A day off in the middle of L.A. and Vegas and looking for a challenging hike, I settled on the highest Mountain in Southern California – San Gorgonio. The first hint that maybe it was a bad idea was the day before. I was hiking around Joshua Tree N.P. and got a glimpse of Gorgornio for the first time. Half of it was covered in snow. Sometimes it’s better not to believe the truth. This is especially easy while sweating in the desert below.
I decided to hike up half way the day before and camp. Settling on the South Fork trail, I headed out and had a relatively straight-forward hike up to Dry Lake. It shouldn’t have been shocking but that was where the snow line was.
The next day I woke up and headed onto the snow. For the most part this wasn’t too bad. It was crusted over and it was easy to walk on top of the snow without falling through. Eventually this changed as the grade got steeper. It ended up being VERY much more difficult compared to the summer. The thing that really got me was the sunburn. I completely roasted my face and something I didn’t expect – my eyes. This all manifested later though.
Finally reaching the summit, I ran into quite a few others who made the trek in late April (most just day hiking, or a few, running). The summit was absolutely perfect. Blue sky and not a lick of wind. After enjoying an hour of so of the perfect views, I slid down, grabbed my tent and made it off the mountain before dark. All in all, a fantastic mountain and hike (save the next day when I could barely see or move my face).