Ascent of San Jacinto Peak on 2016-02-27

Climber: bob l

Date:Saturday, February 27, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:San Jacinto Peak
    Elevation:10839 ft / 3303 m

Ascent Trip Report

Wow, this was a fantastic snow hike. I did the hike from the Tram which is an awe-inspiring ride in and of itself. It takes you up most of the mountain and it’s one of Palm Springs’ most famous attractions. After exiting the Tram, I followed the snowy, but fairly visible trail, to the Round Valley campground. For the most part, this was a mild, woodsy walk to a little open valley rest area, and today, wintery too. It was in the high 40’s, low 50’s and pleasantly perfect, but I did have the micro spikes on and they were gripping the top snow layer pretty good. From Round Valley, the trail stiffens as it moves onto Wellman’s Divide which is a neat overlook area. Because of the snow and limited foot traffic, the trail became less pronounced to the Divide area, but I kept going straight following the obvious terrain which moves uphill at a pretty good clip and runs adjacent to a small canyon. From the Divide, you make a sharp right turn then take this long march along the face of Jean Peak. The snow through most of here seemed to be several feet deep and the trail was basically some prior footsteps. A few times, one of my legs would fall into the melting snow up to my waist area requiring me to sit and pull my leg out. This was one of my first snow hikes, probably done without proper equipment, so this was a little unsettling at times. It was slow going through here because of these conditions. After finishing the side of Jean Peak, there is a swale to negotiate then another uphill grinding traverse along the face of San Jacinto. I encountered more deep snow in sections as I continued towards Miller Peak, where the trail sharply switchbacks and leads back to the saddle of Jean and San Jacinto. The trail became more visible towards the saddle but there were sections still covered with a layering of snow. The slope was severe here too because of the snow and hidden boulders underneath. After the saddle, you veer to the peak and you see the Cabin, which a lot of you-tubers have documented. Then from the cabin, it’s just a short, but challenging climb to the summit. I had a big smile on when I reached the summit. Of course, it was beautiful in all directions too. The snow ate my legs and/or I fell down due to the icy conditions a few times on this 11 mile trip, but it was an empowering one. Great hike ending with the Tram ride back down.
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