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North Face of San Jacinto
#35591 03/31/14 07:19 PM
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Bob R Offline OP
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A friend and I climbed the North Face from Snow Creek some 34 years ago. This 9600' ascent started in the desert summer and finished in the dead of winter. Then a 6 mile hike to the top of the tram.

Trip report     or try this

Sorry the trip report is crude, but this was easy to do.

Snow Creek is the fenced and guarded catch basin for Palm Springs water, and the owners are naturally quite protective. Back in 1980 you could request permission to enter, and if you were nice (or sneaked over the fence at night), you could do it. Later, you couldn't get permission at all, and the area was patrolled at night by a pair of vicious Dobermans.

I think now you can still do the climb, but you must enter the chute high on the route.

I feel lucky to have this in my climbing past, much like the long off-limits Popocatepetl, which I was able to climb several months later.

Today I sent my slides in to be digitized, and will upload them when I get them back. Probably a couple of weeks.

Last edited by Bob R; 04/01/14 05:18 AM.
Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bob R #35593 03/31/14 09:42 PM
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What a gem. I bet you have a lot of those forms from back in the day. Looks like you kept good notes, but I didn't see how many gallons of water you filtered. I'm guessing it was zero. smile

Seriously, did you melt snow somehow, cause that's a very long day and long way to be packing water.

Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bob R #35598 03/31/14 10:59 PM
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This is one of the few climbs that I have actually researched on other forums, due to its elusive nature. I had read about stealth night missions, encounters with citations, and most of all: the enormous elevation gain.

The prohibition of this captive beauty of a route reminds me of how one day I will take the plunge into Hetch Hetchy and have a swim of a lifetime!


The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bob R #35626 04/01/14 12:41 PM
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Love the TR. Can't wait to see the pictures when you get the slides back. The north face appears very daunting.

Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bee #35632 04/01/14 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bee
This is one of the few climbs that I have actually researched on other forums, due to its elusive nature. I had read about stealth night missions, encounters with citations, and most of all: the enormous elevation gain.

The prohibition of this captive beauty of a route reminds me of how one day I will take the plunge into Hetch Hetchy and have a swim of a lifetime!

Bucket list.

Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bob R #35989 04/23/14 12:59 PM
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I finally got my pictures back, and was disappointed that there weren't more action shots. I guess we didn't take many pictures back in the day, because slides cost money.

The climb starts in the desert at 1200', and there are claims of sections of 4th class and low 5th. However, we didn't take a rope, and I only recall some exposed moves on steep rock before we got to the snow. The snow started at about 5200', 35 degrees, and gradually steepened to 55 degrees near the top. The summit is 10,834'.

After the climb, we faced a six mile hike back to the top of the tram. Unfortunately, the mountain was covered in snow, the trail was nowhere to be seen, and we had never been there before. Luckily, however, recent hikers had left tracks that we could follow. We got to the tram just after dark, in time for the last trip down. A group was there, and they were quite curious about us because of our clothing and gear. One was a horse breeder, another a professional flower arranger, and two were music producers.

After chatting for a few minutes, we asked if they would give us a ride back to our car. They said yes, but would we first join them for a celebratory spaghetti and wine dinner at a condo they had rented? The celebration was for a wildly successful recent recording they had made ("Steal Away" by Robbie Dupree--you can look it up); they were going to be on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in a week, and the Midnight Special show a week after that. They gave me a copy (45 rpm), and I still have it.

Long story short, they were in no hurry to rush dinner, and it was after midnight when we were finally on the road. Exhausted after the long day, we had to trade off driving every 15 minutes or so. We arrived home as the sun was coming up.

33 Success


Last edited by Bob R; 04/24/14 07:46 AM. Reason: Clarified technical difficulty of the climb
Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bob R #36000 04/23/14 08:15 PM
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You seem to have the gift of excellent timing, Bob. Case in point: first summit of Whitney results in the witnessing of a nuclear test!


The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bob R #36002 04/23/14 09:14 PM
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Bob,
Would you mind if I posted this on the San Jacinto message board? I'm sure a few folks over there would be interested in your pictures and story.

Thanks for sharing the back story after the climb.

Snow Creek is still accessible but your approach is no longer possible.

There are several other other big cross-country ways up the mountain on the north side which all have the big gains of starting from the valley floor but avoiding the crowds on Skyline/Cactus to the Clouds, and much harder than that trail. Let me know if you're down south and interested in exploring more of SJ.

Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Anonymous1 #36011 04/24/14 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted By: 2600fromatari
Would you mind if I posted this on the San Jacinto message board? I'm sure a few folks over there would be interested in your pictures and story.

Sure, anything I post is public.

Originally Posted By: 2600fromatari
Let me know if you're down south and interested in exploring more of SJ.

Actually, I am. Other than this climb, I've only hiked to the summit a couple of times from the tram. Plus a few SARs over the years, but for those you have to go where they send you.

I'm recovering from aortic valve replacement, and have been working on getting my strength back. I've exhausted the closer mountains, and am always looking for new territory. So far I have managed up to 3000' elevation gain in a day before collapsing.

Maybe we can work out something. With a couple of weeks notice I am free 'most any time .

Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Seriously, did you melt snow somehow, cause that's a very long day and long way to be packing water.

No; as long as there is snow available, starting out with one canteen of water suffices. At every rest stop, drink no more than two inches, and refill with snow. Shake, and it will be all liquid by the next stop. If the temperature is below freezing, carry it inside your parka. You can go all day--or even several days--on the one canteen.

I am always amused by those discussions on how much to carry above Trail Camp on Mt. Whitney--3, 4, or more liters. Up through at least July, using this technique, I can go to the summit and arrive back down at Trail Camp still with water in my single canteen.

Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bob R #36014 04/24/14 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted By: Bob R


I am always amused by those discussions on how much to carry above Trail Camp on Mt. Whitney--3, 4, or more liters. Up through at least July, using this technique, I can go to the summit and arrive back down at Trail Camp still with water in my single canteen.


I can attest to the success of this method (refill as you go), having tried it with Bob (of course the key ingredient is knowing where your water sources are, predictably)

Not meaning to change the topic, but the difference between 8-12 extra pounds VS a canteen can be a game changer.


The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bob R #36030 04/24/14 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bob R

Actually, I am. Other than this climb, I've only hiked to the summit a couple of times from the tram. Plus a few SARs over the years, but for those you have to go where they send you.

I'm recovering from aortic valve replacement, and have been working on getting my strength back. I've exhausted the closer mountains, and am always looking for new territory. So far I have managed up to 3000' elevation gain in a day before collapsing.

Maybe we can work out something. With a couple of weeks notice I am free 'most any time .


Bob,
I'm recovering myself for the second time. Got ran off the road in my bike the first time a little over half a year ago. I was recovering quite well then two weeks ago someone opened their car door right as I buzzed by in my bike.

The easiest of the ridges starts at about 250 ft near the visitor's center so the gains are over 9,000 ft just to the tram and over 11,000 ft to the summit. There is no water sources along the way. There is a shortcut at the lower tram station though but would still involve about 9,000 ft to the summit.

The fall season would be best for you to try these other routes. With the exception of this Saturday, temps are in the 90s and will get into the 100s soon. Gives you (and me) time to recover and the weather to cool. Send me a private message if you're interested anytime from the fall season on. I'm available most Saturdays with some notice. I'll even hump the water up the mountain for you.

Your videos with Steve on the Mountaineer's Route helped me greatly when I was starting out. Thought I could return the favor.

Last edited by 2600fromatari; 04/24/14 06:59 PM.
Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Bob R #46214 05/11/16 10:25 PM
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Bob, not sure if you're still checking the board, but I thought you might like to see this. I couldn't quite do it on the 11th to make it exactly 36 years after your ascent, but three of us did Snow Creek yesterday. One day shy is still good right?

A little crazy and a little sad to compare the snow you had versus what we had in an El Nino year. 10-15 ft of snow around the 5-6k ft level. Several times past that there was a loud rushing river underneath which forced us off and onto the rock. More waterfalls than I could count. Postholing for almost 2k ft near the top.

Hope you're doing well, and this was a little hat tip to you:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/28624155@N08/albums/72157665843372554/with/26963752125/

SC (19) by Pigsflyinsd, on Flickr

Last edited by 2600fromatari; 05/11/16 10:28 PM.
Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Anonymous1 #46222 05/12/16 10:26 AM
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Such a beastly line.


@jjoshuagregory (Instagram) for mainly landscape and mountain pics
Re: North Face of San Jacinto
Snacking Bear #46234 05/12/16 04:12 PM
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Sweet! I want to climb and ski this line so bad.


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