Had a good day on the trail Friday, but it wasn't what we planned or needed. THe "plan" was to go up South Ridge to Tahquitz Peak, cut over to the PCT and then up to the San Jacinto Peak.
After hearing the .3 mile spur from Tahquitz to the PCT was an icy mess we decided to go up the Ernie Maxwell trail to Humbler Park and then up Devil's Slide. We would start around 0200 so the noobs on the team got headlamp time.
The day before one of the team dropped out due to work. I guess you need to clear that up sooner than the day before. So, since it couldn't be a team hike and I knew we had little chance of making the summit, we decided to just go up the Devil's Slide and go as far as possible. We left the house at 0400 and hit the trail at 0530. No headlamps required. Smooth sailing up the Devil's Slide - clear, no snow. After a short break and chatting with several PCT through hikers, we went up the PCT.
I hoped to make Wellman's Divide, but it wasn't possible. at 8400 feet the snow patches came often. At 8955 we turned back short of the trail connector. We were close, but my GPS was spotty and the snow was icy. Coverage was 90%.
On the way back I stopped to take off a few layers and left my hat, gloves and GPS sitting on a rock. About 20 minutes later I ran into a San Jacinto board regular on his way up and he offered to look for my stuff. Later that day I got a PM saying the stuff was safe and is being UPSed home this week.
All in all a good day getting the bugs worked out. I had the noobs carrying way more water than they ever will on Whitney and the pace I set up Devil's Slide was faster than we will go anywhere else. Since I knew the day would be short I wanted to push them just a little bit. Everyone did great.
We will be back up there in a few weeks to do the orignally scheduled practice.
As for our 2 July Whitney permits - we will either go and get as far as safely possible or push the whole trip to late summer and go do an overnight in Panamint City. I think if we can safely reach the cables we will go to Whitney. If it looks like we can't get past Trail Camp we will go chase ghosts..................................DUG