Alpine start, Cactus to Clouds, Skyline Trail

I am planning to do the Cactus to Clouds hike up to San Jacinto and back

Cactus to Clouds elevation profile

Cactus to Clouds elevation profile

with a loaded pack.  Even though the tire training has gotten to go pretty well, I want to keep the training load up as much as possible.

One thing about this trail.  It’s got some of the largest vertical relief in the country and made Backpacker’s Top 10 toughest day hikes in the country.  They did leave off the Rim-Rim-Rim hike in Grand Canyon, though.  At 49 miles, that’s right up there.

As long as I’m not repelled by the storm that’s supposed to be brewing in southern California, I’m planning to hike from the Desert Museum to the top of San Jacinto.  It promises to be a 34 mile round trip hike.  The last time I attempted this, I only made it to the tram.  I got a city-slicker start at 8am and paid dearly in the desert heat.

Now, I’m not too worried about the heat.  Instead, I’ll be bringing crampons, ice axe and snow shoes on this trip.  The last mile up to the shelf by the tram is extremely steep, nearly 1,700 feet per mile.  When that area ices over, it’s very dangerous.  I’ve heard of other hikers perishing.  As was, when I was hiking through after a rain shower, the mud was rather slick and it made the experience memorable.

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