Snow Creek, East Trail

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Snow Creek, East Trail

Postby Dunning Kruger » Tue May 31, 2022 6:44 pm

Hi Ed,
I'm 56 and thought a single day was fine. We started at 11:30 pm and hit the Cockstone at first light (7 hours). We summited around 3:00 pm (16 total hours) and hit the tram around 6:00 pm. One of our party was a 29 year old Navy SEAL and he topped out in about 14½ hours. This route adds about 1½ miles and 500' of gain/loss compared to the illegal route but you can legitimately claim a 10,000' day.

The parking is located in a lightly populated neighborhood and adds a big bonus for car to car camping or efficiency for descending skiers and snowboarders.

All that said, there's little time to spare, so a single day attempt could be an issue if you get off trail and aren't using the track for navigation. I think the best way to avoid an epic is to go up late in the winter to Falls Creek (6 hours), assess the snow accumulation and camp. I'd go light and fast from camp to the Chockstone and understand that all of the 5 miles from car to Chockstone will be done by headlamp on game day.

I've camped at Falls Creek a few times. I enjoyed the scenery, took in some bouldering and the recon made me feel better about the event.

A two day with a camp near the drop-in entrance to Snow Creek would be fine as well but that extra weight!
Dunning Kruger
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Re: Snow Creek, East Trail

Postby Ed » Wed Jun 01, 2022 9:34 am


Rare to see trip reports so helpful, well-written and with video simply fun to watch as well.

Scouting to familiarize with the approach and snow conditions at the lower end is certainly good advice. But snow conditions at the upper and lower ends can be quite different. As I have mentioned before, we found ourselves swimming in deep, soft snow at the upper end because there had been a recent heavy storm, and the chute had avalanched, but the avalanche started several hundred feet below the ridge. We would have had to have scouted the upper end of the route from the tram to know that.

Also, I am fairly sure we took the chute to the right where it Y's. While it was steeper at the top, as chutes usually are, and tops you out a bit lower down and further from the summit, I don't recall the slope as being a problem for any experienced snow climber. Only the avalanche danger!

For people who want to consider two days, it splits the climb nicely between about 4k and 6k of elevation gain, no hiking in the dark, and the only camping gear you need is a sleeping bag, mattress and ground sheet.
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