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  • Socal 6 Peak – Piños/Sawmill/Grousse Mountain

    Posted by Jae on March 7, 2024 at 4:39 pm

    Wise Elders of the Campfire,

    I call upon thee to gain wisdom on hiking the Piños/Sawmill/Grousse Mountain during early spring.

    is there typically snow on the trail from the Nordic base to Piños/sawmill (Modern Hiker trail) early spring / late winter?

    if so, do you know the recommended footwear in that season? Snow runners vs microspikes vs snowshoes?

    Thank you, Wise Spirits of the Campfire

    Jae replied 1 month, 4 weeks ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Jeff

    April 7, 2024 at 7:43 am

    Hi Jae,

    Yes, there is typically snow there in the winter, though conditions can vary depending on the latest weather. The hike logs are a good place to check conditions:


    The last successful hikes up Sawmill were in mid-March. More recently, the road to the Nordic base was closed due to snow, but you can call the ranger station to confirm the latest status.

    I hiked Sawmill and Pinos in the snow and used trekking poles and carried micro pikes and snowshoes. The microspikes were most helpful, but there were some sections en route to Sawmill where I put on snowshoes for a section. Probably didn’t need to, but I had them, and carried them, so why not use them. The microspikes and trekking poles definitely helped though and I would recommend.

    • Jae

      April 14, 2024 at 8:34 am

      I thank thee for your wise words, O All knowing Sage of the Mountain Peaks!

      We finally made it to Sawmill yesterday right before the forecast said it was going to get heavy.

      This was our second attempt as, you wisely admonished, the gate to the Nordic base was closed a couple weeks ago. In our first attempt, We started from the Y, car meet area. That time I made the mistake of dressing for the arctic and was too hot. We didn’t get far in our snow shoes (first time using) before turning back at the first sign of snow as posted by the winter storm advisory. still a good time tramping in the snow for the first time.

      Yesterday, second attempt, the gate to the Nordic base was open. At the peak, there was high winds, spurts of heavy flurries and times with low viability.

      Goggles is a must in hiking in snow precipitation. I dressed in layers, but ended up needing everything. The jet boil was hard to start for some reason. We didn’t take the snow shoes and didn’t use the microspikes. Although there were times we could’ve used both, we didn’t want to slow down.

      For snow fall hiking, a good pair of gloves, compass and altimeter in case gps doesn’t work, waterproof boots and pants, good snow jacket, goggles, hot food and coffee were the things we relied on most or wish we had.

      the Mt Pinos Nordic Base Website is a must and had a lot of information.

      the hike was really nice and would definitely hike in light snow storm again. But I think we got our snow fix for the year.

      We made it to Pinos and Sawmill but didn’t make it to Grousse.

      Thank you, Wise Spirit of the Mountain.

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