Ascent of San Jacinto Peak on 2016-04-12

Climber: Bradley R

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:San Jacinto Peak
    Elevation:10839 ft / 3303 m

Ascent Trip Report

How I chose this hike: My wife and I were taking vacation where we would drive up the coast from LA to San Fran. Before we started driving I wanted to hike one of the big peaks around LA. Mount San Antonio didn't seem to be as secluded as I would like from what I read and, while San Jacinto required a fairly long day hike San Gorgonio was further. The Marion Mountain trail was the shortest without using the tram, so this is what I planned.

Parking: I placed "Marion Mountain Campground" in Google Maps, the parking for the trailhead was just before reaching the gate for the campground (closed when I went).

The Plan: We would land in LA just before midnight Friday night. I would take Saturday to rest after a significant amount of travel and hike on Sunday. If weather wasn't good I would hike on Saturday or Monday, or consider San Antonio, Gorgonio, or Telescope Peak. Due to weather none of these ended up working. I pushed back the hike till Tuesday, and stuck with Jacinto as the peak to hike.

Permits: For a day hike at the Marion Mountain trailhead only a free Wilderness Permit was required. If you're uncertain what permits may be required for your trip I suggest call the Forest Service Ranger Station in Idyllwild. Idyllwild also has a State Park Ranger Station, I called each, but the Forest Service Ranger Station gave more accurate and clear answers.

The Drive: We were staying at Huntington Beach, I woke up at 3:30 AM and left by 3:45 AM. The sun had just risen when I reached the trailhead. I was amazed on the drive back to Huntington Beach by how desert like some of the area I had driven through was.

The hike: I started at the Marion Mountain trailhead just after 6 AM. I immediately climbed and descended a steep hill, at 0.35 miles I continued straight on a well worn path, but should have turned left. I soon figured this out and got back on track. At about 0.70 miles I came to a couple of signs, one listed the Marion Mountain Trail ad continued in that direction. This trail isn't too steep, but is at a constant pushing, not challenging grade. After a while I came to some views where snow-capped mountains could be seen. Soon after this Quite a bit of hard ice started appearing on the trail. When I reached just under 3 miles of hiking I met the Pacific Crest/Deer Springs Trail, taking the right fork. Taking the left fork would take you down the seven pines trail. Here I went ahead and put on crampons as I was slipping a bit here and there. I continued down the icy trail, and noticed a few clouds starting to rise. Next at the 3.75 mile mark I took a right to stay on Deer Springs, while the Pacific Crest forked to the left. Soon after this the hardest part of the hike began with some very steep switchbacks. Just under 6 miles I reached a sign that was almost buried in ice, I took a left here and reached the summit of San Jacinto at 6.25 miles. I had about 180 degrees of clear views from directly north to East. Big clouds were quickly approaching from the south. Nearby mountains had broken clouds scattered around their peaks. Within 15 minutes of leaving the peak everything was foggy as the clouds had consumed the area. I returned via the reverse route of how I went up excluding wrong turns, for a total of 11.75 miles of hiking.

Notes: The sign at the trailhead says "San Jacinto Peak 5-1/4 miles", this is a bit off, I believe 5.5 or 5.75 miles is more accurate. This is the first opportunity I had to use my personal crampons, I probably put them on a bit too early. I believe this hike could have been completed without crampons, but they sure helped a lot.

Other Groups: I saw two groups near Deer Springs Campground, and two more while heading back down the Marion Mountain trail.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5382 ft / 1640 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5382 ft / 1640 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.8 mi / 18.9 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Clear in some directions with clouds quickly approaching.
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4932 ft / 1503 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4482 ft / 1366 m; Extra: 450 ft / 137m
    Loss on way in:450 ft / 137 m
    Distance:6.3 mi / 10.1 km
    Route:Marion Moutain
    Start Trailhead:Marion Mountain Trailhead  6357 ft / 1937 m
    Time:4 Hours 57 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4932 ft / 1503 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4482 ft / 1366 m; Extra: 450 ft / 137m
    Gain on way out:450 ft / 137 m
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Route:Marion Moutain
    End Trailhead:Marion Mountain Trailhead  6357 ft / 1937 m
    Time:3 Hours 22 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Bradley R
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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