Ascent of San Gorgonio Mountain on 2020-05-17

Climber: Marcus Lostracco

Others in Party:Jeff
Date:Sunday, May 17, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:San Gorgonio Mountain
    Elevation:11499 ft / 3504 m

Ascent Trip Report

I've climbed Mount San Gorgonio once a year since I moved to California. This is my 5th summit.
I started at 6pm from South Fork Trail on 5/16 where I hiked until 9pm and reached Mine Shaft Saddle. I overnighted there where I met two gents also camped there. We discussed ascent routes and decided we would team up in the morning. I didn't have a tent - I used my e-bivy for the first time and I got some decent sleep (cowboy style).
We started at 5:30am as dawn was breaking, putting our crampons on immediately and heading up towards a prominent ridge we identified on the map near Mine Shaft Saddle (10,000 ft). One of our party members (Wade) turned back early. Jeff and I continued up in the very soft and very deep snow - super exhausting. We witnessed a beautiful sunrise where the snow was lit in a vibrant amber glow. At about 10,400 feet the snow became more firm and the climbing more enjoyable. At about 11,000ft, we were now on the ridge itself and became very optimistic about summitting as the route from here on was dry - no snow to speak of. We removed our crampons and followed the use path and hiked to the top (class 1).
Summit at 8am.
On our descent, we followed the same ridge down and noticed to our left (North) a chute which looked great to glissade. We opted for this route over returning to the steep snowy ascent route. The snow was still very firm for the glissade, requiring heavy use of ice axe to control speed. The snow softened up towards the bottom, so much so we were postholing again. We then slogged/postholed back to our camp which was very exhausting, arriving around 9:30am.
Jeff and I were thrilled to summit. We enjoyed some conversation and rest until we parted ways.
I arrived at Dry Lake at 11:15am and refilled my water in the nearby spring. I tagged "Poopout Hill" on the way down South Fork Trail (funny name). I was back at my car by 2pm. I stopped for a cheeseburger at the restaurant in Angelus Oaks - very rewarding.
After last weekend's trip to the San Gorgonio Wilderness I was happy to come back and get the summit this time. There is so much to explore around here. Really enjoyed this other side of the mountain.
I should mention I was carrying a full pack of gear and supplies - probably around 40 pounds. I used everything except for my microspikes, some food, and the first-aid stuff.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4500 ft / 1371 m
    Round-Trip Distance:17 mi / 27.4 km
    Route:North Ridge
    Trailhead:South Fork Trail  6999 ft / 2133 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Headlamp, Ski Poles, Bivouac
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Clear
Warm spring day in wilderness

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