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San Gorgonio Mountain via South Fork Trail and San Bernardino Peak Divide Trail

1 review #102 hike out of 495 in
9.5 mi
Distance
4 hrs 21 min
Time
terrain
4,567 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is a difficult one way trail to San Gorgonio Mountain in San Gorgonio Wilderness.

This trail goes by Poopout Hill, Dollar Lake Saddle, and Little Charlton Peak.



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    1 year, 4 months ago
    Solo hiked Fri 08/04/2023 – Same peaks-new route. Early start on the South Fork-Dry Lake trails to Dry Lake and Mineshaft Saddle. Up Zahniser Peak, out Sky High trail to the C-47 Memorial crash site and up to San Gorgonio summit. Descent to the Big Draw rock pile and then returning via the San Bernardino Peak – South Fork Trails. A few side excursions - south face direct ascent of Jepson, west face direct ascent of Charlton, out and back to Red Rock Flat from Dollar Lake Saddle. Another day of great summer weather in SG with a cooling breeze. Wanted to get some mileage on a loop I’ve never done and this was a good one. Dry Lake is still very picturesque these days and worth the hike in itself. Still one last snow patch on the Sky High route that others have mentioned, S-SW of summit (near the awesome view of Dragon’s Head). Depending on time of day, you can navigate it easily with bare boot step kicks or take the high and dry scramble around it. Self-arrest with a shortened trekking pole will not work here with a short and possibly deadly runout on to the rocks. Scrambling up Jepson linking use trail segments with the rocks was a blast, especially after climbing the ice and snow chutes from Jepson Bowl all winter. Tried to first ascend Charlton with from the east but the Chinquapin/Whitethorn thickets had no use trails through. Ended up going down the SB trail closer to Dollar Saddle and going up the west side which was a good rock scramble. Upper South Fork Trail is very scenic in the afternoon and a great way to come down. A few blowdowns left to hop but not too bad. Thanks again to the trail crews for all of the spring-summer tree removal/cutbacks. Having hopped 35 trees on a day hike in the dead of winter here, I have to say it’s nice. Logged 23.7 miles/5701 vertical ft. with Gaia ......................................................................................................................................................................................................... Hiked Weds 05/10/2023 solo – Out on South Fork Trail to Dry Lake Trail to Dry Lake with bare boots. All fallen trees easy to get around even with a full pack but some of the water crossings at South Fork Meadows take a little work. The Dry Lake thaw is really picking up and the lake level is higher than I’ve seen in the past. Climbed the North Chute to San Gorgonio Summit (axes/ crampons) with firm snow and smaller ice zones. Since it was still on the early side with good snow and not very windy, I skipped the chute down climb and took the scenic ridge route back across Big Draw, Jepson, Little Charlton and Charlton peaks. Decided to make a straight descent down Dollar Couloir since the snow was good enough for the late day elevator ride down to Dollar Lake (empty). From there, I completed the loop back to South Fork Meadows. Knowing that the snow is rapidly disappearing and this was probably the last chance to climb it, I made a long day of it and it was definitely worth it. Lots of deer on the way out as the sun went down. Didn’t bring/need snowshoes and was in a T-shirt for most of the afternoon. The kind of day that makes you remember why you hike. Logged 15.7 miles/5000 vertical ft. with Gaia.___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Hiked Hiked Friday 03/17/2023 –South Fork Trail to Dry Lake Trail, Lodgepole Trail to Fish Creek Saddle, N-NW ascent of Lake Peak. Started early to get the best snow of the day but the rain formed a 1-2 inch crust over a softened base. Used snow shoes from Dry Lake up to Fish Creek Saddle/Lake Peak. Didn’t bother with crampons as there was no ice and snow too soft to set points in. Not the same spoiling 1 finger/pencil hard snow from before the closure as I post holed 4 inches on long tail snow shoes for 90 percent of the trek. There was loose powder above 10K ft. It was a great work out and a beautiful day with the view of Jepson Bowl from Lake Peak worth the climb. Nice to get the closure over with while there’s still snow to travel in. Didn’t encounter any sizeable wind slabs on my way up, but there were a few slopes with pin wheeling and several inches of crust with short crack forming. Never had any falling rime ice hit my helmet but heard some sizeable pieces hit the ground. Made stops at Dry Lake and South Fork Meadow on the way down to take in the views with the wind almost non-existent all day. A fun but strenuous day with the weather not as cold as expected. Logged 13.2 miles/3337 vertical ft. on Gaia................................................................................................................................................................................................... Hiked Friday 02/17/2023 – South Fork Trail to Dry Lake Trail, south-southwest gully from Dry Lake to Jepson Bowl. Snowshoes were perfect for the snow on the Dry Lake winter trail and trip to Jepson Bowl. Climbed the Big Draw Couloir to the Jepson ridge line and then up Jepson and Big Draw Peaks. Vistas from both peaks were far reaching in spite of a few clouds, definitely worth the climb. The top of the Couloir had a steep faced wind slab for the climb out but the snow on the ascent was mostly pencil hard and free of exposed ice, perfect for crampon front pointing and axe protection. The snow on the ridgeline to Jepson was stable, soft over packed powder with some exposed ice but turning to solid surface ice on the way to Big Draw Peak and San Gorgonio. Wanted to spend a half hour to go up the last bit of San Gorgonio Mountain but my turn around time and the increasing wind speed sent me down-climbing the chute. Glad to get this hike/climb in before next week’s storm. Wanted to climb Jepson NE chute but the ice was gleaming and plentiful when looking up from the base. This was the third week of great snow and good weather, making it yet another enjoyable day in the SG backcountry. Logged a little over 14 miles and 4335 vertical ft by Gaia................................................................................................................................................................... 10/11/22 Hike - Trail is in good shape except for standing water on lower part near Horse Meadows after brief rain and a few easily navigated fallen trees previously mentioned. Didn't see anyone from trailhead to S.G. summit all day. Awesome vista points especially above 10,000 ft. Dry on the way up with snow pellets,rain, and infrequent lightning on way down. If you do hike this route in the rain, the lower trail forces you through standing/flowing water so waterproof boots are the way to go. My GPS trackers averaged the out and back distance as 19.6 miles Was a fun, scenic and adventurous hike.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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