Ski Mountaineering

Mt. San Jacinto
Mar 3, 2001

Randy Lamm



Following the Pear Lake trip, this was my second provisional with a change of location to San Jacinto instead of Baden Powell due to the road being closed to Vincent Gap. Assisting me on this trip was Mark Goebel, with participants Jan St. Amand, and Mike Seiffert. Also along at the tram stop getting the scoop and recovering from a knee operation was our editor Lorene Samoska.

After getting on the first tram at 8am and signing in with the range we headed up the round valley trail to the first switch back then we headed cross country to the northwest towards Tamarack Valley and just west of Miller peak. This short cut saved a lot of time and after about 2.5 hrs we reached the summit. Across a sea of clouds we could see Mt. San Antonio appearing crystal clear looking like Denali, or Annapurna. To the North we had a clear view of San Gorgonio. We took a few pictures and had a look down the sastrugi-crossed entrance to Snow Creek. No thanks; maybe next year.

We then skied down to the emergency hut/summit shelter, had a bite to eat and then started our descent. It was not so easy! The sastrugi and breakable crust made it hard for both Teliers and Rando skiers. What contrast to the powder at Pear Lake the weekend before.

Mark had an idea that maybe the snow would be better on the north face of Jean Peak. So Mark, Mike and I climbed Jean, while Jan took a break. We climbed up to the ridge separating San Jac and Jean. The snow was still lite and dry. After peeling our skins we headed down, not too bad. We got some good pow, and caught up with Jan.

Next was the dreaded trip out. We negotiated sastrugi, breakable crust, hard pack and toboggan runs. After a lot of faceplants, swearing and snowplowing we eventually made it to the ranger station. After turning in the permit, we still had one more hill to climb the path back to the tram. Once in line we could relax and we ran into a climber we had met on the top a meterologist who had spent several years at the South Pole and who had just climbed Mt. Logan the year before not bad for being in his 60's. A quick ride down on the new revolving tram and we were back in warm weather. Well, the snow was better at Pear Lake, but this was good exercise and practice skiing crappy snow. Thanks to Mark, Jan, Mike and Lorene for joining on this trip.


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