North Chutes

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 33.75530°N / 116.6762°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Moderate Snow Climb
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 4
Additional Information Grade: III
Sign the Climber's Log


West Ridge
The view after topping out of the North Chutes of Tahquitz's West Ridge
The West ridge of Tahquitz Peak is notorious for its climbing mainly due to the fact that Tahquitz Rock (or Lily Rock) anchors its western most end. However, there are various chutes on the North side of that ridge that provide one with ample winter climbing. These chutes can easily be accessed from Humber Park. Winter climbing in Southern California is hit or miss so be sure to check up on current conditions before going out.

Getting There

Gearing Up
Gearing up in the parking lot
This is the tricky part. From Hwy 243, take a right (if your heading north) and take a left (if your head south) onto Pine Crest Ave. Then take a small right at S. Circle Dr. Then take a left at Fern Valley Road. Follow Fern Valley Road all the way to Humber Park.

Route Description

From Humber Park, head up the drainage towards Tahquitz Peak.

Google Earth Overview
Google Earth Overview. The route in red is Chute #2 with the 5th class crux section circled with pink. The blue route is Chute #2 and the orange route is Chute #3

Chute #1- Is the first large, confined chute that appears as you hike up the drainage. From the bottom, we noticed a small rock band towards the top and thought that might give us issues-it did. This 800ft chute starts out pretty wide but then gradually narrows up towards the top. Most of the way, the snow was around 40 degrees. Make sure to go with lots of snow cover because down low, there are lots of manzanita that are a pain to deal with! At the top, as previously said, there is a rock band. Its a broken up dihedral with a fist sized crack for about 15 feet. The exposure in the section is pretty good. A light rack with some larger pieces would be able to protect this part of the climb. After surmounting this, follow the ride east to the summit of Tahquitz Peak. The ridge proper is 4th to 5th depending upon route finding. If you drop down south off the ridge you will find much gentler terrain

The Crux
Gene Working the Crux on Chute #2
Steepers Parts
Nearing the top of Chute #2

Chute #2- This is the second large chute seen on the right while hiking up the drainage. This is a very straightforward climb up snow that is around 40 degrees with the top part being close to 45 degrees. Like Chute #1, Chute #2 starts out wide and become very narrow at the top. This chute has avalanche threat due to the fact that it gets wind loading from winds from the south. There is lots of exposed snow higher so be careful. After you top out, follow the 4th class ridge to the summit or you can drop down south to attain gentler terrain.

Chute #2
Good snow in Chute #2
Nearing the Top
Nearing the top of Chute #2

Chute #3- This is a broad chute that is directly below Tahquitz Peak. If you don't turn off at any of the previously mentioned chutes you will reach this one. Without much snow, the approach is gruesome. Numerous downed trees, rocks and stream criss-cross the entire way making travel slow. The top part of the chute is scattered with trees and the lowered part has numerous rock bands that can easily be bypassed by non-technical means. The slope in the chute is around 40 degrees the whole way. This would make for an awesome ski descent with the right conditions!

San Jacinto Massif
San Jacinto Massif from Chute #3
Chute #3
The not so interesting part of the upper sections of Chute #3

Essential Gear

Chute #1
Looking up the lower parts of Chute #1
Ice axe, crampons, helmets, snowshoes, rope. If you are going to do chute #1, some pro would be nice (BD#3 and possibly a #4)

External Links

San Bernardino National Forest
San Jacinto Ranger District
54270 Pine Crest
P.O. Box 518
Idyllwild CA 92549

Mt San Jacinto State Park
29505 Hwy 243
P.O. Box 308
Idyllwild CA

Mt San Jacinto State Park

Current Weather Conditions
Current weather conditions as forecasted by NOAA

Misc an Disclaimer

If you have any more additional information or photos, please contact me or add them to this page. While I can provide lots of information about these routes, I cannot guarantee that the information will be up to date. Always check for current conditions and go prepared for the worst. New beta will be posted as necessary. Thank you!



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.