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    Jack Torrance reviewed Mount Whitney via Mount Whitney Trail

    about 1 month ago

    TLDR: Incredible hike. Train hard. Pay attention to the weather!

    Summited Whitney as a day hike on my first attempt. I had been following the weather very closely and chose to hit the trail at 3:30am in order to summit before the thunderstorms began firing off. The climb up took about 6:15 moving time. I got to spend about 30 minutes at the summit and standing on top that mountain it was an incredible feeling. The storms started building and I ended up making back to Trail Crest before the first crack of thunder. It poured (and hailed) all the way back to Lone Pine Lake. I mention all this because I watched ALOT of Whitney attempts get ruined due to the weather. TRAIN HARD so you can summit quickly and watch the weather closely...

    Some things to consider. Water is very plentiful all the way to Trail Crest. It is unlikely you will need to carry a ton of water so long as you have your filter. This will allow you to drop several pounds from your pack.

    Though the trail looks technical in pictures and video, its actually pretty tame all the way to the ridgeline. There is a tiny bit of scrambling here and there past Trail Crest.

    When the trail narrows, its still plenty wide. Don't let those Go Pro lenses on YouTube fool you.

    If you are a SoCal hiker, then I highly recommend a few local hikes to use for training. San Gorgonio via Momyer or Vivian Creek, San Jacinto via Deer Creek or Skyline Trail and Baldy via Bear Canyon combine with Three T's Trail. These trails will help build your legs and bolster your cardiovascular endurance. When these trails become somewhat easy, you're ready for a Whitney attempt. Why would I recommend a few trails more difficult in terms of gain and why wait until they're easy? It just goes back to training hard so can have a successful summit. Why waste the time, effort and money for the permit, plus the money to get there and spend the night only to neglect the body that's going to get you there? Safe travels!

    Jack Torrance reviewed Mount Whitney Portal to Lone Pine Lake

    about 1 month ago

    If you're attempting a Whitney summit, this would be a good way to get up to 10k ft a day or two prior. Very scenic and not technical at all. It's also a good way to check out the first few miles of Mount Whitney Trail since you'll probably be night hiking this for your attempt if its summer time. Lone Pine Lake at the top is very picturesque.

    If you're not a avid and fit hiker and/or are not accustomed to hiking to 10000ft, you may find this hike difficult just due to grade and elevation. That said, this trail would be a nice way to get your feet wet. I'd say give it a shot. If you don't feel right for whatever reason, just turn back.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Icehouse Saddle, Timber, Telegraph, Thunder, Mt Baldy, Mt Harwood and Mt San Antonio

    2 months ago

    If you're looking at this route, you've probably already bagged these peaks. This is just stringing some of them together. Personally I like to park at Icehouse, go down to the village then climb San Antonio via Bear Canyon, eat a burger at the notch, then mop up Three T's. If you add Cucamonga to the mix, you'll top out at over 10000ft of gain for the day.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Big Sycamore Canyon Trail

    5 months ago

    Fast fire road. Nothing special, but has access to many other MTB and hiking trails. Excellent for beginner riders and hikers. When starting from the Potrero side, you'll have a couple hundred foot climb at the end.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Skyline Trail: Cactus to Clouds

    5 months ago

    TLDR: This is a very challenging day hike worthy of its reputation. With proper training and planning you too can check this one off your day hike bucket list.

    So long as you can COMFORTABLY complete the prerequisite hikes like Baldy via Bear Canyon, Big Iron (San Gabriels) and San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek, then you'll be fine tackling the 10k feet of gain and somewhat long distance of C2C. If you are not comfortable with those hikes, then don't attempt this or you may be in trouble...

    The real challenge of C2C is the heat. The climb starts in the desert so plan accordingly. That means monitor the weather forecast closely. Carry more water than you ever think you'll need. Keep your diet in check IE don't eat garbage or drink alcohol beforehand.

    I've read that you need to run marathons or ultras to complete this trail. That's all BS. Sure ultra runners train on Skyline, but you don't need to be that hardcore to complete it. All you need to do is train with similar day hikes and BE SMART. Doing something stupid like not respecting the heat of the desert can literally get you killed.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail

    5 months ago

    Nice beginner X-country type mountain bike trail. Nice climb up to about 1100ft or so, then you get to shred down Backbone. Fast and flowy.

    I've hiked this route as well when I don't have time for anything else. If you're a beginner or only hike in the Santa Monicas, this would probably be considered "moderate". But if you frequent the San Gabes or San Bernardinos, this trail will be quite easy. Good place to get your feet wet with trail running as well!

    Crowded, but scenic. Watch out for other bikers and hikers.

    Jack Torrance reviewed San Gabriel Mountains: Mount Zion Loop Trail

    8 months ago

    I typically start at Chantry Flat, but I recently changed it up and started at the top like denoted here. This is a fun route that adds a unique challenge by putting all the climbing on the very last section of trail. You will really feel that section between Sturtevant Camp and the "Halfway" sign at the switchbacks as you have logged abut 9 miles at that point. If you're a real glutton for punishment, try going down to Chantry Flat via Winter Creek Trail and Upper Winter Creek Trail, then come back up Zion Trail and Sturtevant Trails. This route comes out close to 15 miles I think with all the climbing backloaded on the last few miles of the hike. I feel it's a great training hike to do at the moment until the snow pack melts on the more challenging peaks.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Boney Ridge Traverse

    8 months ago

    Jack Torrance completed Boney Ridge Traverse

    8 months ago

    Jack Torrance reviewed Heaton Flat Trail to Iron Mountain

    8 months ago

    TLDR: Very intense hike. And not just due to the elevation gain. The chaparral will try to scratch, scrape or otherwise impale you from every angle. Excellent training for other steep hikes.

    Nice paved parking area with chemical restrooms. Huge flat dirt path from the parking area to the trail head. You could walk path to get the blood flowing while cameling up on some water then stretch out at the trailhead.

    The trail from the trailhead to Allison Saddle is very reasonable. It is wide and not technical. It is moderately steep, but not worse than any of the prerequisite hikes for this one like Mt Baldy via Ski Hut and/or Old Baldy Trail, San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek, Three T's or San Jacinto. After about the 2 mile mark, the view opens up providing some great motivation to press to the summit.

    All the above changes once you reach Allison Saddle. The trail narrows and you'll get very acquainted with the chaparral. It's not overgrown and no bushwhacking is required, but you may get stabbed more than once. Also the trail steepens significantly while footing gets quite loose in spots. Think along the lines of the first mile of Vivian Creek or that one section of Ski Hut Trail we all love so much. It's like that all the way to the summit. 35 degree plus incline in some sections.

    I found the summit to be quite rewarding. You will be able to see most of the notable peaks in the area. If you're lucky like I was, you'll see snow on West Baldy. It's quite picturesque. Not only is the view excellent, but the feeling of tackling Big Iron is pretty great in and of itself. I actually relaxed up there for an hour eating, taking pictures and relaxing for what I knew was to come.

    The descent back down was worse than the climb. It's downright slippery all the way back to the saddle. If I had left my trekking poles at home I would have been cussing at myself the whole time. This was the only hike I have done recently that I actually took a break coming DOWN the mountain. Once at the saddle, its a roller coaster hike back to the car. After the previous section, I found it quite relaxing.

    All in all this was an excellent hike. But I went there for training for C2C and Whitney. Had I went there for just a fun day hike like say San Gorgonio, I would have been slightly disappointed. This wasn't fun. BUT it was rewarding and I am proud to say I tackled Big Iron once and for all. Now on to bigger and better things. I may revisit Big Iron a week out from C2C, but probably not before that. I'll stick to Old Baldy Trail and just hike it faster and/or with more weight.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Old Mount Baldy Trail

    9 months ago

    TLDR: This hike is steep but reasonable. Excellent training hike for Cactus to Clouds. Harder than San Gorgonio (Vivian Creek) or San Jacinto (Marion Mountain or Deer Creek) imho, but not not by much.

    The gate to the welcome center was closed, but there is parking on the street just to the right of the gate. There were signs instructing us pull in nose first. I displayed my pass on the rear view mirror.

    The climb begins before you even make it to the trail head and does not let up until at least 3 miles into the hike. Even when it lets up, you're obviously still climbing, it's just not as steep. This works out nicely however because as the elevation starts to take its effect on your body, the climb becomes easier.

    I would say the steepest sections are on par with Sturtevant Trail at Mt Wilson, the first mile of Vivian Creek at San Gorgonio or climbing the south side of Telegraph Peak on Three T's Trail. Point being its a good quad burning climb, but it's reasonable for a seasoned hiker. However, I would not recommend this trail to anyone who has not at least hiked Baldy via Ski Hut Trail or San Gorgonio from Vivian Creek. This is just my personal opinion, but this trail is harder than both of those. People use this as training for Cactus to Clouds or Whitney for a reason.

    Around the time the incline lets up a little bit, the view opens up as well. There are excellent views of all the local peaks including Bighorn, Sugarloaf, Ontario, Cucumonga and the Three T's. As you near the summit, Harwood, West Baldy and Baldy come into view. And obviously from the peak you can see everything including San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, Santiago, Santa Catalina Island and even Boney Ridge in the Santa Monica Mountains.

    As for the descent, I can't comment on the "out and back" route as my friend and I went back using Ski Hut Trail. It was his first time to Baldy (experienced hiker however) and he wanted to check out the sights Baldy Bowl had to offer. He was not disappointed. But I imagine if you went back down the way you came, trekking poles would be a HUGE help as some sections are rather steep and slippery, just like Ski Hut Trail.

    Jack Torrance completed Old Mount Baldy Trail

    9 months ago

    Jack Torrance reviewed San Jacinto Peak Loop Trail

    9 months ago

    I decided on this route for my San Jacinto summit rather than the usual Marion Mountain route. I was just interested in a little bit longer of a day hike.

    If you've already hiked some of the "advanced" trails in the San Gabes and San Bernardinos, then this trail won't offer much additional challenge EXCEPT for the short scramble at the top. Its quite comparable to San Bernardino and San Gorgonio in terms of difficulty. Nothing is ridiculously steep, slippery or otherwise "unpleasant". The trail is well marked and easy to follow, even with all the various junctions.

    Doing the trail clockwise, the panoramic views from the trail head to the summit aren't anything to write home about. Its all about being in the forest and the forest is BEAUTIFUL. There are small windows here and there that hint at the what is to come, but you will not get your real reward until the summit.

    The view at the summit is incredible. If you move around the various boulders, you can see just about anything you want from up there. Do not limit yourself and your view to just the sign/survey marker areas. Move around.

    The return leg continues with the panoramic views. You will have something amazing to look at from the summit back to the Deer Creek Trail junction. The descent is somewhat gentle and it didn't beat up my knees at all.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Three T's Trail via Icehouse Canyon

    10 months ago

    This is a nice hike with views of Cajon Pass, San Gorgonio, San Jacinto and all the peaks in the Manker Flats/Icehouse Canyon area. There is one rather steep section (about 3/4 mile of 30+ degree incline) between Timber and Telegraph Peak. The rest of the trail is very much in line with other hikes in that area. It's easy to follow and it's not technical, but certainly requires a bit of experience and some fitness to complete.

    Do yourself a favor and go with a friend and two cars. Park one at Manker Flats and park the other at Icehouse where you will start. Look I really am a purist when it comes to trail distance and elevation gain, but walking that road was boring and not very safe imho.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak

    10 months ago

    TLDR: This is an excellent and challenging day hike. NOT for beginners. If you are at all out of shape or not used to hiking at altitude, you should not attempt this. But if you've done something like San Antonio comfortably, then San G is the summit for you.

    This hike has two "strenuous" sections. The first is right after you make it to the trail head. It's a steep 25-30 degree incline on slippery small rocks for nearly a mile. The second is once you reach the ridgeline at around the 7 mile mark, where you are looking at a 20-25 degree incline for a about 1.25 miles. You will also be above 10000ft at this point and sun exposed.

    As of Dec 1st, there is water flow at several points before and including High Creek Camp.

    The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. I had a map, compass and GPS. I did not need those items, though I would still ALWAYS carry them "just in case".

    Excellent training for Skyline Trail and/or Cactus to Clouds!

    A permit is NOT required for a day hike.
    Visit http://sgwa.org/wilderness-permits/ for more info.

    Jack Torrance reviewed San Bernardino Peak Trail via Angelus Oaks

    10 months ago

    This is an excellent day hike. There is nothing technical and the trail is extremely easy to follow. The first 2 1/2 miles are the most physically challenging part, with a 15% + grade. But by the time my body really started to feel the elevation, the grade relaxed and I locked my pace in all the way to the summit. Of course there are a few steep areas here and there, but they are spaced far apart and don't beat up your quads too bad at all.

    Once you break out of the forested section, the view is nearly continuous all the way to the summit. The view at the summit is lackluster in comparison to the rest of the hike, so really enjoy that view during the climb and at "the bench".

    I would compare this hike to Cucamonga via Icehouse Canyon. It is not as physically challenging imho, but the elevation challenge is of course much more significant. I absolutely loved this hike and I would probably do this very frequently if I lived close by.

    A permit is NOT required for a day hike. Visit http://sgwa.org/wilderness-permits/ for more info.

    Also, if you have a low ground clearance/performance oriented car, you may want to consider taking a different car or finding a different place to park besides the trail head. The drive from the fire station to the trail head is "offroad", with shallow ruts/loose and sharp rocks.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Reyes Peak via Chorro Grande Trail

    11 months ago

    A nice break from the crowds in the San Gabriels and the traffic getting there. I did not see another hiker on the trail. The summit is a bit anticlimactic, but I feel this hike is about the journey getting there and that journey is very neat.

    Jack Torrance reviewed Boney Ridge Traverse

    11 months ago

    I completed this in about 7 hours, including lunch on Sandstone Peak. It's a good long hike with respectable gain, which is rare for the Santa Monicas. The stretch just after Danielson Monument is challenging, as the trail is very rutted due to the wet 2016/2017 winter. Once you reach Tri Peaks, the trail is straightforward and finishes on a fire road. This would be a quality preparation hike for something like Reyes, Hines, Wilson or Cucamonga.

    Jack Torrance updated Boney Ridge Traverse

    11 months ago

    Jack Torrance updated Boney Ridge Traverse

    11 months ago