I will update during the week. We should see a lot of the existing snow melt during the week.
Water: All water must be purified. I will be bring Aqua Mira Tablets.
Contact me (or better yet Post questions here).
Monday: We will leave around 6:00AM. Within an hour or so, we will be exposed to full sun and it will be around 100F when we hit the Indian Trading post around noon. If the heat is a problem for you guys, I will have my wife come get us and take us to the cars.
Looking forward to meeting you.May 22, 2011 at 11:18 pm #1739913
I did not hear from the 4th person. I think he is not going to be able to make. Hopefully I will find out Monday.May 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm #1739915
One other thing. There is probably going to be zero chance of precipitation. I will confirm this as we get closer. I will be bringing light gloves, wool cap, and a light down jacket for the evening. No rain gear or shelter. Definitely bring a wind jacket. This time of year, good chance of some winds around Apache Saddle and Fobes Saddle.May 23, 2011 at 10:45 am #1740060
Definitely keeping a close eye on this thread as the week goes on.May 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm #1740291
So, are alcohol stoves out for the first night, or are those ok.
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