C2C2T first timer

General Palm Springs area.

C2C2T first timer

Postby HikerLauren » Sat Apr 29, 2023 9:35 am

Hello everyone,

I am visiting from Vancouver Canada and am an avid hiker and runner. I regularly hike quite intense vert terrain so do not doubt my physical abilities but am curious if you think it is irresponsible to do C2C2T solo without having done this full hike before. In Canada I am used to hiking in snow (usually with a relatively compacted trail). My main concern is getting lost off the main trail especially the part between Palm Springs and the ranger station due to heat. I have done a lot of hiking in the desert on previous trips so am well aware about bringing ample water but am wondering if you think the trail route is obvious enough.

I have completed some ultra marathons and am a sub 2:45 road marathoner and do weight training alongside regular hiking; my strength/fitness is probably decent (I realize this will be quite challenging) but am mainly worried about getting lost, dangerous cliffs, etc. Also, do you think it’s safe to go solo or have you ever experience any shady characters out there? I’ve never had a suspicious experience hiking in Canada but realize it is always a risk.

Is there cell reception on the trail? I also can borrow an iPhone 14 that has a satellite SOS feature and would pre download the gps on all trails.

I am thinking of going on Wednesday or Thursday (May 3/4) due to cooler temps.

Thank you for your feedback.
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Re: C2C2T first timer

Postby guest » Mon May 08, 2023 9:18 am

Hi Hiker Lauren,
Smart for you to do some research and inquire from locals with experience on this super climb. I'm not sure that upper section of Skyline, (PS to tram), which is in state park boundaries, has re-opened, (I didn't see any info on the SP website mentioning the closure). Hopefully someone on this board has done either Skyline, or tram to summit recently, and can post conditions.
I've not been on either trails this year.

For current conditions above 6k ft. (especially on the west side (Idyllwild) of the mt, check San Jac Johns very helpful site. https://sanjacjon.com/ .
The mtns got a new dusting the middle of last week, and may have covered some of the trail, although the section from ranger Sta to summit is popular, so it should be fairly easy to follow.

The 7k-8,400ft of Skyline can have ice, and there is a good amount of exposure in areas, so you'd need at least micro-spikes, poles, and hopefully some self arrest skills. That upper section doesn't get a lot of sun, but temps have not been down to freezing at night lately.

Your trail running / wilderness experience will be very helpful even on the lower sections, as most areas in SoCal have become very overgrown from a very wet winter. There are no junctions / connectors to Skyline after the 1st mile, except the "short-cuts", (many are now the main trail), which always connect back. There are maps folks have made showing the route, (not an official trail), and it primarily stays on a ridge north of Tahquitz Cyn.
At times, people make tracks that are not the regular route, and can become rather technical, hopefully the main route is visible, and some locals have "booted it in" correctly.

Temps are looking very good for this week. Be prepared to carry a gallon, (3+ liters), for Skyline, as it is a fairly constant, steep trek, (w some easier sections in the middle), and no shade until 7k.
Cell coverage on Skyline is generally good, until you get into the trees around 6k.
There have been a few shady characters on the lower sections of Skyline, but it has been very rare, (pepper / bear spray may give a bit of security). Going on a weekday, you may not see anyone, going on a weekend may be helpful, as there's a much better chance of having company to help w navigation and other things, unless there 1st-timers too, (problem is, almost no one will be able to hang with you, ha!, although best to just keep in a comfortable, steady pace for the long haul).

Plus, you could always take the tram down after you summit San Jac, (or, even just after Skyline), you'd just need to take a cab / uber back to Museum, bring some $). Going all the way down Skyline is a real challenge, as it's steep, rocky, looks different, (can be a challenge staying on main trail), and it gets hot. I realize you've done some ultras and are very fit, but it's a grind, (poles & a good hat can help).

You'll most likely get others to add more good info here on this board. Happy climbing, scott
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Re: C2C2T first timer

Postby Ed » Mon May 08, 2023 3:49 pm


Perhaps you have already done it by this time, if so we would be very interested in a post of your experience.

About the only thing I would add to Scott's advice is a comment on route finding in the dark. My default start time was 1.5 hours before sunrise, so only a little over an hour of hiking in the dark before 'civil twilight'. However, if you are doing a C2C2, you will probably be starting earlier. Following the route can be a problem for first timers, and particularly in the dark. It is not so much a problem of becoming completely lost, as losing time and energy. It might help to have a GPS track on your phone, though I never done that and can't vouch for how well it works. It would certainly help to scout the first part of the trail in daylight, at least up to the sign above the picnic tables (which as I recall says Round Valley, when it should say Long Valley). As Scott pointed out, you are much more likely to have company on weekends, though following other people's headlamps is not a sure thing, as they can be first-timers who have lost the route.

Not being good at navigation myself, I could give more specific advice based on my errors on my first few times up, but this is enough for now.

More often than not, I hiked the trail on weekdays, when there were few if any other people on the trail. When hiking in the dark, I did like the feeling that there were people above me, to shoo the rattlesnakes and mountain lions away (though I never encountered either on this trail).
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