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Home Forums Six-Pack of Peaks San Jacinto this Saturday

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #388219
    amber
    Participant

    Are we crazy for wanting to hike this weekend with the heat wave? We are planning to start at 530am so I’m thinking we be okay before it gets too hot? Any tips or don’t even attempt it comments would be appreciated lol also the self serve permits are they on the outside of the ranger station? Thanks!

    #388229
    R W
    Participant

    I did this hike 2 weeks ago. Here are tips for success in a heat wave. It was 91 when we pulled up to the tram around 7:45 am and 115 in the shade of the mountain when we got back to the car at 4 pm. I drove and packed several 1L bottles of electrolyte water in a cooler, and I froze the water solid in the freezer beforehand. They had melted but were really cold when we got back and tasted soooo good!

    First, nix the 5:30 start. The first tram leaves at 8:00 am on weekends. It is $25 round trip btw, cash, debit, or credit. From central Orange County, it took us under 2 hours to get there, and we left around 6:15 am.

    Prehydrate – a lot – before you go. 3-4L of water a day and be sure to drink 1L or more on the drive to Palm Springs, electrolyte water if you have it for some the your L. Get plenty of sleep. It will play a difference with the heat, aridity, and elevation of this hike.

    Keep in mind San Jacinto is different, because of the elevation. You park at 2000K, take a 10 min tram that zips you up to 8500, and then hike at a modest incline uphill over 5.5 mi (which feels like double) to 10,830. So you are at a higher degree of elevation the entire time. Pace yourself and ensure you maintain hydration and nutrition. It’s not the trail that is difficult but the altitude and arid desert climate on this hike. Respect the desert. Pack at least 5 or 6 L water and/or bring a filter, as there are water sources, but they are more toward the start of the trail. We brought 3L and electrolytes and were conservative and are xp in heat and arid hiking, and we all ran out. Also bring “moist” food like apples and dates. Energy bars, nuts, etc. tasted like dust in the dry, dry heat.

    Bring a beach towel or large towel to put over your dash and steering wheel and ideally one of those windshield screens. Be careful touching your car door handles, and do not stand barefoot on the pavement, even if the car is in the shade of the mountain. As I said, it literally was 115 in the shade around 4pm when we got back to the car after taking a long break at the upper tram station, and the pavement was still burning hot. True story – a woman went walking in the sand dunes in Death Valley in 120+ heat and lost her sandals. She had 3rd degree burns on her feet when she got back. You can Google this. You can get first or second degree burns from metal in the sun in these temps, and even walking on the hot pavement barefoot. I lived in the Phoenix area before I moved to So Cal. I know.

    It should be in 60s and 70s from the tram on up, based on hiking in similar conditions 2 weeks ago. The sun is strong so it may feel hotter. Shorts should be ok; bugs were not a problem and trail was clear and well-maintained. But if for some reason even the peak trail area is under a heat advisory, temps 80+, or expecting monsoon storms, bail. Go a cooler day. It is a solid white granite mountain, and the last part up to the peak is first a 1.1 mile slow uphill along a fallaway ridge with full sun exposure in morning and early afternoon. It curves around, and shortly thereafter the formal trail ends, and the summit is a boulder scramble, The entire part is 100% exposed, though there are a few trees before the scramble, and a good time for a hydration and nutrition break. For the scramble, as it was all of our first time doing it, we just waited for others to come up or go down and followed their route. Also, some trail forks were not marked too well; we just asked others which way to the peak or which way to the tram. People were very nice and most knew hiking etiquette.

    You likely will need to reapply sunscreen, so pack it in your bag. Take small sips of water regularly, eat even if you are not hungry (the altitude messes with your appetite), and be sure to pack electrolytes. Take breaks when you are tired or your heart rate accelerates due to the altitude, and know and watch for signs of both dehydration and altitude sickness. Watch out for each other too – the symptoms can sneak up on you and your mind can start playing tricks on you. Both are game stoppers, especially altitude sickness – if you get symptoms, stop immediately and descend. Think of it like “the bends” when diving – it can be a big deal. For us, though, we were fine and hope you are too. But we did watch out for each other and took breaks as needed.

    There are a lot of minor but some tricky rocky spots on the trail and also a small stream crossing near the start, so the waterproof hiking boots rather than trail runners we wore all worked out well. Also, poles really helped for the rocky sections and the boulders going up, though I kind of crawled down much of it on my booty and felt no shame, better to be safe than sorry and risk a fall or twisted ankle.

    There is a pretty overlook about 3 mi in, which is a great spot to hydrate and take a nutrition break. Good photo op too. Btw it felt like forever to get up to the peak, as well as get back down, and that last final climb up the tram concrete walkway was just “aargh” for us after a long, exposed, dry day, and we pulled ourselves up with our poles! It was the first time over 10K for the 3 of us and the other had just been to that height recently once or twice. But it was just amazing and I’d love to go back! The view from the top was just incredible – like a green screen or movie backdrop – just surreal and amazing!

    I hope you have a great hike!

    #388231
    R W
    Participant

    Also, if you are starting from Idyllwild, the 8:00 tram start time won’t apply, but the other suggestions do.

    #388232
    R W
    Participant

    And the permits are available from the ranger at the ranger station near the start of the trail. One permit per group. No adventure parking placard needed for tram lot; prob need one if starting at an alternate trail.

    I also just checked mountain-forecast.com for San Jacinto. It is forecasting 60s-70s for the peak trail hike elevation, but it also has rain and slight t-storm chances. Being that a lot of the trail is rocky, if this forecast holds, and you have never been to San J before, save it for another weekend.

    #388233
    amber
    Participant

    Wow, thank you so much for all this information I greatly appreciate it! Much help for sure! Especially all the tips!

    Yea we are gonna do the marion mt trail instead of the tram. Looking forward to this hike! We wanted to do the San Bernardino peak but didn’t plan to well on the permits lol

    Thanks again!

    #388234
    amber
    Participant

    I’ll keep a lookout on the weather forecast, fingers cross it doesn’t rain lol

    #388272
    R W
    Participant

    Hope you park at elev for your hike – I just read Palm Springs set a record today – of 122! That is cray cray! I so hope San Jacinto still is relatively cool for you. Stay safe, hydrated, sun protected, and have a fantastic hike! Can’t waut to see your summit photo and hike log!

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