5/27/18 A long training day that ended-up being shorter than planned. But it was still 30 miles and almost 7,000' of gain including bagging all five of the 9 Peak Challenge summits before Dollar Saddle.
1 My original plan for the day was to try to summit Gorgonio from the Angelus Oaks trailhead. That would have made for 40 miles round trip and over 8,500' of gain in one day. It's been on my to-do list for a long time. I didn't quite make it this time around, but maybe next time!
2 Nice singletrack. Unfortunately it was also insanely crowded. It was Memorial Day weekend, so I knew it would be busy. But I thought this would be a less used trail. Nope. The parking lot was overflowing and the trail was a zoo all the way up to San Bernadino Peak.
3 A view of Santiago poking through the marine layer.
4 A cool look at the marine layer far below with Mt. Baldy in the distance.
5 Less than an hour later, and you can see the marine layer receding away.
6 The Washington Monument below San Bernadino Peak. I don't think I passed by this last time I was here in the snow.
7 Made it to San Bernadino Peak at 10,649'. As far as I had ever been on this trail previously. Fortunately, the crowds today instantly dissapeared past this point.
8 Nice view of San Jacinto from the top.
9 View of Big Bear Lake.
10 Not too much further, and I'm on top of East San Bernadino Peak looking back at San Bernadino Peak.
11 Gorgonio still seems so far away, it almost looks like a different mountain range. And it's starting to become clear just how much negative gain there is on the ridge to get there. I'm starting to realize my destination for the day may have to change.
12 Only time I've ever seen both San Gorgonio and San Jacinto together like this. Pretty cool view.
13 360 view from East San Bernadino Peak.
14 The only patch of snow I would walk across all day. At about 10,600'.
15 Moving on quickly, I couldn't imagine there would be a nice sign like this at the top of the little use trail coming up from Momyer. So I mistakingly thought it was the next junction, which is the one that really goes to Trail Fork Springs. So I ended-up wasting around 30min heading a little ways down to Momyer and route finding on that unmaintained trail before realizing my error and getting back on track. This lost time officially ended my hopes of doing the full 40 miles for Gorgonio today.
16 So I decided to turn the day into bagging as many peaks from the 9 Peak Challenge as I could in one day. I had 2 already, and had 3 more before Dollar Saddle, which seemed like a realistic goal. Here I find a sign-in box atop the rock scramble that is Shields Peak.
17 Looking back at East San Bernadino. The 9 Peak Challenge includes nine peaks on the ridgeline leading up to San Gorgonio that are all above 10,500'. The challenge is to bag them all. Most people do it as a multi-day backpacking trip. I'm trying to see how many I can bag in one day.
18 A look down the North side in the area of the South Fork trail. This whole area has been closed for the last few years because of the huge fire. It's just now starting to re-open.
19 Gorgonio still seems like a ridiculously long ways away.
20 360 view from Shields Peak.
21 Dropping down through the burn area to Dollar Saddle. This area just re-opened late last summer.
22 Made it to the saddle. I sat there for a long, long time debating about whether to still attempt the summit. It would only be another 7.2mi and 1,500' gain round trip. But there was still quite a bit of uphill on the way back, so it would mean a really late night. So I decided to call it a day here and bag the 2 peaks on the way back that I had skipped earlier.
23 I bagged Alto Diablo Peak (or least as best I could determine) and then also got Anderson Peak (which had an official box). That made for all 5 of the 9 peaks before the saddle. I've done San Gorgnio, so now I'll just have to hit the remaining 3 (Charlton, LIttle Charlton, and Jepson) some other day.
24 The hazy view towards Mt. Baldy as it's starting to get late.
25 The pinkish light of sunset opposite the full moon in a clear blue sky over San Bernadino Peak.
26 The very last slice of the sun as it sets behind the mountains.
27 A few seconds later and it's gone. It's amazing how fast the sun moves when it's that low. The light of sunset with the hazy mountains was a cool look. But I still had almost 6 miles to go and light was fading fast.
28 Full moon peeking through the trees as I get back to the trailhead in the last rays of light before needing the headlamp. A long but great day!