Monday, February 20, 2012

Mt. San Jacinto, Jean Peak & Miller Peak

February 18, 2012: Got to do some more snowshoeing up on Mt. San Jacinto over the weekend. So far this season, the snow has been minimal. In a good winter, you can snowshoe almost directly to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto in only 3.0 miles. The summer trail is 5.5 miles one way, so the snow direct route is just that, direct. There is considerable chapparal blocking a direct attack during the summer hiking season. This year the snow has yet to cover up the chapparal, so snowshoeing must be done on the summer trail.

I got word that there "might" be enough snow coverage to allow a direct line snowshoe to the summit. I woke up very early and drove out to Palm Springs to take the first tram up to Long Valley at 8:00 am. I met up with my friends Ellen and Cindy. There was also a hiking group that would be snowshoeing up. In total, there would be fifteen people shoeing through the wilderness.

The weather was great to start the day. Clear, no wind and 35 degrees. We were able to take the winter route to about 9,400'. Somebody had broke a nice path through the snow to this point. Once out of the forest cover, I could see that the chapparal was not completely covered. We would not be able to go direct to the summit, too much brush showing or brush just under the snow. Plan B was to take a shot at the Jean Peak/Mt. San Jacinto saddle. There was less brush this way, but no broken trail. A few of us would take turns breaking the trail for the group up to the saddle at 10,400'. The snow was soft and deep in places. Up to about four feet.

Once at the saddle, I decided to bag Jean Peak (10,670'). I led the trail breaking to the summit rocks. I had to crawl my way to the actual high point, but I did it. First time on Jean. Great views in all directions. Marion Peak to the southwest, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio to the north, Round Valley to the east and Mt. Baldy to the west. The snowshoe to Mt. San Jacinto was straightforward on the south ridge. Summited Mt. San Jacinto, then headed east to Miller Peak for a trifecta of peaks.

The snowshoe back to the tram was uneventful. Overall a great day in the mountains. Hopefully it will snow some more this winter and I can get back out to take the true direct route to the summit.

Mt. San Jacinto From The North

Long Valley Scene

Not Enough Snow Coverage To Take Direct Route

Topping Out At The Jean Saddle

Marion Mountain

Miller Peak

Frozen Boot :)

On The Summit Of Mt. San Jacinto Looking North To Mt. San Gorgonio

B&W Conversion

Great Day In The Mountains

Miller Peak Summit Block

Steep North Face

Miller Peak

Cornell Peak

GPS Track, 7.5 Miles, +3,000'

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