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  • San Jacinto with a Bit of Snow?

    Posted by Joyce on December 9, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    I’m thinking of going on a hike from the Tram Station to the San Jactino summit on Saturday, but it just snowed today. I haven’t hiked in snow before except for one time in Nevada, but I’ll be bringing crampons and maybe an ice axe. (Plus the winter layers.) I am ready to turn around and GTFO if things get questionable (already finished the challenge and have turned around in SJ before 7.5 miles into the hike from Deersprings Trail so I am absolutely OK turning around), so I won’t be stupid about the hike.

    I gotta learn hiking in snow at some point. If San Jacinto is not recommended, do you have any recommendations on trails more suitable to a beginner at winter snow hiking? (Or if you just want to tell me no but don’t have recommendations, that’s cool, too).


    Chris replied 2 years, 4 months ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Jeff

    December 10, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Joyce!

    San Jacinto is a great place to practice in the snow. That was one of my first snow summits. The fact that you’re going prepared to turnaround without hitting the summit is a huge factor in your favor.

    The big issue on San Jacinto is whether there is tread already established in the snow, and if it’s accurate. Navigation is much more difficult in snow.

    The other question I have: Have you had any training in how to travel in crampons and use an ice axe for self arrest? When I hiked up San J in the snow, it wasn’t frozen or crusty, so neither crampons or ice axe where required. Instead, I was post-holing. What I really needed were snowshoes.

    If the snow was frozen and/or consolidated (packed) where you didn’t sink in, I would suggest microspikes over crampons.

    You can check the Long Valley webcam to get an idea of current conditions:


    • Joyce

      December 10, 2021 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks for the info! I talked to a rep at REI and he recommended crampons appropriate for my backpacking boots for San Jacinto. I also picked up some snowshoes separately thinking I’d use them for a winter trip to Yosemite, but I will bring them tomorrow as well and see what I end up needing. (I still have flashbacks of post holing on the hike up Wheeler Peak.)

      I have not had practice with any of the equipment, so this is will be first try, hence the realistic expectations that I might just be walking around long valley instead of actually summiting. REI rep also recommended against ice axe until I learn how to use it (I guess you can rent them?) and for now I can probably just just hiking poles.

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