10/12/2016 at 2:52 pm #1065Kenny GParticipant
On Oct 1, I took a trip up to San Bernardino East Peak. I left from the Momyer-Alger Creek Trail head, and took the unmaintained trail (SBNF trail 1E06). This trail is very strenuous, gaining 5100 feet over 7.2 mi. Additionally, there is no water available on this trail, with long stretches with no tree cover. Due to the unmaintained nature of this trail, frequent obstructions will need to be climbed over, and brush is very overgrown. Long durable pants are required.
After turning onto 1E06 from the Momyer trail, you enter the 2011 Momyer Fire burn scar. I found the trail very easy to follow through the scar, switchbacking up the slope, sometimes leaving the scar and then back in again. In areas outside of the burn scar, frequent down trees across the trail will require you to climb over them. A couple of trees are impractical to climb over, given the close spacing and thickness of the branches, and will require you to walk around. Occasionally, the trail became a bit more difficult to follow with all of the pine needles on the ground. It was easy to miss the switchbacks descending, requiring a short retracing of my steps.
Around 8300 ft up, the trail leaves the burn scar for good. the next half mile is the last of consistent tree cover until reaching the divide trail.
Starting around 8900 ft is the beginning of what everyone warns of on this trail. I call it Buckthorn Hell. Durable pants are a necessity. The trail is very overgrown with manzanita and buckthorn. Even wearing jeans, I could feel the buckthorn poking my legs. Generally, the trail is easy to follow here, but will require pushing through the brush.
Around 9800 ft, the manzanita and buckthorn disappears, and only a few switchbacks are left. Use caution on this section. If you miss a switch back, you can find yourself on steep, loose talus.
Crossing 10000 ft, the trail stops switchbacking for about 3/4 mi. There are a couple of places where rock slides have crossed the trail. They have been mostly leveled out again, but I found a few large, unstable rocks making up the trail.
Around 10300 ft, the trail makes the last switchback. A quarter mile later the trail ends at San Bernardino Divide Trail. A half mile after that, the summit register can be found on a large rock pile with a small spur trail leading up.
I met someone who was decending shortly after taking 1E06, but otherwise had the trail to myself the entire time before joining San Bernardino Divide Trail.
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