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jimqpublic

San Gorgonio compared to Baldy: Total effort?

I posted this question on the end of GigaMike's trip report from Saturday but I'll add it as a stand alone to get more responses-

How much effort is a spring climb of San Gorgonio compared to Baldy?  Presuming Manker/Ski Hut/Bowl to summit for Baldy and South Fork to summit on San Gorgonio using GigaMike's return route of 6.5 miles one way.

I would like to climb San Gorgonio on March 31 and am trying to gauge whether I'm fit enough.  A week ago with firm snow and bootprints to follow I took a shade over 4 hours to summit Baldy from Manker Flat.

If you have done both in similar conditions a comparison of your car-to-car time would be handy.

Jim

EDITS:  Added reference to the route I'm thinking of.
mve

Based on my Summer hike to San G via Vivian it's effort was [Baldy x 2.5].

If you are not conditioned to elevation (havent' been above 10000 in the last 3 days) once you hit 10,000 it's going to be a slow poke pace one painful step at a time.

Baldy's exposure to 10k is very brief while on San G you are going to be plugging along at that elevation for a very long time (over a mile) plus you'll still have to gain ~1500ft of additional elevation.  Add to that the shear length of the trail (18 miles vs 8.5) and you should have a pretty good idea what you'll be up for.
AlanK

I agree that a lot depends on your experience at altitude.  It also depends on the route.  Baldy from Baldy Village is 6 miles/6000' each way.  I would say it's about equivalent to San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek or South Fork/Dollar Lake Saddle.  The San Gorgonio routes are longer but much gentler.  

Baldy from Wrightwood is a lot harder than San Gorgonio.  Baldy from the Notch or the Ski Hut route is definitely easier.
jimqpublic

Sorry I didn't indicate the routes I was trying to compare:

My one trip up Baldy was from Manker Flat via ski hut and Baldy Bowl.  It's about 7 miles round trip and 4000' climbing.

San Gorgonio from South Fork trailhead to summit of San Gorgonio is about 13-14 miles round trip and 4600' climbing.  Of course the summit is 1500' higher with air that much thinner.

I figure I'm good for 50% more total effort than the Baldy route indicated- at a slower pace.  We took 4 hours to summit Baldy.  I would expect to reduce my pace for San Gorgonio- maybe 7-8 hours to summit.  After a little feedback it sounds like San Gorgonio may exceed that.  Obviously snow conditions play a big part in the level of effort.

My plan would be an alpine start at 4:00 to ensure hard snow for the long hike to the base of the ridge.  I'd take it easy in the dark following GPS track and/or boot prints.  Hopefully I make it to South Fork Meadows by about first light.  The route that looks most direct and safest is GigaMike's return route from last weekend- he called it "Big Draw's East Ridge"- I believe it's also the same as TacoDelRio's "Northwest Ridge" as listed on SummitPost http://www.summitpost.org/route/4...rthwest-ridge-550m-cl3-ai1-2.html.  

Aim to summit before noon, but summit or not turn around at 1:00. (Unless weather, conditions, or fatigue says earlier)[/url]
AlanK

I've done San G a couple of times in winter by more or less the route you are interested in.  Your plan seems reasonable.
GigaMike

Jim, your plan sounds good to me, although I wouldn't recommend returning the way I did this past weekend. Going cross country back to South Fork Meadows can be a pain. If you have not done this before, you might regret it. There are many ridges and gulleys and it can be confusing. I would suggest going down to Dry Lake and taking the drainage back to South Fork Meadows.
KathyW

It took me about 10 hours to do the round-trip to Charlton Peak in January - I'm not real fast and get even slower when I get above 10,000'.   I started out down the road from the Southfork trailhead and followed the road to just above Horse Meadows, and I went up toward Christmas Tree Hill after South Fork Meadows instead of up the drainage to Dry Lake.  Anyway, it was 13.5 miles with 3800' elevation gain.  To do San Gorgonio, you'll have another 700' elevation gain and a little more mileage depending on your route; so, for me, I'd allow 12 hours to do San Gorgonio in the current conditions.  

The more consolidated the snow, the faster your climb will be. By the end of March, you should be able to leave the snowshoes home and you'll likely be gliding along on top of the snow until on your way down.  Up near the summit, it can get pretty icy in the spring.

Here's some pics from January with a map of my route:

http://kathywing.smugmug.com/Cali...an/10903283_5MjNA#761155394_BMRsD
[url]
KathyW

Or another way to look at it is:  With snow, it takes about as much effort to do the day hike from the South Fork Trailhead to Dry Lake and back to the trailhead as it does to do the round trip climb of Baldy starting at Manker Flats and going up the Bowl after the Ski Hut.
jimqpublic

Kathy,

Thanks for your posts.  It sounds like Gorgonio is probably just within my limit for a one-day hike.  Definitely worth a go.  

I was a bit confused by your discussion of crampons.  Are you suggesting that it won't be freezing overnight?  I was hoping it would get nice and firm for the morning uphill walk.

Obviously conditions may change a great deal in the next two weeks.
KathyW

jimqpublic wrote:
Kathy,

Thanks for your posts.  It sounds like Gorgonio is probably just within my limit for a one-day hike.  Definitely worth a go.  

I was a bit confused by your discussion of crampons.  Are you suggesting that it won't be freezing overnight?  I was hoping it would get nice and firm for the morning uphill walk.

Obviously conditions may change a great deal in the next two weeks.


Sometimes my fingers don't type what I'm thinking - I edited the comment about the crampons.   You'll likely need the crampons, it's the snowshoes you'll be able to leave at home soon.
KathyW

Jim:   I you're close, but not at the summit by 1 pm, pushing the turn around time to 2 pm will should work out fine as long as the weather looks okay.    Sunset isn't until 7 pm now.

If the weather is good on March 27th, I'll be heading up the South Fork Trail for the day.  If I do, I'll report back on conditions.

Kathy
RickF

Jim,

My estimate is Baldy X 2.0.

I went with a group in January on an attempt to reach the summit of San G.  Although a few of us had been there on previous summer trips it was our first try in the snow.  We parked at the Jenks Lake trailhead and headed up the South Fork trail.  When we got to the Dollar Lake junction it seemed the trail was more established on the way to Dollar Lake.  As it turns out this wasn't a good way to go.  We easily made our way to 10,000 feet at the Dollar Lake Saddle but from that point there was no trail broken along the west slope of Charleton, Little Charleton, Jepson etc.  We ended up descending from the saddle between Charlton & Little Charlton and then navigated cross country to re-connect with the South Fork Trail.  It was a great day, clear blue skies sunny and lots of new knee deep snow.  We did a couple of short easy glissades.  We hiked from 7:00 a.m. till our return to the trail head at about 7:30 p.m.  I think we could have made it to the summit of Gorgonio if we had taken a more direct route through the South Fork Drainage.

I'm hoping the snow lasts at least another month until my next free day to try it again.  I have April 10th and 24th set aside. And I'll be taking skis for a little faster descent.
KathyW

Jim:  After yesterdays trip up San Gorgonio, I'd say Rick's estimate of San G from the North taking 2X as long as Baldy from Manker Flats with snow is a really good way of estimating your time for San Gorgonio.  

Also, the snowshoes really came in handy on the way out - there were places it would have been really tough without them below about 9500' in the afternoon.

Some pics from yesterday if you're interested in conditions:

http://kathywing.smugmug.com/gallery/11649854_3EhPF#821500483_arkq3
RickF

Kathy,

Wow, great pictures and nice glissade video.  It looks like there's still quite a bit of snow.  I'm hoping it lasts a couple more weeks, I'm planning to take my skis up on April 10th for some spring crud skiing.  It looks like a little dirt and rock are starting to get exposed in a few places.
jimqpublic

Kathy, thanks for the photos.  Hope you can do a full writeup.

By your photo timestamps I see about 6 hours from the first shot  at South Fork Meadows to summit.  How long from car to summit?  (PS your camera's clock is 12 hours off.)

It looks like my plan to do a climb on Wednesday needs revision.  I don't want to be on unfamiliar territory, above treeline, solo... in the forecast storm.

Jim
KathyW

Rick:  A couple of guys skied down one of the chutes off the north side of San Gorgonio on Saturday and did not enjoy the conditions at all  It was really mixed conditions - soft/icy/hollow drifts, but if we get some new snow this week it might be great up there when you go.  

Jim:  We took 8 hours up and 5 hours down.  We didn't push real hard along the way, but if we did I probably would have run out of steam.

The trail isn't always easy to follow - there are sections of the boot track between the trailhead and Poopout Hill that are confusing if you don't know the trail.  From Poopout Hill to Southfork Meadows, the boot track is easy to follow because there are not as many shortcut options through that section.  After Southfork Meadow, just head South.   You might want to load some waypoints into a GPS to help stay on track - especially if that storm comes in and causes white-out conditions.

Kathy
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