11/05/2018 at 12:33 pm #2660
Looking for info on going from Big Tree all the way out. Has anyone been in there recently? I have been to about two miles below Big Tree. But that was as a kid over 35 years ago. Great fishing but required a mile trek through some pretty stout buckbrush. About that time, my father and a friend did the entire length in, I think, three days. Trying to plan a multi-day adventure with my thirteen-year old son. He’s solid in the rough stuff. This past Saturday, he and I climbed Galena Peak via Mill Creek Jumpoff and traveled down the ridge to Manat and back (probably never need to do that again!). He was a champ. At any rate, any info on a North Fork trip would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
11/06/2018 at 6:51 pm #2661chris in redlandsParticipant
My understanding is that from big tree down to whitewater is super rugged. I’ve not been there, myself. I’ve inquired about the route myself via a guy who used to be a ranger at the Whitewater Preserve who had gone up it, not down, and he made it out to be complete insanity to descend. He advised against it strongly, and this was a guy who was a capable outdoorsman and a strong rock climber.
Where is Manat? I’ve traversed Yucaipa ridge from the jumpoff to the mill creek ranger station, and have not heard of Manat. Is it to the east of Galena? I’d be really curious to see that area. East of the Jumpoff is really wild country. “Here there be dragons.” Ha!
I hope you get some good beta, and I hope you report on what you see if you make the descent! Sounds amazing.
11/06/2018 at 10:32 pm #2662stbrnnrParticipant
Welcome to the Forum Brian and thanks for your posting. I believe we met up last month both near FC Saddle and later again in the SFTH lot and if I have that right–many of us online would certainly enjoy learning more about your father’s Ranger legacy and family’s collective SGW history going forward!
I’ve not explored the drainage down below Big Tree nor the general North Meadows zone post-Lake Fire–and figure if anyone had it would likely be SGWA Ranger John H. (come in, over), Chris from Redlands or Hikinjim.
[Suggest also checking out the SGWA FB page to connect to other wilderness users who seemingly don’t partipate here…]
Current Googie-E images indicate a prolonged descent of deadfall-laden bushwack down the drainage, followed by this snaky descent into the wash–there may lie some dragons (?):
BLM currently has a fire closure zone due north of Whitewater Preserve (presumed exit point?) which can be bypassed by intercepting and taking the exempted southbound PCT . Car to car logistics loom pretty large here…hope you have cooperative significant others!
11/07/2018 at 8:37 am #2663
Thanks Chris. I could be wrong on anything I say about Yucaipa Ridge. Last Saturday was the my first time there. I believe from some post-hike reading that Manat is one of two newly named nubs between Galena and Little San Gorgonio. My son and I had lunch on Galena West and thought it my be interesting to try heading toward Little SG and find an alternative route down. By 2:00 p.m. or so we had to confront the difficulty, our slow pace, and the fact that we were not exactly sure where to head down or what further obstacles we had before us. So to avoid hiking in the dark or a real unpleasant night and a frantic mom at home, we made the call to turn around.
What a great place though. I have looked at the ridge since I was a kid and always wanted to go there. My son and I originally were going to go up Momyer to Allison Falls but decided the night before to go somewhere new to both of us and have a bit of an adventure. Really glad we did. The Jumpoff alone was worth the price of admission.
11/07/2018 at 8:52 am #2664
Yep, I’m the guy that was dragging my kid down from Grinnell via FC Saddle. Thanks for the NF info. As for my dad, he was a ranger for many summers in the 70s, and we lived at Horse Meadows. There is a picture in the glass at HM now of Jim White, Pat Follett and Brian Wilkerson (sp?). These were the guys I looked up to as a little kid. During the weekdays my dad mainly worked patrolling on horseback or leading pack trains with supplies for trail crews. He did the same thing for fires and plane crashes. My brother and I were basically free to run like banshees from Jenks Lake to Dry Lake. We used to love taking the old Flume Trail to Slushy Meadows and then up the canyon to Dry Lake–and some years take a swim. On the weekends dad was assigned to an area to patrol on foot. My brother and I would always tag along. Over the years these trips became less about patrolling and more about exploring–good dad, bad forest ranger. That was the period when we spent a few days below Big Tree fishing and where he came up wit the idea of taking the river all the way out. He and his buddy succeeded, but I know it was very difficult.
It’s hard to get much out of him these days. He’s pretty hard of hearing and does not have clear memories. As I am now sharing some of my childhood memories and places with my son, I thought about this trip.
11/07/2018 at 7:05 pm #2665
11/07/2018 at 8:19 pm #2666chris in redlandsParticipant
Man, those pictures are great! I had to remove the “w” from the “httpsw:” at the beginning of the link to see the album, but that’s good stuff. 1973…i’d have been 1. Ha!
That makes sense about Yucaipa Ridge. You probably made the right decision, calling it a day. From Galena to Little San Gorgonio is a pretty serious undertaking, and from east to west is particularly tricky, as there are two sections of 3rd/4th class that you have to descend without being sure you’re going the right way, unless you’ve been there before. Ha! Easier from the west, but still messy, and either way you go, the loose rock is separated by sections of step, deep, loose sand and dust and brush. Like you, I looked at the ridge for years before actually having a go at it. when i did, i didn’t hit it from Galena east, but via Camp Creek, hitting the ridge below Wilshire then to Galena, which was a big day.
If you enjoyed the jumpoff and are looking for an adventure on the south face of Gorgonio that’s a little tamer than descending from Big Tree, you can go up the jumpoff, drop down east until you see the first major open, rocky drainage to the north, then take that until it becomes impassible and cut to the west to the ridge. Then up the ridge to meet the vivian creek trail at around 10,000 ft, about two miles from the summit of gorgonio. A fun day, and you have an easy walk out on the trail after your cross-country work. It would be cool to make an overnight of it, camping above the jumpoff, before you start up the drainage.
The drainage i mention is clearly visible in satellite imagery of gorgonio as a long, even-width white line that cuts north in a sea of chinquapin and manzanita. by the time you get to where you have to leave the drainage for the ridge, the brush is knee height for the most part and very little bushwhacking is required. Some photos from a trip on that route are here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskoYFk2g
I’d still like to hear about your trip down from big tree if you take it! heck, i might be coerced into coming along. ha!
Regarding Allison falls, i’ve looked up at multiple approaches to that area from down around dobbs cabin (looked sketchy) and thought about dropping down on it from Dobbs Peak (ran out of time) so if you make it there, i’d like to hear about how that went, too!
11/07/2018 at 9:06 pm #2670
11/08/2018 at 8:34 am #2671
Great pictures. Thanks for sharing those Dennis.
I don’t remember Allison Falls being sketchy but rather a matter of choosing the right ridge to head up. The problem is that you don’t really know where it is until you are looking right across the canyon at it. You can’t come at it from below. I’ve been there probably three times, but that was nearly forty years ago. Last fall my son and I went looking and I was surprised by how little I remembered about getting there and how blind the choice of where to head up is. I chose very poorly and we headed up a ridge too far west and ended up having some really crappy traverses with some down climbing. By the time we figured out where we needed to be, we were out of time. I think going back, I would follow the creek more and not begin to ascend the ridge until the creek turns more to the north.
On the gully from the Jumpoff to Vivian Creek trail, we looked at that from Galena Peak while we ate. That was an option we discussed. But for whatever reason, my son finds the incessant switchbacks from the ridge to High Creek very objectionable. So he chose instead thick brush and crumbly rock.
11/08/2018 at 7:56 pm #2673stbrnnrParticipant
Cyberbear-Dennis: I’d also like to say many thanks for the incredible history lesson–EPIC route. I’d always thought the “Mighty-U Traverse” around the ridgetops was the big one–but you guys sure came up with something… memorably fearsome! Congrats on completing that and please post more often!
Brian: you weren’t even dragging your son around that day i met you–he truly impressed me with his evident energy and enthusiasm; i esp. dig when dads spend quality time turning our kids onto the wilderness ethos. RE those Vivian switchbacks–I’m really liking the way he thinks. An alternate route is up the gully above MCJO with transverse up over Pi Peak, then NW around the SW side of Dragon. Up and over to SG summit and back down Viv.
About a year or so ago a poster here (HBAndrew) put up a great pic album of that route. feel free to email me at stbrunner at gmail anytime to swap story or beta. Great thread here!
11/09/2018 at 6:46 am #2674
Thanks for the responses to my inquiry–good info and inspiration to get out there more. Dennis your pics are especially inspiring. What a trip!
While I grew up in the SGW, I lived most of my life in Idaho. Idaho is amazing when it comes to wild places and I visited many on foot and in my kayak. But the little wilderness two hours from LA still has my heart and I have so much enjoyed getting back there and hearing from people who love it too.
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