3/27/12 Another Spring storm meant one last chance to head for the snow in what had otherwise been a very dry season. This time my Dad joined me a couple days after the storm for a return trip to Long Valley.
1 Heading out of Long Valley in the late morning after taking the tram up from Palm Springs. It's amazing how much snow had melted since I was up here a week ago. It's a lot warmer and clearer, which should make for a much more comfortable day.
2 The first trail junction and creek crossing. Makes for an interesting comparison picture with this same picture from a week ago.
3 We stayed on the real trail a little longer than I had the previous weekend, but before long we were following cross country ski tracks again on a shorter, steeper route to the summit.
4 Dad posing in the forest.
5 The snow conditions were great for most of the way. Firm enough not to need snowshoes but soft enough not to be icy.
6 Dad powering along with Cornell Peak in the background. One great advantage of being off the actual trails is getting to see an entirely new view like this one. Last weekend this peak was invisible in the storm, so this is the first chance I've ever had to actually see it this close.
7 Things get steeper as we approach 9500'. You can see the valley floor and Palm Springs now some 9000' below.
8 Big trees in the snow.
9 We're just below the saddle between Jean Peak and San Jacinto Peak now and the last 500' of gain or so is pretty brutal.
10 Dad taking a breather. We're above 10,000' now and the thin, cold air combined with the steep climb in soft snow is tough work.
11 Judging by the tracks, there have only one pair of skiers through here, and no other humans, since the last snow.
12 Another look down at the valley floor from just below the saddle.
13 Almost to the saddle. You can see San Jacinto peak in the background. We're post holing knee deep in places here. It's definitely a workout.
14 A look south from the saddle where you can see what I believe are Diamond Valley lake and the Skinner Reservoir near Hemet.
15 Made it to the saddle right at our chosen 4:00pm turnaround time. Dad poses triumphantly here just below San Jacinto peak.
16 Dad's picture of me at the saddle.
17 Here's a look at a mini-peak very near Jean Peak. Dad decided to stay at the saddle while I scampered up to the top. I just had to bag some sort of peak for the day.
18 It was a bit tricky to figure out how to actually get on top of those rocks, but I made it. The wind was howling up there, where it was almost dead calm at the saddle. I actually had to brace myself to strike this pose. Definitely a picture I would never have when on my own.
19 A view of the San Jacinto summit with San Gorgonio in the background from my spot near Jean Peak.
20 Another view from the peak.
21 My 360 summit video for the day. I had originally thought I was on Jean Peak proper, but you can see in the video that it's actually behind (South) of me by just a bit.
22 Then we headed back down. As you can see by Dad's expression here, coming downhill by following your knee deep post hole tracks can be tricky.
23 As the sun gets low, there's some great shadows across the terrain.
24 A look at Cornell Peak in the late afternoon sun.
25 We made good time on the way down and made it back to Long Valley with just enough light to take some more pictures. Here's a picture of Dad taking a picture in almost exactly the reversed spots as the one from the morning.
26 Great snow and creek scenery.
27 We made it back to the lodge just after 7:00pm. Perfect timing. Here's an early evening look at Palm Springs 8000' below. A much different view than last week. After another huge meal at the lodge, we headed down the tram, and put an end to the very short, but fun, 2012 snow season.