MT. SAN JACINTO
Mt. San Jacinto State Park/Wilderness Area, CA
Devil's Slide Trail
16.0 miles roundtrip, elevation gain/loss ~4400' (complete)
Approximate elevations (start-peak) 6400-10804'
Hiked June 7, 1998 - Duration ~10 hrs.
TOPO MAPS PHOTOS BOOKS LINKS ELEVATION PROFILE
Well it's been a HUGE snow year in Southern
California, all thanks to El Niņo. This was my fourth trip up San Jacinto, and I'd
previously hiked it in early June, and even late May without ever seeing a speck of snow.
Not this time. I'd just gotten some gaiters, and this was my chance to use them. I brought
along a digital camera to take some photos with (worked great as you can see).
We started off around 8:45am, with bright sunny skies above (it was grey and dreary in
the cities below, we drove above it all
at around 5000') and it looked like it was going to be a typical trip. We quickly made our
way up the first set of switchbacks to reach the Saddle Junction, (about 2.5 miles) with beautiful views of
Tahquitz Peak (shown above) all the way. The snow coverage began there, and it was
extensive. After a short rest, we set off. The trail soon disappeared underneath the snow,
and it was a process of determining which boot tracks to follow. There were tracks all
over, but we chose the high road, and it wasn't too bad. We ended slightly above the most
established trail, which we joined and continued ascending. The condition of the snow was
pretty stiff, and we were only sinking in a few inches, but the major impediment was the
lay of the snow itself. The snow had accumulated in large toungues,
which required numerous small climbs and drops. Some were steep enough to require us to
kick steps, and our progress slowed. After about three hours of hiking beyond the saddle,
we came upon the Wellman Divide
(about 5.5 miles). At that point both Ben and I were fairly beat, we rested and had a snack before
continuing. Beyond the divide, the trail requires a lot of traversing, which is pretty
easy on a normal day, but not on this one. We began stopping more often for rests, and
eventually, after a seemingly endless
traverse around Jean Peak, we took an extended break and ate lunch. There we came upon
some other hikers coming down from the summit. They said it was about another mile, which
in our state was probably going to take about 2 hours roundtrip from our location. It was
2:30pm already, and we wanted to get back down soon, so we decided to turn around at that
point. I'm glad we turned around because just as we were about to leave, I had to throw
up. It was the first time I'd been above 10,000' in almost a year and altitude sickness
has always been a problem for me. The exhaustion of the previous 6 hours of hiking had
wore me down and I had to get down to feel any better.
The hike down went almost as slowly as the hike up, due to the
constant short, steep climbs and drops over the snow. Eventually, with many short breaks,
we got back down to the saddle around 5:30pm, and finally back to the car just before 7.
It was a very long day and we were exhuasted.
I came out of it with a few blisters and a new appreciation for snow travel. This will
come in handy later this summer when I climb Mt. Shasta, which I'm still looking forward
Hiking photos (10 total)
Hiking - the best reference for all the hikes I've taken, covers all of California.
Hiking in Idyllwild - general info on the
Palm Springs Tramway
- number to the ranger station
APPROXIMATE ELEVATION PROFILE OF THE HIKE
Back to Reports
ABOUT LINKS EMAIL HOME