Climbing Dollar Couloir
Dollar Couloir is a couloirlocated on the north face of Charlton Peak
, in the San Bernardino Mountain
. Dollar Couloir begins just above Dollar Lake (the namesake for this route). Camping can be done at this lake, however, you should avoid camping in this vicinity with unstable snow higher up. The couloir starts at around 9,450ft and then tops out at half a mile later at about 10,700, just shy of the summit of Charlton Peak at 10,806ft. The summit is just a short hike after the climb. This route is a pretty straightforward snow climb. The couloir is very wide in most places and is only narrow in one spot. The average angle for the route is probably 35 degrees with a max of around 41 degrees at around 9,990ft. Aside from being an excellent snow climb, the views off this route are amazing. You have views of the northern half of the "9 peaks" along with views of Big Bear Lake and much more of the San Bernardino Mountains. This route can dayhiked (its a long day that way), however, some may prefer to move more slowly and do a two day climb.
The route is obvious when approaching it on the Dollar Lake Trail
. The North Face of Charlton looms in front and there is a visible scar in the direct center- this is Dollar Couloir. Dollar Couloir is just under a half mile long, but gains around 1,300ft of elevation.
Approaching Charlton Peak
The easist way to access this route if from the South Fork Trail
. You follow the South Fork Trail for 4.6 miles until you reach the Dollar Lake Trail split. This first part you gain about 1500ft of elevation. From here, follow the Dollar Lake Trail
. You follow this trail for 1.8 miles and then you reach Dollar Lake. Another 1200ft of elevation is gained here. From the last part of the Dollar Lake Trail, you will see the route.
Right add the Dollar Lake Trail split, begin heading south off trail towards a avalanche carved gully just above Dollar Lake. The trees here are sparse due to avalanches that rip through during winter. I think it was 2005 when a huge avalanche that initiated on this same couloir ripped down through Dollar Lake and past it. Be aware of snow conditions while on this route! The angle of the slope gradually starts to increase as you get higher up. The start of the couloir is around 30 degrees.
Flagged trees, evidence of avalance activity
At the base of the Couloir
At about 9,800ft, the couloir narrows alot and the angle goes up to around 41 degress. Without snow or with little amounts, this part is very rocky. However, when snow fills it up, it is easily bypassed. This whole couloir is treeless. However, there are trees along the outer parts, but these are puny at best...Once again, a result of avalanches.
The route angle the lowers to around 35 degrees and continues to decrease until the top. While going up the couloir, you think that the summit is in sight. However, these are false summits. At around 10,650ft, the couloir loses shape and you reach the broad summit of Charlton Peak. Head south to reach the true summit.
Nearing the top
Rewarding Summit View
Getting ThereFrom Redlands-
From interstate 10 at Redlands exit Highway 38/Orange Stree and drive northeast. Continue past the Forest Falls turn-off through the town of Angelus Oaks. Turn right on Jenks Lake Road just beyond a large parking area on the shoulder. The large trailhead parking area is on the left and right hand side of the road. Park here and begin the hike.
Taking a Break
Since this page is set up to be a snow climb, helmet (which would be recommended even without snow), crampons, ice axe, trekking poles, warm clothes, sun protection, skis (for those who want to ski this route down) and a good pair of hiking boots. Also, bring lots of water for late season attempts on this route.
San Bernardino National Forest
San Gorgonio Ranger Station
34701 Mill Creek Road
Mentone, CA 92359
San Bernardino National Forest
San Bernardino National Forest Website
San Gorgonio Wilderness Association
A website devoted to the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area with lots of information.
San Gorgonio Backcountry Board
A great place to find current conditions and recent trip reports about the area.
Charlton Peak Weather Forecast
The current weather conditions for Charlton Peak
If you have any more additional information or photos, please contact me or add them to this page. Thank you!