8 February 1969
By: Cy Kaicener
Leader: Cy Kaicener
Twenty-nine fresh, eager hikers met at Pinyon Flats campground on a clear, sunny morning. We caravaned a mile to the start of the hike, which begins by dropping down to a trail next to an unused dolomite mine.
The Santa Rosa Mountains were completely snow covered and provided a spectacular panorama along the trail. After a brisk morning, the temperature soon rose and was comfortably cool throughout the day.
The trail continues for about five miles to Cactus Spring almost to the base of the mountain. At the base we ran into freshly fallen powder snow which added variety to the climb but was never more than a few inches deep and, therefore, did not hinder progress.
The peak was attained just before 1 o'clock after climbing an interesting summit block which is high class 2. Twenty-nine people signed in the register which was highly satisfying for me. To my surprise, Fred Hoeptner suddenly appeared on the summit having left the cars after the group and taking another wash up the mountain.
The weather was delightfully warm at the top allowing us to sunbathe. Snow covered San Jacinto and San Gorgonio glistened in the not-so-distant distance.
On the descent there was a slight misunderstanding when Les Stockton took another canyon down and waited at the bottom for the group to come down. The group, however, did not come down because Les was not in sight so Ken Ferrell and Jay Frogel went back up to top of the ridge to look for him. In the meantime, the group descended and found an apologetic assistant waiting. Somebody had observed a red demon darting around the bushes down below. It could only be one person. The descent was further slowed down because of the snow and took twice as long as the ascent.
Les Stockton offered to take a splinter group of energetic peakbaggers over to Sheep Mountain. This group grew to fifteen people including one eight-year-old youngster, and off they went despite the lateness of the hour. Everything went beautifully and we reached the cars just as darkness fell (6:20 p.m.). We were followed by the Sheep group only one hour later.
There was one side note that I told the group about only when we got back to the cars. It was that when I scouted the trip a month earlier, I got lost when darkness fell and only got out after midnight after losing the trail. I started hiking at 10:30 in the morning on that day.
The group kept together well and appeared to enjoy the aesthetic value of the surroundings.
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