San Gorgonio peak conditions

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    • #6583
      Toddzilla
      Participant

      I’m looking to hike to the peak via Vivian Creek this coming up weekend and curious on the current peak conditions and snow coverage, if any.  Thanks!

    • #6584
      MtnKtty
      Participant

      Check the webcam at bensweather.com.  Doesn’t appear to be any snow at all right now…

    • #6586
      MikeH
      Participant

      Just watched a video on Reddit from some people who, yesterday (10/17), did a traverse including San G.

      They ran into a very light dusting of snow on San G.  Nothing to be concerned about.

      FYI- Mountain-Forecast says it’s going to be REALLY windy (40-60mph winds!) with windchills near ZERO.  Not something to take lightly.

      • #6587
        Toddzilla
        Participant

        Thanks Mike!  I’m hoping the wind forecast becomes more friendly closer to the weekend.  I’ve been up there before with winds that strong but the temp was only in the 40s, and that was mildly annoying.  Near zero is a whole different level which might make me pass on the hike.

    • #6588
      Bo
      Participant

      https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=34.1006&lon=-116.8286

      Friday
      Mostly sunny, with a high near 46.

      Friday Night
      Mostly clear, with a low around 36.

      Saturday
      Sunny, with a high near 40. Breezy.

      Saturday Night
      A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Breezy.

      Sunday
      A slight chance of snow showers. Sunny, with a high near 32. Breezy.

      Sunday Night
      Mostly clear, with a low around 27.

    • #6598
      Joe
      Participant

      Reached the summit via Vivian Creek yesterday 10/29/2022.
      – The trail was clear of all ice and snow, only mere traces in the shade above 11,200′
      – The summit was light and breezy. Perhaps mid-forties in the shade but the sun does a lot to counteract that cold.
      – Water:
      – Mill Creek is bone-dry.
      – Vivian Creek was flowing decently. Def. more than a trickle (able to bag). But only for the first 3/4 miles once you reach the creek on the ascent. Further up it is boggy and hard to bag.
      – Next water (that I noticed) was High Creek. FL=lowing well, clear, and def more than a trickle. Strong even.

       

    • #6604
      MikeH
      Participant

      Good info.  Thanks Joe.

    • #6626
      Brad
      Participant

      Considering climbing San Gorgonio via the South Fork trail in early December, conditions permitting.  Jon King’s San Jacinto trail report indicates that San Jacinto is easily doable with microspikes, but San Gorgonio may have received more snow.  Does anyone have experience hiking the South Fork trail in similar conditions?

      • #6633
        hiker girl
        Participant

        Jon’s latest report has trails getting icy from the melt/freeze now.

    • #6627
      Bo
      Participant

      Hi Brad.  You can’t be too safe with crampons, an ice axe, self-arrest experience, and a PLB.  You can check out the slope angles at the link below and see the terrain is longer & steeper than all but the north slopes of San J.

      https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=34.10077,-116.82439&z=15&b=t&o=f%2Cr&n=1,0.25&a=sf

      • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Bo.
    • #6629
      Brad
      Participant

      Thanks Bo.  I have crampons, ice axe, self-arrest experience, and an inReach.  The highest terrain is south facing  which is nice but the going will be slow if there’s deep snow, a concern with the short days.

      • #6632
        hiker girl
        Participant

        Hi Brad!

        This past late winter/early spring, when San G South Fork side had couple feet of snow, strong hiking group I hike with just hiked to Dry Lake.  10 or 11 mi day up to 10,000K and good work in snowshoes esp with the short winter days.  Dry Lake was GORGEOUS in snow and ice and made for some really nice day hiking!

        Lead and friends have climbing xp and ski xp and know snow.  They could tell when bowls/couloirs could avalanche/had ice layer, and also when their friends tried to peak it and sunk way deep in postholes in the couloirs.

        I know on Jac the peak had light snow then rain then snow, so an ice layer, and lower elevations of San J heavy rain followed with snow and icing of trees and then treefall with heavy winds.  Assuming same may have occurred on San G?

    • #6635
      Brad
      Participant

      Thanks very much hiker girl.

      • #6636
        hiker girl
        Participant

        You’re welcome!  Can tell you are xp and know the drill; just wanted to give you an option if there are buckets of snow.

        Could not tell if you know San G.  It’s “right across the freeway” from San J but is a very different mountain.  It is large, and I consider it more “remote” – you can be out on South Fork with 30 other people on the trail and may not run into another soul.

        That being said, San J feels like an old friend, and I often run into locals I know; San G is more like a fun adventure each time I do it (and do not do it solo – though I am capable and know the routes – just because of its remoteness).  The Bernardino range is higher, with G and its sub-peaks like Charlton and Jepson above treeline. The range orientation lends itself to heavier weather as the storms often slam into it.  Jac often gets more of a glancing blow.

        Gorgonio and its sub-peaks have more “big mountain” features, like couloirs, chutes, avalanche zones, scree/talus fields, bowls, high-elev snowfields and cornices reminiscent of the Sierra.  It’s no coincidence local people training for Whitney, other Sierra peaks, glaciated/volcanic peaks, exotics make Gorgonio one of their training mountains, and people backcountry ski it too.

        Enjoy your adventure!

         

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by hiker girl.
    • #6638
      hiker girl
      Participant

      The one thing my friend and I learned last fall is that the whole mountain “may be clear” but the north side switchbacks can retain snow and ice.  Even just the half inch of ice on the switchbacks was sketch.  On the Dry Lake side, particularly the upper Sky High switchbacks are fairly narrow as it is and have a dangerous runout in snow.  Also there sometimes is a snow field around Mineshaft Flat up high as the trail cuts across a scree field (top part of the Dry Lake side).  One time when it was there but other areas burned out (no snow), we cut the corner before the crusty icy snow field and went up cross country to the peak.

      Best to do South Fork/Dollar/Dry with someone who knows it in winter conditions.

    • #6641
      Brad
      Participant

      That’s useful information hiker girl, thank you.  I hiked the PCT from the Whitewater Preserve to Wrightwood in March, and had a permit to climb San G from Fish Creek (camped in the snow at Fish Creek Camp) but decided it was too icy then, especially the Sky High switchbacks as you pointed out.  That was my introduction to the San Bernardino mountains (have hiked most of the rest of the PCT in California, and was saving section C until this year).  The Dollar Lake route looks better than Dry Lake to Sky High, but perhaps Vivian Creek is easiest during snow?  Am traveling to California for work in early December and will see what sort of melting happens — if not enough I’ll join a PCT trailwork crew in the Sierra Pelona for the weekend instead that I’ve worked with previously.  Am 60 years old and not looking for extreme mountaineering experiences!

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