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Cactus to Clouds 4/27/2014

 
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tekewin



Joined: 11 Apr 2013
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Location: Aliso Viejo

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:10 pm    Post subject: Cactus to Clouds 4/27/2014  Reply with quote

Sean and I drove out to Palm Springs for the full C2C, starting at 3:15 AM.  I parked in the Palm Springs Art Museum parking lot, but found a parking violation warning on my windshield when I returned. Better to park in the Free Parking structure across the street to avoid being towed. The lower parts of the Skyline trail are notoriously fragmented. We got lost multiple times, but every time we did, we went straight up the hill until we intersected the trail again. It was not an ideal strategy, but it worked. We passed the park benches, but missed some of the other landmarks I've seen in trip reports. Palm Springs lit up the night sky and for quite a while, we heard loud rave music coming up from below. Eventually, we learned to follow the white dots painted on rocks to keep us on track. At some point, we spotted a light from Mountain Station that appeared a discouraging distance away. By sunrise, we were at 4000'.


Start of the Skyline Trail


Palm Springs Art Museum from the start of the trail


Rescue Box #1


Distant light from Mountain Station


Sean at dawn


Sunrise

We took a break at a clearing around 5300' near the remains of a campfire. We refueled and followed the winding single track trail up. We could barely make out Coffman's Crag, and I could tell the worst of Skyline was reserved for the top. After hitting the manzanita section, the trail went mercilessly up with many fewer switchbacks. After 7000', we started hitting patches of snow, and shortly after Coffman's Crag, light slushy snow covered the trail. It wasn't really a hazard, just messy. We had a good pace going until the last 2000' of Skyline, where I slowed down significantly. We didn't see a single other soul on the Skyline Trail. It took 7 hours to reach the Long Valley ranger station where we got a permit to continue.


Still a long way to Mountain Station


Bloom


Striations, Gorgonio in the distance


Palm Springs from the manzanita section, upper Skyline Trail


Sean at Coffman's Crag

The ranger at Long Valley told us conditions were icy near San Jacinto and we shouldn't go without microspikes. Of course, we made the attempt, and the snow was slushy, not icy past Jean Peak. This is where I paid the price for not having waterproof boots. The slush on the trail could not be avoided and eventually, my boots and socks were soaked and freezing. I soldiered on to the summit where a half dozen people were shivering from the cold temps and strong wind. Sean and I stayed long enough to take some photos and video, but didn't linger on the windy summit. We got back to the Aerial Tramway and bought our tickets down. The Service Desk was nice enough to call a cab for us and it was waiting when we got to the bottom. We were a little roughed up, but no worse for the wear. GPS said 20.3 miles, 10614' gain, 12 hours 45 minutes.


Snow in Long Valley


Wellmans Junction


The clouds part


Toughest climb of the day, back to the tram
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Sean
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Location: Monterey Park, CA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Keith. That was an awesome adventure.

Some additional pictures...

Palm Springs Predawn


Two lights


Pretty pretty


Sunrise and silhouettes


A long way to go


Contemplative Keith


Two little shadows and one big mountain


Encountering snow


Would you like a little slush with your C2C hike?


The long descent

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RichardK



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Location: Florida East Coast

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:09 pm    Post subject: Cactus to Clouds Reply with quote

What a great report!  Congratulations for one of the toughest hikes around.
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tekewin



Joined: 11 Apr 2013
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Location: Aliso Viejo

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C2C the digital short:
http://youtu.be/kopP4mI4IYc
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Last edited by tekewin on Fri May 02, 2014 7:39 am; edited 2 times in total
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Uncle Rico



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
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Location: Pleasantville

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice outing boys. Big mileage/elevation day. Congrats.


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