Ascent of San Gorgonio Mountain on 2015-11-18

Climber: Scott Greco

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:San Gorgonio Mountain
    Elevation:11499 ft / 3504 m

Ascent Trip Report

Arrived at the trailhead after leaving the hotel at Disneyland around 5:30 am. Was trying to decide if I really wanted to do the climb due to the ice that I encountered in the parking lot due to the fact that I didn't bring any of my winter gear. A group of 3 ladies drove up and took off on the trail about 5:50, and so I decided to make a go of it as well. Got geared up and left right at 6:00am. The trail at the lower elevations wasn't too bad with snow, a little here and there, but nothing to get too excited about. However, the further I got along the trail the deeper the snow got especially on the north side of the mountain. Nothing deeper than 6 inches though, and for the most part it was predominantly between 2 and 4 inches. No ice at all so it was mainly trudging through the snow up until I got the final stretch to the summit, about the last half to three quarters of a mile from the summit. I never ran into the ladies that left shortly before me, even though early on in the hike I could hear them up in front of me. As far as the trail goes, there had been people on the trail till about mile 4, but past that I was the only person crazy enough I guess to make a summit attempt for San Gorgonio as there were no foot prints in the snow since it had fallen. Throughout late morning and early afternoon there was a small helicopter that kept circling over me. It actually landed on the ridge just below the summit. On my way back to the trailhead after summating I walked up to the pilot, who was outside the chopper taking pictures of the helicopter sitting on the ridge line. He stated that this was the highest he had ever been able to land the chopper at approximately 11,300 feet. I was hoping to bum a ride back to the parking lot, but since it was only a 2 seater and both seats were taken, I was on my own and headed down the trail again. I arrived back at the car at 6:15 pm after making the summit right at 2:30pm. The snow made going up pretty slow, but sure made for a pretty quick trip back. I was definitely okay with that as I spent the last hour and a half in the darkness since the sun was down by about 4:30. I don't mind going solo with the sun up, but when you see mountain lion tracks as well as tracks from other wildlife in the sunshine, it makes for a pretty nervous trip in the dark to say the least. All in all, it was a great climb with beautiful forests to hike through. And I'm glad I checked off the highest mountain in Southern California. 29 county high points for California down, 29 to go.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5493 ft / 1674 m
    Round-Trip Distance:19.6 mi / 31.5 km
    Route:Vivian Creek Trail
    Trailhead:Big Falls Parking lot  6006 ft / 1830 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:8 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 45 Minutes

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