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Mount San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek Trail ("Three Saints" Series #3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hike Organizer: Paul Kemp
Location:
San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino National Forest
Hike Difficulty: Strenuous 9/10
Distance: 17 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 5500 feet
Time: 9-10 hours

THE MORONS AT MEETUP ADMINISTRATION HAVE TAKEN AWAY THE OPTION TO USE COLORED TEXT IN THESE DESCRIPTIONS SO IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU READ THE WHOLE WRITE-UP IF YOU SIGN UP FOR THIS HIKE. THERE IS A LIMIT ON NUMBERS, IF YOU RSVP 'YES' AND THEN CHANGE YOUR MIND, AS A COURTESY TO THOSE ON THE WAITING LIST, PLEASE UPDATE YOUR RSVP ASAP.

San Gorgonio Peak is one of the "Three Saints," a name occasionally used to describe the high points of the three tallest mountain ranges in Southern California: Mount San Gorgonio, San Jacinto Peak (high point of the San Jacinto Mountains), and Mount San Antonio (high point of the San Gabriel Mountains). This will be 3 of 3 in a series of hikes.

INTRODUCTION: San Gorgonio Mountain , also known locally as Mount San Gorgonio, or Old Greyback, is the highest peak in Southern California at 11,503 feet (3,506 m). It is part of the San Bernardino Mountains, and lies within the San Gorgonio Wilderness, part of the San Bernardino National Forest. Spanish missionaries in the area during the early 17th century named the peak after Saint Gorgonius. Since it is the highest point in a region which is separated from higher peaks (e.g. in the Sierra Nevada ) by relatively low terrain, San Gorgonio Mountain is one of the most topographically prominent peaks in the United States .

HIKE DESCRIPTION: The trail leaves the upper end of the picnic area and follows a dirt road for ½ mile, crossing Mill Creek Wash and starting a steep mile-long climb to a beautiful hanging valley, and Vivian Creek camp. The trail follows Vivian Creek for 1 ½ miles before reaching Halfway Camp at 8,100 feet, and then switchbacks 2.3 miles to High Creek Camp at about 9,200 feet. Just after the trail crosses the creek in High Creek Camp it will start a series of switchbacks up the west facing slope to a 10,000+ foot ridge where there are vistas towards the Banning Pass and the San Jacinto Mountains. The trail continues along the ridge, eventually passing the junctions of the Dollar Lake Trail and then the Fish Creek Trail. The trail continues for another ½ mile to the summit pile of rocks, the highest point in Southern California.

This is an arse-kicker of a trail, with a capital ‘a’ and a capital ‘k’. A monster hike, you might say. The elevation gain is almost a vertical mile in less than 8 miles distance: this is steep! You must have an excellent level of physical conditioning, and very recent hiking experience of at least 12 miles with several thousand feet elevation gain is necessary to go on this hike. Ideally, you will you have been on one or both of my Mount San Antonio and San Jacinto peak hikes in the previous two weeks. If not, I will need you to e-mail me a summary of your recent hikes in the week leading up to this hike.

WHAT TO BRING: At least 4 liters of water, although there maybe water available from the streams along the way to allow you to start with less water. If so, you will need to bring a water filtration device. Also, sunblock, sunglasses, hat, camera, snacks for the trail (preferably high-energy), lunch etc.

DIRECTIONS: Take 10 freeway east past San Bernardino to the Orange Street exit (SR 38). Continue for one block east, turn left (north) ½ mile to Lugonia Avenue, turn right on SR 38 (east). D rive northeast for about 14 miles to the intersection with Valley of the Falls Road. Bear right and continue 4 ½ miles to the Falls Recreation Area, past the town of Forest Falls. Drive to the parking area at the end of the road and walk uphill through the picnic area on the dirt road to reach the trailhead.

For those wishing to carpool meet at the Pomona Park and Ride, just north of the 10 freeway at the Fairplex Drive exit, at 5 a.m. 

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  • Bob in P.

    Considering there was supposed to be a 30% chance of snow, the weather could NOT have been more beautiful. Got some spectacular photos. Thanks so much for organizing and leading this Three Saints Series, Paul. And ... it was quite an adventure for Mayra and I with several important lessons burned in: #1, if you separate on a trail, always have a definite plan that everyone can stick to ! In this case, I was afraid that Mayra was still up on the mountain, so after coming down 2 miles to the ridge, I went back up to either find her or determine she was not up there, before proceeding down. I had all the warm clothes I needed, and with that incredibly bright full moon, it was beautiful up there. Mayra and I just talked on the phone and shared all the details. Quite an adventure !

    4 · November 17, 2013

    • Paul

      Nice one, Bob! Amazing set of pictures, especially the ones taken at sunset.

      November 20, 2013

    • Bob in P.

      Thanks very much, Paul, and thanks again for organizing the hike(s) .... !

      November 21, 2013

  • Paul

    Another marathon hike to finish the series that turned into quite an adventure what with the short daylight time. The weather was perfect, if a bit windy on the summit. The view above cloud level was amazing, especially with San Jacinto Peak to the south. I have never seen anything quite like it before. Thanks to all those who participated in the series, especially to Bob for all the great photos.

    1 · November 19, 2013

  • Mayra

    Thanks Paul, excellent hike and amazing weather!!!! It was photography paradise for Bob!

    1 · November 17, 2013

  • iLedy

    Has anyone heard from Bob? I'm really concerned now.

    November 17, 2013

    • Emmy

      Me too....

      November 17, 2013

    • Emmy

      Ledy, I just spoke with Mayra, who just spoke with Bob. He got down okay! :-)

      1 · November 17, 2013

  • Amanda S.

    Celeste and I made it back safely. Awesome hike!!

    November 16, 2013

    • Paul

      Glad you both made it back safely!

      November 16, 2013

    • Amanda S.

      Bob and Mayra I want to say were about 2 hours behind give or take.

      November 17, 2013

  • Celeste

    Thank you so much Paul for organizing this hike it was amazing! We spoke w Bob and Mayra near the top. Hopefully they are okay!

    November 16, 2013

    • Amanda S.

      Thank you Celeste for making this hike possible for me. I am feeling great today, not a sore bone on my body though I did get a smalll callus on my foot.

      November 17, 2013

  • Paul

    Bob and Myra, let me know you got back safely as soon as you can.

    2 · November 16, 2013

    • Norma

      Mayra got home around 215am. No sign of Bob...

      November 17, 2013

    • Paul

      Bob and Myra hiked out together, right?

      November 17, 2013

  • James T.

    I missed carpool location after I-10 west bound shutdown near 605 and 5 am. Drove over to Vivian Creek trailhead and could not find an real address. :-( so I went home!

    November 16, 2013

    • Paul

      Norie and I waited at the park and ride until 5.10, sorry we missed you.

      November 16, 2013

    • James T.

      I will try it again next year! I promised someone and hiked with her to Baldy yesterday. I have Bridge To Nowhere hike tomorrow. I do not think my weekend is wasted.

      November 16, 2013

  • Jeff

    Fantastic hike!
    Mountain summits clear, clouds below shrouding the valleys below - picture perfect!
    Paul and Norie, thank you for waiting for me below.
    Jeff

    November 16, 2013

  • norie

    Regardless we have lost daylight completely before 5:30pm and managed to get myself lost for a hour and half, I had a great time and saw the most prettiest views that I have ever seen because of the thick fog. Thank you so much, Paul to organize this hike. You had a tough time since all our hikers got spread quite well. I met very nice hikers in the group as well. I will see you all soon. :)

    2 · November 16, 2013

  • iLedy

    I hope you guys made it back safely.

    November 16, 2013

  • Bob in P.

    And Then .... there were Ten .....

    1 · November 15, 2013

    • Bob in P.

      One Resigned -- now we're Nine .....

      November 15, 2013

    • iLedy

      :'o(

      November 15, 2013

  • Mayra

    Paul, Norma and I are going to try to catch up with Bob and start up with him, see u tomorrow!!!!

    November 15, 2013

  • Tom F.

    I'm going to decline. Sorry, I'm exhausted from today.

    November 15, 2013

  • Bob in P.

    Mayra and Norma may also join me in the 5:00 am start. We will phone each other to coordinate.

    November 15, 2013

  • Bob in P.

    As I hike at a slower pace, I'm planning a 5:00 AM start to assure adequate time to summit and get down by sunset. If anyone wants to join me, please email me.

    November 15, 2013

    • Paul

      Bob, we will see you at the summit!

      November 15, 2013

  • James T.

    I am offering carpool from Alhambra area and LA area. Please let me know if you need a ride to trail head. I live next I-10 and have a parking pass.

    November 12, 2013

    • Paul

      James, I will be meeting at the Pomona park and ride if you wabt to meet there.

      1 · November 13, 2013

    • norie

      I will be there 5am. Thank you so much for the ride offer!!

      1 · November 14, 2013

  • Paul

    Here is a copy of the e-mail I have just sent you all:

    Hi All,

    I am not too worried about the weather forecast for Saturday so the hike will take place. I am concerned, however, about the time required to complete this hike. We may run out of daylight so there's a good chance that we will be finishing the last part of the hike in the dark (if you own a headlamp then please bring it along). For this reason I have decided to start the hike a half-hour earlier at 6.30 to take advantage of all daylight hours. The carpool metting place at the Pomona park and ride just north of the 10 freeway at the Fairplex Drive exit (just east of the 57 freeway) will be 5 am. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask, Paul

    November 13, 2013

  • Bob in P.

    NOAA is saying: 20% chance of snow, high of about 45 degrees with some breeze on Mt. San Gorgonio, here's a link:

    http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=34.10839345928985&lon=-116.82552337646484#.UoQYgvltiSo

    November 13, 2013

  • Bob in P.

    If it rains at lower elevations, it will be cold and snowing at the higher elevations. Hiking after the snow stops is beautiful, hiking during the snow .... not so much .....

    November 13, 2013

  • Lynda C.

    Snow Friday night. Fog till 10am then rain/snow

    November 13, 2013

  • Celeste

    I was wondering the same thing! Thanks, James looks like we might be ok :)

    November 13, 2013

  • Lynda C.

    I'm of the same mind Bob. Just heard about rain/snow and wondered if anyone has access to forecast specifically for San Gorgornio.

    November 13, 2013

  • Bob in P.

    Getting a little concerned about the chance of rain/snow showers for Saturday ......

    November 13, 2013

  • little b.

    I have disaster training.. Have fun & be safe, all!

    November 13, 2013

  • norie

    I would like to meet at Pomona Park and Ride for carpool. Let me know what time we are meeting! :)

    November 12, 2013

  • Lee Z.

    Yes....I agree....the morons at Meetup HQ in all their wisdom have taken away using colors. They say they are accommodating those using smartphones.

    1 · November 8, 2013

    • little b.

      How about the people with smart phones accommodate themselves?? I Have a smartphone & I want for color..:-/. Perhaps there's a way to veto that 'accommodation'­..? Anyhow, happy Friday very one & happy safe hiking!

      November 8, 2013

    • Emmy

      I agree that this is one of Meetup's more idiotic decisions, and that's saying a lot. There is a slightly limited workaround, however. If you go back through the calendar to events before July 24, when the change occurred, you can take any event, copy it, and then modify it so it turns into your current event. If you do this, you'll have access to the full palette of formatting options, including color. BUT this workaround some serious limitations. During this process, you should not save the event as a draft, because then you'll lose the full formatting options and will only have the more limited options. And you cannot change the event or add to the event description without the full formatting options going bye-bye.

      2 · November 9, 2013

  • Amanda S.

    Would anyone or many people be interested in doing a group sleepover in a hotel the night before. I thing it would be a hell of a lot easier if we could wake up in or near the area than to start driving from LA at 4 - 5. I think if we got a few people, and all brought our own blankets it could work.

    November 3, 2013

    • Amanda S.

      Celeste, I am very interested. Ill email you my number a bit later. I think we would be 10 times more rested starting from there.

      November 8, 2013

    • Celeste

      Sounds good, Amanda!

      November 8, 2013

  • Michael t.

    i just obtained a day hiking permit for vivian creek TR to hike on 11-16-2013. i had it within 48 hours of the request. i guess it was because i was solo.

    November 8, 2013

  • Berg

    Darn, I got call to work graveyard shift :-( ; I hope you all have fun! :-)

    November 8, 2013

  • Joyce

    So bummed that I can't make this one. I'll be in Bishop exploring more of the Sierra. Have a great time!

    November 7, 2013

  • Amanda S.

    would anyone like to carpool from the valley to Pomona or straight there? I can pitch in for gas..

    October 27, 2013

  • Bob in P.

    Paul -- Possibility of snow by mid-Nov. -- Microspikes probably ok for 6-8 inches, though it would slow the ascent. Your thoughts?

    October 26, 2013

    • Paul

      Hi Bob, this is kind of late in the year to be doing this hike but I didn't have any choice this year. Yes, this may well be a race against time before the snow arrives but we'll just have to play it by ear. Micro-spikes, crampons, and snow shoes are all options to be considered if snow has laid on the mountain.

      1 · October 26, 2013

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