The one where I almost fell off to my death in the snow

Peak Summited2019 San Gorgonio
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadSouth Fork
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsTrail snow-covered at times - Gear and expertise recommended
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition
Additional Information

So we decided to do the South Fork loop route because it’s long and would mimic the mileage at Mt Whitney. I have also done it via Vivian Creek twice already last year so I wanted to try something different. Everyone I messaged on Instagram who did this route recently said all we needed are microspikes. I also checked AllTrails and even consulted with another experienced mountaineer on one of the Facebook groups. So we got there and decided to take the right trail (towards Dollar Lake) to go up since it’s steeper than the other side. This trail is so beautiful. Lots of blooming wildflowers against the backdrop of burned trees (from the wildfires last year) which tells us that beautiful things can still come from places of devastation. There were some patches of snow that one may decide to put on microspikes for but doable with just hiking poles. We got to the summit in less than 6 hours with no problem. Then came the descent. Since we wanted to do the loop, we went down the Mine shaft/Dry Lake side. About 1.5 mile from the summit, we came across a sketchy ass area. Lots of snow with steep drop offs. This is the point when we should’ve just turned around and gone down the same way we came. But instead, we ignored our gut feeling and kick stepped our way slowly to the other side. Then came the switchbacks. 80% covered in snow with even steeper drop offs. This trail in my opinion requires snow mountaineering gear (crampons, ice axe, and helmet). That’s when we decided to turn around and go back the way we came but by that time, we lost more than 3 hours already. We hiked in the dark and didn’t get back to our cars until 9 pm. This is my third time on this mountain and each time I went, there was always a life/death moment. I don’t think I’d be so lucky next time. So peace out Old Greyback, it was great conquering you but I’m done with you


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