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So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

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So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby Phenom » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:04 am

Need some suggestions for a good day hike or climb to a neat summit in SoCal! Going to be in the Escondido area for a couple weeks in late April and early May at one of our timeshare condo's. I plan on taking a day to hit up a peak or two in the general area, preferably within a couple hours of Escondido. Anywhere from 5-12 hours round trip will do, if I need an axe and crampons, snowshoes, ...etc, I can pack those along. Class 3 and 4 terrain is fine, something with some decent elevation gain, say 3,000 to 6,000 vertical feet. I'll be solo on this one, so anything requiring a belay won't be possible. I've been looking a little at San Jacinto, though any input about other possible peaks in the area would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby Alex Wood » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:24 am

Phenom wrote:Need some suggestions for a good day hike or climb to a neat summit in SoCal! Going to be in the Escondido area for a couple weeks in late April and early May at one of our timeshare condo's. I plan on taking a day to hit up a peak or two in the general area, preferably within a couple hours of Escondido. Anywhere from 5-12 hours round trip will do, if I need an axe and crampons, snowshoes, ...etc, I can pack those along. Class 3 and 4 terrain is fine, something with some decent elevation gain, say 3,000 to 6,000 vertical feet. I'll be solo on this one, so anything requiring a belay won't be possible. I've been looking a little at San Jacinto, though any input about other possible peaks in the area would be greatly appreciated.


If your going to be in Southern California I would definitely plan on San Jacinto. It is just really really awesome and the views are out of this world. Another peak recommendation would be Toro Peak although you can't legally access the summit. The views are awesome and it is a really neat area. Tahquitz Peak, close to Idyllwild, is really cool too and you could do that and Red Tahquitz (some scrambling required, 3rd class or less I believe).
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby fatdad » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:18 pm

I'm surprised by how few replies you've gotten given all the So Cal folks on this site.

Given that you're heading up from Escondido, I'd say San Jacinto is the logical choice but I'd prefer San Gorgonio. The Vivian Creek trailhead won't be that much farther of a drive. It's a good hike: about 16 miles r/t with over 5,000 ft. of gain. Tallest in So Cal. Ordinarily you'd need some snow gear in April but this year, who knows? If you could get a couple of days and recover well, why not try both?
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby norco17 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:15 pm

Alex Wood wrote:Tahquitz Peak, close to Idyllwild, is really cool too and you could do that and Red Tahquitz (some scrambling required, 3rd class or less I believe).

No scrambling required for red tahquitz. Iron mountain is a little farther away, but still within the range you stated. You said up to 12 hours round trip. That would put you in lone pine. Lots of stuff there. Does it have to be a peak or would other hikes interest you?
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby phydeux » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:50 am

if this is your first time in the area, try going up Mt. San Jacinto via the Palm Springs Tramway. Easy to get to, easy to hike (11 miles RT on well-traveled trail), and great view from the top. The Tram will cost you a little less than $25/person, but its worth it to do it at least once. From the top its a fairly route trail hike up to the summit and its great 360 degree view (better than neighboring San Gorgonio). We've had a pitiful lack of snow this year, so unless a series of storms comes through before you get here you probably won't need snowshoes. For a map try googling the Mt.San Jacinot State Park ; there's a pdf of the state park area that shows the area between the Tram and summit. There's a BB focused on the area, mtsanjacinto.info, that you can 'troll' for the latest conditions; alot of its posts are focused on the 'Skyline/Cactus-to-Clouds' trace trail, but I wouldn't recommend that trail if you've never been to the area.
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby MCGusto » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:41 am

Phenom wrote:Anywhere from 5-12 hours round trip will do,


Does this include the drive from Escondido, too, or just 5-12 hour hiking time?

Gusto
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby mattherrington » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:22 pm

San Jacinto is my fav here from north San Diego County. Both it and San G are visible from Oceanside (in the San Luis rey river plain) right by the mission. Idyllwild/Humber Park is 90 mins to the trailhead and there are 4 (5 if you count Fuller Ridge) ways up the mountain from the W depending on your fitness level. San G most trailheads are 2 hours on the button unless your going around to Fish Creek (the NE side).

San Jacinto is my fav because there are so many routes you can mix/match/loop:
1. South Ridge (goes over Taquitz down to Saddle Junction) roughly 20 miles RT , 5500 ft
2. Devil's Slide/Humber Park (16 miles RT, roughly 4500) my favorite because it's not as long as South Ridge but early in gets you views E which the latter two don't do - quota after Memoroal Day.
3. Deer Springs - little lower, connects to either 2 or 4 after a few miles
4. Marion Mtn. - shortest at 12 and 4,500 roughly

San G is great too though. On a good day you can see Catalina Isl. Vivian Creek is a beating in a couple of spots IMHO.

Not a whole lot here in SD county that compares to those two. There's lots of stuff out E towards Ramona, San Isabel, Laguna, Volcan Mtn but none of them compare to SJ or SG. Best resource I've had for local SD hikes is Afoot and Afield San Diego by the recently departed Jerry Schad. Best (fantastic) for the bigger local SoCal peaks is Afoot and Afield Inland Empire, David Money harris. Goole books either one and you'll get the idea and then you can get them for 5-10 online.
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby asmrz » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:45 am

I would think San Jacinto would be the logical one from Escondido area. In late April or so, there might still be enough snow on the ground to slow you down a little but several routes are possible. Read the various routes on San Jacinto here on SP. If you need specifics about routes, or conditions etc. at the time of your arrival, e-mail me. I live in Idyllwild at the base of the mountain and we hike in the area weekly. My wife and I were on San Jac a week ago via Marion Mountain TH, RT 10 hours in snow (with a little consideration for my age).
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby Phenom » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:08 am

Thanks for the info everyone! Looks like it'll most likely be Jacinto, though I might try to hit another while I'm there, one I could take the kids with me for half a day.

MCGusto wrote:
Phenom wrote:Anywhere from 5-12 hours round trip will do,


Does this include the drive from Escondido, too, or just 5-12 hour hiking time?

Gusto


I've budgeted a couple hours to get there, then up to 12 for the hike. Thinking about the Marion Mountain approach for Jacinto so far.
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby MCGusto » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:15 am

The Marion Mountain approach is the one I took up San Jacinto, and I really enjoyed it. The view from atop San Jacinto is pretty awesome.

I would say go with San Jacinto if you're looking for the best view, then you can chill in Idyllwild for a bit after and scope it out. Neat little town that I've always meant to spend more time in.

On the other hand, if you're looking for something a bit more strenuous, San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek, as others have already mentioned, would fit the bill. Gorgonio seems to have a bit more "big mountain" feel since you tend to break tree line and follow the 10,000 foot ridge to the summit. Both are great hikes, and either one should make for a great day in the mountains.

Not sure if others mentioned it yet, but the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association has a site with good info here:
http://members.boardhost.com/sgva/

San Jac has a board, too:

http://www.mtsanjacinto.info/

Don't forget both of these areas (I'm pretty sure anyway, unless things have changed) require hiking and parking (Adventure Pass) permits, so be sure to check that stuff out beforehand. Sometimes, especially Vivian Creek on San Gorgonio, can reach it's quota on the weekend.

Have fun,

Gusto
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby Deb » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:04 pm

I've been on pretty much every peak in SoCal so I highly recommend South Fork Trail to San Gorgonio. Exit trail before Dry Lake and tag Jepson along the way, maybe even Charlton and Little Charlton if you have the energy and daylight. Or head to Dollar Lake and climb Dollar Couloir to Charlton, then tag 3 more peaks along the way to San G summit. You can get yourself a couple of 40 degree couloirs on this trek. Crampons will most likely be needed by then so you can have some front-pointing fun.
I'll also enjoyed the trek across from Baden-Powell to Islip (San Gabriel range). But there are so many peaks in Riverside County! Marion Mtn trail to Drury-Newton, Marion Mtn, San Jacinto and Folly Peak would be a great 12 hour trip. PM me if you want/need more info. :)
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby simonov » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:44 am

San Gorgonio is generally my first choice too, but last year I made this nifty San Jacinto trail guide. Maybe you will find it useful.
Nunc est bibendum.
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby Diggler » Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:01 am

San Gorgonio is a great mountain. Baldy via the Devils Backbone is a great outing, as is Santiago Peak via the Holy Jim trail (http://www.summitpost.org/holy-jim-trail/160764). Have fun!
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby dskoon » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:55 am

Sadly, even though I'm from SoCal, I've never really hiked any of these mountains, though I read the exploits and good times of others all-year round. . . :cry:

But, I did take the Tram up a couple of times, and I will verify what others have said, San Jacinto is pretty damn cool, as is the Tram ride to get up there. The Thing slowly spins 360 degrees as it goes up the canyon; how many around the world do that?
Went up once on a magical snowy Christmas Eve, and people were singing carols all the way up.
Went up another time in warm spring sunshine with my son and had dreams of hiking to the top, but the boy was a bit under the weather, so we simply took a stroll around the plateau near the terminus of the tram. That was incredible. Like being in a minature world of the Sierra, down in SoCal. Big trees, small streams, bluebirds flying around, with a view out to the desert. I didn't want to leave. . . Very cool alpine afternoon it was; could be the same for you.
Take the advice of the others, and go do it.
Even John Muir told it like it was, saying the view from the top was "the most sublime" he'd ever seen. . .
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Re: So. Cal Peak recommendations needed.

Postby KathyW » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:27 pm

Keep in mind the Vivian Creek Trail in the San Gorgonio Wilderness will be closed most of the time until Memorial Day Weekend. The South Fork Trail is a great way to do the hike to San Gorgonio's summit. You could do a lollipop loop going up via Dollar Lake and down via Dry Lake if the snow is mostly melted off. You can do a more direct route if there is enough snow coverage by going up one of the chutes on the north or northeast side, but it's hard to tell if that will be a possiblity at this point. You'll probably want to reserve a hiking permit in advance for the South Fork Trail if you decide to take that trail as there is a quota and it's hard to get a walk-in permit sometimes.

The Desert Divide is a great stretch of the PCT in the San Jacinto area, and there are a bunch of little peaks along the Divide (the scramble up to Antsell Rock is fun and you can access that area pretty quickly if you start at the Zen Center).

The hike up to San Jacinto is also nice, but unless you love crowded hikes don't hike to San Jacinto's summit from the Tram on the weekend and the tram doesn't start running until 10 am during on weekdays. If you do San Jacinto take one of the other trails - Marion Mountain or Devils Slide are nice hikes. They can get crowded too, but not like the trail from the tram to the summit.

A great resource for ideas is the Sierra Clubs Hundred Peak Section Website: http://angeles.sierraclub.org/hps/hpslist.htm

If you want to stay closer to Escondido stick with the hikes starting in Section 27 (San Jacinto) to Section 32. You'll have to watch the weather as it might be too hot for some of the lower elevation and desert hikes. Also, there could still be a lot of snow up at the higher elevations or in some of the chutes or north facing slopes that don't get much sun if we get a few storms that drop significant snow this month. There is supposed to be a big storm coming in this weekend.

Have a great time - late April and early May is a wonderful time of year to hike in Southern California.
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