South Fork Trail approach for BC skiers

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    • #1441
      Whippet
      Participant

      Any chance the South Fork trail could reopen early for backcountry skiers?  Pretty nuts for skiers to have to approach San G from the dry south aspect via Momyer or Vivian to ski Jepson Bowl (which is not part of the Lake Fire closure and is open), only to have to ascend the ridge again just to hike back down on the dirt.  Would be a much more enjoyable day to skin up a big chunk of South Fork on snow, and then be able to ski much of the way back down to the trailhead.

      Seriously, skiing or skinning up on top of the snow has to have zero impact on the environment, and something the closure through July 2017 didn’t take into account.

    • #1442
      shawnsisler
      Participant

      You obliviously know the area and what areas aren’t closed because of the Lake fire that was almost 2 years ago. The fire closure area is to protect the public and environment. The original closure was to fight the fire and to put out hot spots. The area stayed closed because of public hazards of burnt trees falling, rock slides, flash floods, trail damage, etc. It will open again when the Forest Service deems it safe again. For it to be safe for the public the Forest Service is checking new growth status and will be removing dead tree hazards. Then the trails will need to be repaired and cleared for use. It seems like a slow process but that’s nature.

      Please get involved by signing up as an SGWA volunteer. Also it helps to contact San Bernardino National Forest Service to stress the importance that San Gorgonio Wilderness is to the people of Southern California.

      SGWA Volunteer

      • #1455
        chris in redlands
        Participant

        I’d like to see the research that supports this claim about why the Lake Fire closure remains in effect. These reasons don’t even make a shred of sense to anyone who spends any time outdoors in the local mountains. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone say that the area is still closed “because of public hazards of burnt trees falling, rock slides, flash floods, trail damage, etc.”

        This is utter nonsense:

        • The hazard of burnt trees falling is not an immediate hazard. The odds of you being under a burnt tree falling when it falls are about as good as winning the lottery, even if you walk under a thousand burned trees. Please drop this tired argument.
        • Rock slides and flash floods are always a hazard, anywhere in the mountains, if it’s raining. That’s true anywhere. Put up a sign if you’re worried about it.
        • Trail damage. If this is a reason for closure, then all the trails should be closed. All of the trails are damaged. There are countless trees down across all of the trails in the wilderness, and washouts are common. This is not a reason to close almost the entire north face of a massif.

        There is no supporting documentation for the continuation of this closure beyond anecdotal stories like this one from shawnsisler. Look around. Where is the re-evaluation of the area that has led to the renewal of the closure? Look at the map of the fire. It barely touched the Forsee Creek trail, yet it remains closed in its entirety.

        This is very frustrating, and I hope to see substantial evidence for the renewal of the closure beyond the nonsensical reasons that I’m seeing here for the umpteenth time. I’m tired of it. The impact to the rest of the wilderness because of the closure is a serious concern.

         

        Chris

      • #1456
        shawnsisler
        Participant

        I am only reporting that the Lake fire area is still in closure.

        The exact reasons why and for how long can only be answered by SBNFS.

        Sorry for your disappointment.

         

    • #1444
      Hikin Jim
      Participant

      As far as I am aware, the “Jepson Bowl” (presumably the north face of Jepson extending east to Big Draw between Jepson and San Gorgonio) is part of the Lake Fire Closure.  I’m not sure that it should be part, but as far as I know it is.

       

      HJ

    • #1445
      Hikin Jim
      Participant

      Whippet, have you seen my Interactive San Gorgonio Wilderness map post?  I have the Lake Fire Closure area marked on the map.

       

      HJ

    • #1459
      Whippet
      Participant

      ^ Very cool interactive map!  Bookmarked.

      Here’s the official map, if anyone is interested:
      https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd510705.pdf

      The closure cuts across the bottom of Jepson bowl, but there’s a solid 1,000 feet of vertical snow that’s south of the closure.

      As far as the South Fork Trail goes, I doubt much is going to change there between now and July 2017, other than all of that glorious snow melting away.  Such a waste.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Whippet.
      • #1468
        Hikin Jim
        Participant

        Ah!  You are correct.  I had forgotten that the closure goes along the survey section line which is below the crest.

        It does seem like a shame to not allow skiers on to the slopes, particularly since not that much burning occurred in the upper reaches of the South Fork drainage.   I do understand that it takes work to define a closure area and that the more exceptions to straight lines (such as a survey section boundary) there are, the more work that is required, but it would be nice to see a few more areas opened up.  For example, no burning occurred west of Forsee Ridge, yet things are closed all the way west to Manzanita Flat.  Trail Fork Springs and Anderson Flat are both closed even though no burning occurred there.

        HJ

         

    • #1471
      Ed
      Participant

      I agree with Chris.  The length of the closures seems too long, and the reasons given exaggerated.  I’m referring to both the Lake and Mountain fire closures.  A winter hike up and down Icehouse Canyon or the Devil’s Slide Trail strikes me as probably being more dangerous than hiking in the fire closure areas, let alone a summit climb of Baldy, San Gorgonio or San Jacinto, all of which are allowed.  Also, it is frustrating that the SBNF communicates with us through the volunteer SGWA, but when we try to engage SWGA in discussion, they simply refer us to SBNF.

    • #1483
      Whippet
      Participant

      Wonder how many skin tracks there are going up South Fork right now.  No doubt the Rangers have much more important things to do than try to catch backcountry skiers quietly slipping through the closure area.

    • #1484
      beantown
      Participant

      Just go do it like everyone else. 12 hours car to car is a long day!

    • #1485
      Billy
      Participant

      Amen, at last the subject has come up regarding the S Fork closure. I have been loosing my mind looking at the San G cam all winter and seeing the solid snowpack up high go to waste. The risk/reward of the epic slog to get in there with the potential $10k fine have not been enough for me especially now that the snow line is so high. Maybe next year….. 🙏

    • #1490
      Mitch
      Participant

      I, like everyone else, am hoping for some positive results by the end of the 2016 Forest Order. Granted, I am not personally expecting South Fork, Aspen Grove/Fish Creek, or Lost Creek areas to open up.

      As Jim mentioned, Trail Fork and Anderson Flats were untouched. It’s a shame they go unused. If they can open the burnt section of the PCT for through hikers I would hope they can open the sliver of Forsee that was burned.

      There is one issue that has not really been touched on though. Invasive plant species. Just takes one backpack or boot that has been around the natural block to drop uninvited life that throws the natural ecology out of whack. Sure, the risk is always there, but a sensitive burn zone compounds the possibilities. It may not be THE reason to keep it all closed, but it is certainly a consideration.

      If I was to choose between allowing the natural vegetation time to recover or allowing impatient hikers through, I bank on waiting. Just my opinion. Disagree if you will. I understand the point of view others might have. Just making a point.

      Few of us have been back there to see more than the handful of pictures that have been released. And even fewer I am sure are willing to speak up about going in there.

      No doubt, I miss the north side of the SGW. Many of us do. That’s why we are all venting about it.

      Meanwhile, hope for the best! It will be back sooner or later. This was a good year for precipitation. A nice step forward.

       

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