A great, but tiring weekend trek.
I had a grand and tiring weekend. I and a buddy, Matt Brauning, decided to summit San Gorgonio and snowboard back down. We started on trail Saturday about 9:00 and ascended about 4500’ and a sub peak in nine hours of snow shoeing with 60 pound packs. It was strenuous to say the least! We were off route a bit, but could see San Gorgonio from where we camped Saturday night. Our tent was in a saddle between two small peaks in about 6 feet of fresh snow. The sky that night was completely clear of clouds and the small finger nail slit of moon really lit up the snow. Orion came up around 7:40 just over the tent and we could see the lights of Orange and Riverside Counties in the distance below. Sunday morning we ditched the snowshoes, strapped on crampons and pulled out the axes for an assault on an icy slope that could have been a little more stable… We topped two other smaller peaks before getting to the summit of San Gorgonio around noon. We were greeted with blue sky, little wind and a killer view of San Jacinto. After a few shots to document the ascent, we scrambled down about 200’ from the summit pile of rocks, packed our crampons and axes up, and strapped on our snowboards for one hell of a ride down the mountain! We dropped into fresh, deep, white powder and buzzed through trees, over drifts – dodging the odd rock and stump for 45 minutes. The snow was completely trackless and it was an amazing ride down – well worth the exertion of getting to the top. We boarded down to our camp, packed up and took off on the boards again for what we planned to be a great ride back down the rest of the mountain. We only got a third of the way down before I almost boarded off a rocky cliff into a boulder filled creek bed - it would have taken a bunch of folks to get what was left of me back down the mountain. Shortly after that near fatal mistake, trail conditions frustrated both of us to the point of screaming. Matt and I stowed our boards and snow shoed the rest of the way down. The trail out with the constant downhill pounding, not food left, little water, and our heavy packs made the second two-thirds miserable. We told our ladies not to be worried unless they hadn’t heard from us by dark on Sunday. It took longer to get out than we expected and when we called around 8:00, they were VERY worried and were trying to figure out how to call the ranger station. We may have gotten into a little trouble with them…