A San Gorgonio Ridge "Grand Tour"
I had this recurring notion to dayhike from Fish Creek to Angelus Oaks, traversing the San Gorgonio Ridge, and topping each of the designated "named" summits. Silly, I suppose. Likely it had already been done. Most were peaks I'd hiked before. It would certainly be a strenuous day. Yet it remained appealing in a warped manner. I once even considered making it a scheduled Chapter outing. But who would be nuts enough to join, let alone list or co-lead this death-march? Solo it was.
First, let's do the numbers.
Distance (miles): 37
Elevation gain (feet) 9,200
Elevation loss (feet): 11,700
Time (hours): 15
Peaks (in order): 17
The Dragons Head
San Gorgonio Mtn
East Dobbs Pk
Little Charlton Pk
San Berdoo East Pk
San Bernardino Pk
A full moon would have been nice, but my work schedule forced me to hike at a nearly new moon. That made the daylight more precious. So I parked at the Fish Creek trailhead, hoping to see my truck again within 24 hours. I started up the trail at first light; Ann Kramer would meet me at the Angelus Oaks trailhead at a predetermined 2000 hr that evening. I warily observed the gloomy morning clouds, as it had showered the prior afternoon, and the latest forecast included a chance of thunderstorms.
Summited Grinnell, 1OK, and Lake by the standard approach from Fish Creek Saddle. Startled a deer as I dropped over the south end of Lake. Then, after a short spurt up and over Zahniser, I took the Sky High Trail from Mine Shaft Saddle. Quit the trail at 11,000 ft for the depressing drop to Tosh's Tarn. Followed by the steep, loose straight up to Bighorn, and the very pleasant Dragon's Head ridge. Atop San Gorgonio itself by 1230 hr. The usual weekend crowd was there. I'd attained the highest point and most of the gain. Storm clouds were gathering over my destination and exit (!), the San Bernardino Divide. I pressed on, betting and hoping that the heavy clouds might hold. They would.
Jepson was followed by another (ugh!) drop to East Dobbs and Dobbs. Once back up to the trail, it was largely distance, as the remaining peaks (bumps?) were but brief detours from the Summit Ridge and San Bernardino Peak Trails. Chatted with rangers at Dollar Lake Saddle. Fibbed about my day to keep them satisfied and unalarmed. I replenished my water (3 liters) with a side trip to High Meadow Spring. Then up Alto Diablo, Shields, Anderson, and the San Berdoos in quick succession.
Finally at 1800 hr, I dropped from San Bernardino Pk down the trail to Angelus Oaks. Almost won my race with the departing sun. Savored a cold beer, and a warm welcome, from Ann and her spry mastiff George. What a respite from the Sierra climbing summer!