San Gorgonio, nicknamed Old Grayback, rests in the San Bernardino National Forest. It is the highest point in Southern California at 11,499ft. We called the local Ranger to check on conditions and he described them as "extreme alpine". Our alpine gear in tow, we set out on the trail in 70 degree heat.
Movin. We were moving fast up the trail and saw very few people. Around 8,000ft we began to encounter patchy snow. With the snow ever increasing and eventually fully covering the trail we soon realized we had moved too fast... we were lost.
We forged our own trail up the ridge we had been following and found our way into rolling hills with melting snow. As you can imagine, post-holing began to weigh heavy on our fatigue and morale. Using our map we could see San Gorgonio and knew where the trail should be, but with fading light, Mike started losing his warmth fast so we set up camp. In the morning our goal would be to find Dry Lake camp and get back on the path to the summit.
Awake. Fresh legs and renewed morale flooded our minds with the energy to get moving fast. After a quick bite to eat we took off and to our happy surprise, stumbled onto Dry Lake just 5 minutes after leaving our camp.
View of the Chutes
We looked up from the lake and could see our route. We were going to Ice Ax and crampon up the middle of the three chutes. Motoring up to the chute, we were filled with excitement and Mike had not yet used crampons before so he had a little bit of anxiety.
Climb. The chute was (as always) my favorite part of the climb. After showing Mike how to self-arrest and allowing him some practice time we began the ascent push. The snow was in good condition as it was in shade still from the rising sun.
Mike doin work!
In my favorite place
The last bit of the chute was much steeper than the rest and this is the view from the top.
San Jacinto from G
Summit.We reached the summit and took in the view.