Damn Frickin’ Lucky To Be Here Day

More than 20 million Southern Californians work and play within an 80 mile radius, and yet I was literally all alone yesterday exploring the trees of the San Jacinto Wilderness.

I compared some photos, and this weekend's storm wasn't quite as cold as the January 2010 storm Bill Henry and I skied long ago. But it was still pretty darn nice!

Snowfall totals (estimated): about four feet at the Long Valley Ranger Station. Much deeper higher up. Above the magical 10K elevation, I wouldn't be surprised if there's 10-15 feet of snow as a legitimate base—not just drift depth.

This wasn't quite the cold smoke day I was hoping for. High temperature at elevation was probably around 18 degrees F, but the kicker was the humidity was high (you can see that in the fog surrounding me), so the powder skied fairly shallow given how deep it was.

There is an ice layer about 2-3 feet down, and at a few mini-pitches, I was able to kick slabs off it. That means beware Snow Creek and all the true north facing lines.

By the way, for nordic skiing and gentle touring, the San Jacinto Wilderness is absolutely sublime. Huge area, virtually no crowds, and impossibly beautiful. Whatever you do, just don't come here for powder skiing. :)

— January 25, 2017

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Colin Woo January 26, 2017 at 12:34 am

Yeah Andy! GIT SOME! :-)

Maple&Mustard January 26, 2017 at 4:56 pm

I'd say this might be one of those posts to delete... if you want to keep it your own private california... just sayin. But then again, these years don't come around that often, and most folks don't do quite as well goin from 0 to 10k, so good onya, great post, cheers!

Charles January 26, 2017 at 8:37 pm

Sublime. Thanks for the video and glad you got out there! I've had that place on my list for years, sounds like it is time to make the trip!

Andy January 26, 2017 at 11:24 pm

M&M, luckily it's really hard to get back there, so the turns to effort ratio tends to keep people away.

Joeg February 2, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Andeeeeeeee! Yah! That is beautiful work priceless. Let me know if u need music for your next one. The minimal sound track put a nice dimension on film. I can do similar stuff if u ever need.

Super jealous I went up to Baden Powell and the road was closed. Errrrrr. Forgot to bring mountain bike! Snow level at gate was over mini van roof. Crazy amount of snow I was scared and too cautious. Well done my man! Dreamy film, really cool!

Charles February 3, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Andy I wonder if you have thoughts on how long the snowpack will last there? Hoping to ski it this year but no longer live in CA so a trip will take some planning.

Andy February 3, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Unless we get an extraordinary and extended winter heat wave, the high elevations on the big peaks (Baldy, San Gorgonio, San Jacinto) are going to hold snow through at least May. There is a lot of snow up there.