Driving directions for Palm Springs Tramway parking lot:
Take Interstate 10 east to 111. Merge onto CA-111 S toward PALM SPRINGS and turn a SLIGHT RIGHT onto TRAMWAY RD. End at 1 Tramway Rd Palm Springs.
The 7.5-minute USGS SAN JACINTO PEAK Quad is the map to pick-up for this route, which can be viewed on www.summitpost.com on information about Mt. San Jacinto.
Helmets, ropes, belay devices and harnesses will be helpful for the climb of Cornell Peak, especially if one wants to climb the summit block, and are not comfortable with the exposure on top of the block, especially in winter conditions. Bring snow shoes, ice ax, crampons, shovel, several carabiners, including locking ones, a light rack with medium pieces, i.e. hexes and stoppers, a light dry rope, 21 foot cordelette, several shoulder length slings, 1-2 1” webbing loops (15-20 feet) and mountaineering boots either leather or plastic depending on your comfort level along with winter clothing, to climb to the top of the block, especially if there is snow on the peak. If one approaches the peak from Tamarack Valley, approach up the south east slope through pine trees and higher up through manzanita (if not coverred comletely by snow), up to a class 3 rock face. Climb up the rock face for about 100 feet to the base of the summit block. Climb up a few easy blocks to the actual block. One can belay on the south side of the block in a notch and set up an anchor by tying off a horn that is on top of the north end of the block. This is a good top-rope type anchor to belay others in the party who are not comfortable with the exposure on the north side of the block, which is about 1,000 feet roughly. There are a couple of easy 4th class moves to get to the top of the block. Descent of the block can be made on belay from the top rope anchor to the base of the block, although it can be rapelled down to the beginning of the class 3 rock face, but I recommend downclimbing by the top rope anchor belay for those who wish a belay.
For those who are good solo climbers in winter conditions, helmets, snow shoes, ice ax and crampons (just in case the snow is hard or icy) and winter clothing would be recommended.