San Bernadino Peak Trail Conditions

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    • #2202
      HunterGHall
      Participant

      Went for a dual summit attempt of Anderson Peak and San Bernadino Peak 1/13.

      First part of trail is fine, up to about 2 miles in.

      Snow was thigh deep and icing over by the time I got to the base of the final part at 2pm, at 9800’. 



      I did not have the right gear, namely heavy duty crampons or snowshoes, not to mention alpine gaiters, so I couldn’t make it up without serious danger.

 I only had microspikes, which do NOT cut it in these conditions.

      I was also dehydrated after the immense physical effort of breaking trail (being the first up) in 1-2 feet of snow for 5 miles at that point, so I abandoned it about a mile from the peak of San Bernardino.

      

I drank 3 liters of water (what I started with) in 5 miles, then had to stop and melt snow, which was very slow and tedious. I also brought the wrong stove for that job-another mistake, not to mention not enough fuel to melt enough snow to stay hydrated at that rate of consumption. 

Long story short, I was ill prepared and exhausted having made some errors in calculation on gear, fuel, and stove type. Good learning experience. 



      Problem was that there was no reliable trail report and two separate rangers told me ‘most of the snow had melted’, so I planned accordingly. Bad idea it turns out. Thank god I didn’t wear trail runners, I would have gotten frostbite, or just turned around 2 miles in. 

 Very slow, huge energy zap.

      Had to convince a group of young idiot hikers to turn back simply because they had NO gear whatsoever, and were not prepared to spend the night on the mountain.

      If you’re going for this peak after snow and you’re the first up, you MUST have:

      -Crampons or snowshoes – Probably crampons as much of the trail is very narrow.

      -Insulated boots – 200mg is fine.

      -Knee high gaiters, as snow will get in your boots and freeze your pant legs

      -The capability to melt snow for water rapidly – MSR windburner is a great choice.

      • This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by HunterGHall.
    • #2204
      bharmandvm
      Participant

      Great report. Thx. You may have saved some lives Winter can be very dangerous!

    • #2205
      Whippet
      Participant

      What elevation does the snow start? Think there’s enough coverage high up to ski?

    • #2206
      HunterGHall
      Participant

      The snow is skiable and permanent at about 8K’, but I would not recommend it unless you’re very experienced at back country touring. Lots of deep snow drifts, rapidly melting spots, barely exposed boulders, etc.

      Several times I thought I was on even ground I sank into a cluster of boulders that had been obscured by a drift.

      I don’t even think skins would be much help on the climb just due to the trail characteristics. Definitely a small snowshoe/snow approach crampon like the Petzl Snow Leopard would work well.

    • #2207
      HunterGHall
      Participant

      The snow is skiable and stable/permanent at about 8K’, but I would not recommend it unless you’re very experienced at back country touring. Lots of deep snow drifts, rapidly melting spots, barely exposed boulders, etc.

      Several times I thought I was on even ground I sank into a cluster of boulders that had been obscured by a drift.

      I don’t even think skins would be much help on the climb just due to the trail characteristics. Definitely a small snowshoe/snow approach crampon like the Petzl Snow Leopard would work well.

    • #2209
      Whippet
      Participant

      ^ Thanks for the update, sounds like we need at least one more storm and some wind to smooth things out.

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