Skyline trail closed until further notice

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Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Florian » Tue Feb 01, 2022 4:40 pm

Via Jon King at SanJacJon.com .. URGENT UPDATE: Effective today, Tuesday 1st February 2022, Mt. San Jacinto State Park has closed the section of Skyline Trail that falls within the State Park boundary. The District Superintendents Order (no. 954-22-007) states “Skyline Route conditions are unsafe … due to dangerous ice accumulation” and that “Skyline Route is closed until further notice from the 5800′ State Park boundary to its intersection with the Desert View Trail”.
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Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Florian » Tue Feb 01, 2022 4:48 pm

State park notice .. https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=636
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Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby guest » Tue Feb 01, 2022 5:46 pm

Thanks Florian, I guess it was inevitable, to prevent a potential disaster, as has happened before, (including the ranger fall a couple weeks ago).
Bummer for those experienced and capable, because of some who think higher of themselves than their abilities. I wonder if any "outlaws will still climb it, (not suggesting it at all). There's hardly any other area to reach Long Valley, (even if your super fit and experienced with conditions as they are), so I wonder if state park will station someone at the top? Could they ask for your tram ticket, (as annual passes are no longer valid)?
I'm assuming they will reopen it when most of the ice melts. Good time for those who want to train for the whole climb, going to 4k ft. (or higher, as I doubt that section will be watched), and turning around.
Now if someone attempts it, and gets in trouble, could they be charged, if they passed a closed sign?
Is anyone entering the state park, (at 4-5k ft. on a single track in the boonies), supposed to know this anyway, (if they don't pass a sign.
Florian, let us know if a sign appears at the trailhead(s), thanks.
ss
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Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Wildhorse » Wed Feb 02, 2022 2:11 pm

I doubt that this closure will save lives. Skyline is not the only dangerous hike. The closure may divert hikers to other places where injury and death are possible. I am thinking about the young man who died hiking Southridge Trail on Sunday.

Certainly fitness, skill and caution acquired through experience can reduce injury and risk and is essential to enjoying the land and our bodies. Injury happens anyway sometimes. Even trees fall.

Governments seem to use safety a lot to justify their actions. It is a cop-out

Too much safety kills the human spirit. Best is to learn to live with danger.
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Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Ed » Wed Feb 02, 2022 4:02 pm

I agree with Wildhorse. A closure tends to send a binary message: this area is unsafe for everybody (closed), or this area is safe for everybody (not closed). Everybody on this message board knows that the issues are far more complex: a spectrum of conditions vs. a spectrum of fitness, equipment, training, experience, judgement and risk tolerance.

And, at the risk of being a little cynical, the state park closure seems to have been triggered by the fall of a state park ranger. I wonder at San Bernardino National Forest closing areas for years after a fire, on the grounds that a hiker is going to killed by a falling tree, when every year people are dying in the winter in unclosed areas.

But it is understandable that decision-makers in authority positions feel compelled to do something. It will be interesting to see if there are signs at the trailheads, let alone anybody policing the trail. How often do you see a volunteer ranger on any trail, let alone a national forest or state park employee?
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Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Wildhorse » Fri Feb 04, 2022 8:40 am

Ed, I think you are not cynical, but intuitive.

The closure seems to be an action taken in grief for a loss. Better would be to acknowledge responsibility for the ranger’s fall and to look for ways to perform rescues with less risk to the rangers.

The land management agencies all seem afflicted by trauma and moral injury. Better for them, and for us, is to keep the land open - that is why they exist as managers.

Hiking Skyline, for many people, is like performing a dangerous stunt for the sake of recognition. Too bad. The land managers cannot change that phenomenon.
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Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Pyrodude » Sat Feb 05, 2022 5:40 pm

Wildhorse and Ed, I wholeheartedly agree with your posts.
So much of what we can do outside the safe confines of our livingrooms is fraught with some sort of danger.
Winter hiking and climbing adds to the risks and skills required.
However, there are myriad winter hikes and climbs in California that claim the lives of people on a regular basis.
From Whitney, to Baldy, to Russell and Yosemite. These mountains and trails are not closed because they pose a danger.
FWIW, I have never seen or been aware, in the past 10 years, of a Ranger venturing onto Skyline Trail. They call SAR for that duty.
God Bless RMRU and PSMP-SAR for that difficult task which they perform selflessly and expertly when called upon.
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Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Ellen » Tue Feb 08, 2022 1:29 pm

Howdy all :)

Thank you Wildhorse, Ed and Pyrodude for your thoughtful responses. I agree.

Let's see if the signs prevent rescues. I recall several times that groups have posted on this forum for advice. Forum members, including folks who've climbed Snow Creek, tried to dissuade these individuals. The groups went up anyway and required rescue. In 2017, a group of nine were hoisted off the traverse one by one after disregarding our advice.

Miles of smiles,
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Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby zippetydude » Tue Feb 08, 2022 2:42 pm

Hi everybody!

So, I rarely agree with closures. They usually are pointless and go on for months or years.

This one might be different.

I've only had a few incidents on the trail with ice - they were treacherous at best, and only with great caution did I walk away unscathed. If they really only keep the closure in effect until the icy conditions melt off, I think this isn't a bad idea. If someone has hiked all the way up to the traverse and it's icy, they're going to be tempted to give it a go. "It's only icy for a few feet" they will think. Then, one fatal slip and it's just a little too late to safely realize that crossing is a bad choice. I have turned around in the manzanita and at Flat Rock...it would be terribly tempting to give it a shot at the traverse, simply because you are just a few minutes from the top at that point.

You can't argue with ice. Most of us with experience have encountered just how quickly things can go wrong. For now, I think it's probably a prudent decision. You don't walk around on volcanoes while they are active, you don't go down to the beach during a tsunami warning, and you don't attempt icy mountainsides without crampons and an ice axe. My two cents.

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Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Ed » Tue Feb 08, 2022 4:21 pm

Zip,

Good to hear from you! I understand the point you made. A case can be made for this closure. I view it as a gray area issue, not black and white. But after thinking it over, I decided I was overall against it. Mainly because if trails are sometimes closed, when conditions are exceptionally bad, non-closure is going to be interpreted by some people as the trail being safe.
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