Training Aug 8-9, 2009
High Mountain Familiarization
By Pete Carlson
We met at the Palm Springs Tramway at 7am, to ride upon the
7:30 food carrying car to the High Country, before the first
public car at 8am. NOTE (Thanks to the Palm Springs Tramway
for letting us ride up early, they are a great group of people
and always very helpful to RMRU) We first hiked up the trail
to Round Valley to be sure everyone got to see it in the daylight.
Lots of times we are hiking this at night which makes things
look a lot different. Once there we took GPS readings and entered
the Ranger Cabin co-ordinates into out GPS units so in a winter
storm at night we can now walk right to the Cabin.
Next we headed over to Tamarack Valley again marking the GPS
way points into our units. Then we took the old trail up to
the new trail connecting at the top of the boulder field. Then
on to Miller saddle and Miller Peak, before heading up the old
back side trail to San Jacinto Peak. We had lunch on the Peak
and at this point the day hikers (Steve Bryant, Patrick McCurdy,
Dave Webb, Lew Kingman, and Carlos Carter) started hiking back
to the Tramway.
Nick Nixon (day hiker), Tom Mahood and I continued down to the
Folly Saddle where we dropped our packs and hiked up to Folly
Peak. Back to our packs we went cross country to Drury Peak
were Nick headed off to the Shirley Saddle and back to the Tramway.
Tom and I went down to Little Round Valley to meet up with (Lee,
Chad, and Les) coming in from Idyllwild to spend the night.
The next day around 11am we split up, Tom and I heading up Shirley
Peak and then down to a saddle between Shirley and Jean peaks.
From this saddle we could drop straight down to Wellmans Divide
in about 1/3 of a mile. As we dropped down we spotted 8 deer,
including 3 bucks with large antlers. Then all that was left
was an easy 3 mile, 1 hour hike, back to the Tramway arriving
about noon. It was a great hike, good familiarization and (Tom
and I) climbed 6 10,000+ foot peaks in nice cool temperatures.
We now descended down to the desert and 105 degree temperatures.
Pete points out an important landmark
Chad, Lee and Pete on Marion Summit
Pete at the base of Marion Summit
A view from the trail dropping down into saddle
My Mountain Familiarization Training from Idyllwild
to the Peak
By Les Walker “RMRU Rookie”
As Pete has covered most of the technical details of our training,
I will just add in the smaller details of my experience from
the Idyllwild side. L. Arnson and C. Marler where my partners
and guides on this training, and let me tell you, they know
this mountain range. They pointed out potential short cuts from
main trails to other trails if needed in a rescue situation
to cut response time to victims. Another great bit of information
passed along to me was the locations for good radio reception
along the main trail from Saddle Junction to Wellmans Divide.
Beside this valuable information, they educated me on local
folklore, history of certain locations and important landmarks
along the way to the Mount San Jacinto Peak.
I think for me, as a RMRU rookie the biggest lesson taught to
me, other then the what and where of the mountain was the need
to know where you are in your fitness level. With a full pack,
an 11 mile hike from Idyllwild to the Peak and then down to
little Round Valley can be a full day, then add on another day
just like that on the return. This hike is a very real life
example of what a full mountain search could contain. I moved
at a good pace but not at the pace of Arnson and Marler, thus
letting me know I have to train hard to be at the level of that