Hi Brian, thank you for the insightful post. I would be very interested in hearing more details about the Hell For Sure refined approach, how you connected with the folks at Whitewater Preserve, and the general areas you hiked.
I am relatively new to the SGWA, but was able to get in a few multi-day trips prior to the fires last fall. I drew a deer tag for D14 and was planning to do a true backpack style hunt in the Northfork Meadows area. When I would scout, I would usually set up camp at Mineshaft, then we heading out for the day I would cut straight up to Ten Thousand Foot Ridge, traverse the ridge to what Hikin’ Jim refers to as Hell For Sure Peak in one of his blogs (not sure if that’s an official peak name or his name for it, but it is essentially the last high point on the ridge), then I would cut back down to the Northfork Whitewater. Cutting down to the river was sketchy at times, but I’d just take it one step at a time and be extra safe. Interesting side note, I believe I stumbled across the wreckage of the private jet that was carrying Frank Sinatra’s mother. I started noticing small pieces of metal just a few hundred yards below Hell For Sure Peak, then came across what I believe to be a wing about 1/3 of the way down the canyon.
So, your post really interests me because part of the reason I like going to this area is due to how remote and rugged it is. I never saw a single soul (just a lot of deer). If I could explore the Hell For Canyon area, then I feel like I would have somewhat of a good gauge of what lies all the way from San Gorgonio Peak, down to Mineshaft/Lake Peak/10K ft ridge, down to Northfork Meadows, down to the lower areas of Hell For Sure Canyon, etc.
I would prefer to go with someone for safety reasons, especially when cutting down from 10K foot ridge, but don’t have anyone that’s been willing to do that. I do have a sat communicator with SOS, a med bag, etc.
One of my biggest questions is even though you’re entering through the preserve, if you cut into the SGWA, are you technically allowed to be there?