Grand Canyon Summer Double Crossing: R2R2R

The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail. -John Wesley Powell
R2R2R Adventure Cast:
Note: Hiking the Grand Canyon is dangerous in the summer heat and should not be attempted without training and experience hiking all day through 100+ degree heat.
  • Karl: The planner of the epic R2R2R adventure. Karl finished the Boston Marathon with a 2:50 time during a record heat of 100+ degrees in his college years, became known as the “run for the hoses” He has a goal to re-qualify for Boston and run it again. He is an experienced hiker and backpacker that has done numerous adventures all over the Grand Canyon and the one that introduced Colleen to the Grand Canyon.
  • Colleen: Ultrarunner Mountain Goat, completed R2R2R 16 times from summer to winter blizzards, The Grand Canyon is Colleen’s stomping and training grounds. The week before the rim adventure, Colleen went up and down Mt. Whitney twice to prepare for her upcoming 72 hour ultra-marathon race in Silverton.
  • Randall: Mountain eater and Ultrarunner that likes to do everything especially with a lot of vert, altitude, and elevation gain which explains why he ended up doing The Cactus to Clouds hike over 14 times and gets excited every time going up the San Jacintos even though he summited San Jacinto Peak so many times that he lost count.
  • Christina: All around adventurer that is prepared for everything except a sewing kit when a hiker asked Christina for one, Christina does everything from rock climbing to backpacking trips in the High Sierras and opts to ride a bike everywhere instead of driving.

    Group Shot Robert Rock

    All smiles standing up top Robert’s rock

The warm up: The Grandview Trail and the Cave of the Domes
Steep and Technical side Adventure warm up? I’m in. Colleen suggested we all meet up in the Grandview Trail to do a warm up hike before R2R2R. The warm up was a 3.5 mile 2,800+ feet descent down to Horseshoe Mesa and explore the Cave of the Domes down below then hike back up. This was an excellent side trip that I really enjoyed with lots of views of the canyons down below, while it was hot and humid outside, the temperature of the caves on the cliff side was the opposite, it felt like I was inside a fridge.
Grandview Trail

Cave of the Domes in the Grandview Trail

Adventure begins! The South Rim
After packing all our gear, we headed down South Kaibab Rim Trail to drop off Karl and Christina in the trail head, Colleen and I drove to one of the parking lots down the South Rim about a mile and a half way where we would make our starting point. This should give us time to do some trail running down the South Rim. My quads were a little sore from the warm up in the Grandview Trail, but once I started running, the soreness quickly disappeared.
SKT

The morning view of the steep and technical South Kaibab Trail.

The South Kaibab is a steep and technical trail roughly 7 miles with 5,000 feet of descent. There is no water access on this 7 mile stretch in comparison to the Bright Angel Rim Trail where water access is available. The trail is fully exposed in the sun with no shade at all, but the benefits of having a 360 degree view all around makes it a much scenic descent down or a long ascent up. We started off on at an easy run pace, as Colleen was able to give me a tour of the pinnacles and landmarks of the South Rim, time flew by fast on this section and soon we caught up with Karl and Christina.
O'neill Butte

“I’m not doing that,” says Christina while Karl is all for it doing the Colleen Pose. O’Neill Butte in the background.

We passed through a group of mule riders on the way up back to South Rim and thought we were insane for doing a rim crossing at this time of the year. On a side note, the mule riders have the right of away at all times in the trails, so it was important for us to stop and let them pass through.
Mule riders

Mule Riders on their way up South Kaibab Trail

It was starting to warm up at this point, with just a running vest, our gear was light and minimal; we needed to move fast and went on ahead of Karl and Christina running the rest of the way to Phantom Ranch. The long black rope across the Colorado River from a distance was starting to take form of a bridge and soon we were crossing the bridge over the Colorado River.
Black Bridge SKT

The view of the black bridge and the Colorado River as we descended down the South Rim.

This was the hottest part of the day at this point; Colleen suggested cooling off on one of the tributaries near Phantom Ranch. It was a life saver from the 100+ degree heat, the water on the stream was ice cold and my body temperature quickly dropped. A quick stop at Phantom Ranch for Coffee and Ice cold Lemonade was a much needed break from all the downhill running. Phantom Ranch was like an oasis and the best spot to place a restaurant, being located deep inside the rim, mules have to carry all the food and supplies in order to feed and serve hikers that made it at this point. Karl and Christina soon came in just minutes before us.
Steam Cooling off PR

What heat? taking a much needed break to cool off in the triple digit summer heat.

Karl has been looking forward to get a taste of the Phantom Ranch coffee all morning and was planning on staying a little longer at Phantom Ranch. We went on ahead towards the next section and hottest part of the canyon, the 7.5 mile “heat zone” towards Cottonwood Campground.
Phantom Ranch Heat Warning

Colleen and Karl pose for a picture in Phantom Ranch along with the excessive heat warning sign.

Running Inside a Heat Oven up the North Rim
After soaking our clothes and hat on the water fountain to get some early relief from the triple digit temperature, We headed towards Cottonwood Campground. Just as what Colleen mentioned earlier, once entering the Box Canyon the temperature rose even higher. The heat in the Grand Canyon is like no other, it felt like it was slowly draining away my energy and the best way to beat it is to enjoy it. Colleen suggested we run to Cottonwood Campground while cooling off on the streams, the faster we get to Cottonwood Campground, the more relief we get from the heat. It would take less than 2 hours if we ran this section and so we did.
Box Canyon Heat

The view of the scenic Box Canyon.

It was just like an inside of an oven, well a scenic Grand Canyon oven. It was hot that I want to get to Cottonwood Campground as soon as possible, but the jaw dropping scenic views on every turn with a soothing stream that I want to take my time getting to Cottonwood Campground, I could not make up my mind. A hellish heat and a heavenly scenery such a paradox.
Cactus Plant

A rare sign inside Box Canyon, a lone cactus blooming in the middle of the summer heat from the words of Karl “Something so angry, is so beautiful!”

Every stream encounter, we stopped and cooled off, it felt great as our body temperature would drop. A few of minutes later, our soaked clothes would be dry and it was hot again. We soon reached a tough section where Colleen calls it “Arsehole” hill, Karl also calls it that and after running through that hill, I called it that.
Heat Baptize

So this it what it feels like to be baptized in the Grand Canyon, cooling off in one of the many streams along the way to Cottonwood Campground.

About 2 hours later, we finally made it to Cottonwood Campground and quickly passed through since our goal was filling our water and taking a break about a mile away in the Pumphouse. Eventually, we got to the Pumphouse where the water in the fountain was chilling cold, the water felt really good as we headed towards the beginning of the steep climb up the North Rim. At the same time, Colleen decided to change into flip flops and started running on them.
Pumphouse Cooling off

Colleen cooling off in the freezing water of the Pumphouse.

Colleen kicked up the pace up the steep North Rim as we passed through hikers that had that mystified look seeing Colleen hiking and running on flip flops. At this point, I was trying to keep up with Colleen’s pace and keeping my mind of the pain by gazing on the layers of rock formations and the shift from desert to alpine vegetation. Eventually after going through a series of steep never ending switchbacks, we finally made it up the North Rim where Colleen’s flip flop hiking was the talk of every hiker on the North Rim trail head. A couple from Pennsylvania offered us a ride to the North Rim Lodge and we quickly accepted.
Flip flop

Socks and Flipflop? It works just fine, just ask Colleen.

Civilization, Fancy Dinner, and R2R2R
We thanked the couple from Pennsylvania that dropped us off the North Rim Lodge, it was a much different scene compared to the Grand Canyon Village in the South Rim. There were tourists in the North Rim as well, but it had a much more peaceful and relaxing setting. Earlier that day, Karl sent us the reservation paper just in case we were able to make it to the North Rim first and see if we were able check in the lodge. After waiting in-line, Colleen was able to the keys to the cabin and we were able to get cleaned up to do more exploring on the trails up the North Rim. There were many trails to explore including the Trancept Trail or a short trail leading up to Bright Angel Point where the view was so amazing and was high enough to see the whole Grand Canyon all the way to the South Rim. At this viewpoint, I was able to see how big this Rim to Rim hike was.
Bright Angel Point

The view of the Grand Canyon from Bright Angel Point

Colleen who has done the R2R2R hike over 16 times, knows the inside and outs and how hot it gets inside the canyons was getting a little worried, but a text from Karl and Christina saying they made safely up the North Rim was a relief. The heat down the canyons was a brutal one, Karl and Christina worked as a team and stayed in a group including opting to both walk from the North Rim all the way to the lodge when there was only one spot when they tried to hitch a ride to the lodge.
Karl Christina North Rim

All smiles, the heat and steep climb up the North Rim can’t stop Karl and Christina.

We met up with Karl and Christina at the cabin, they are in high spirits and we all shared our stories as we headed down the lodge to watch the sunset. It was a sight to see when every tourist around you was off their phones watching silently and just staring at the sun setting in the Grand Canyon with that glowing awe in their faces.
North Rim Lodge

The North Rim Lodge with the picturesque view of the Grand Canyon.

Karl had everything planned out including reserving a fancy dinner at the lodge. A Fancy dinner, sleeping comfortably, and the R2R2R adventure, all those does not add up, the amount of planning that Karl did to pull this off was simply extraordinary and I wanted to learn more and tried to pick out his brain at the adventuring planning realm. After dinner, we were able to sleep in and prepare for the last part of our R2R2R adventure which was heading back down the North Rim and back up to the South Rim.
North Rim Lodge Dinner

Fancy Steak, Lamb, Pasta Dinner, wine, and R2R2R, say what???

Side adventure to Ribbon Falls and Chocolate Cakes
I woke up that morning with Karl on the phone confirming our dinner at Phantom Ranch making sure everything was all planned out, we all had a good sleep and woke up refreshed ready for more adventures. Karl and Christina went on ahead of us to get a head start going down the North Rim while we headed down to the North Rim store to refill our packs and eat breakfast. The North Rim Lodge is about 1.5 miles away from the trail of the North Rim, as soon as we got to the trail head, we started flying down the North Rim recklessly, but safely using trekking poles. The rim was very active early that morning with all sorts of activities going on such as mule rides and the conservationist working on the trails. The best way to describe going down the North Rim was its like I am looking at this master piece of a painting as I headed down.
Run down North Rim

The painting like view as we ran down the North Rim.

We were able to catch up with Karl and Christina about 3/4 of the way to Ribbon Falls. Colleen gave us a tour of the land marks and rocks names including Steve Harvey’s Rock. As we headed pass the Pumphouse and Cottonwood Campground, we strayed off for a side adventure towards Ribbon Falls.
On the way North Rim

The dropout views of the North Rim as we headed down to Ribbon Falls.

The temperatures was reaching over 100 at this point, we followed a stream and thick jungle like vegetation, the temperature began to slowly drop as we headed towards Ribbon Falls. It was another master piece of a view looking up the falls. Ribbon falls consist of two levels, the lower level which was a gentle waterfall flowing through a mossy wall and the upper level where it was rumbling and loud, we were able to get behind the waterfalls.
Lower Ribbon Falls

The lower section of Ribbon  Falls.

It was hard to resist not to get soaked under the waterfalls, even Karl who wasn’t interested at first, joined in on the fun cooling off in the waterfalls. We stayed here for a while to snack and cool off to the point where I started shaking from the cold.
Upper Ribbon Falls

Karl and Colleen at the upper level of Ribbon Falls.

Karl and Christina went on ahead towards our next stop, Phantom Ranch. We soon followed afterwards, passing through my favorite section, Box Canyon. I was looking forward to going back here and being in between two 500 foot cliff walls with a stream on the right side of the trail, It was soothing to hear the stream and wind walking through this section. I was expecting a heat wave oven, but with such unpredictable weather in the Grand Canyon, it was cloudy and the temperature started to drop.
Box canyon way back

The view of Box Canyon on the way back to Phantom Ranch.

Karl and Christina was there waiting when we got to Phantom Ranch, we had a dinner of Vegetable Chili and Beef Stew. Colleen was telling me how hard the hike out the South Kaibab Rim was going to be and I ended up eating more Beef Stew than I would normally ate. I was full at this point and surprisingly, we were served chocolate cake for dessert! Chocolate Cake down in the rim and R2R2R, that is just too good to be true. We all had a slice and it was the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten. At this point of the hike, Karl and Christina was planning on staying on Phantom Ranch for the night while Colleen and I were heading out doing the hike up South Kaibab Trail at night.
Phantom Ranch Cake

Chocolate cake inside the Grand Canyon? Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

The Climb up South Kaibab Rim
My legs were tired and I was full from a hearty dinner down at Phantom Ranch heading up towards the South Kaibab Rim, it was 2 miles shorter than the Bright Angel Rim, but that equates to more steepness on the climb up the Rim. We crossed the black bridge with the roaring Colorado River underneath us, our progress was measured on how little that bridge become as we catch our breath and take in the scenic views.
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The roaring Colorado River as we went back up the South Kaibab Trail.

As the sun slowly set over the horizon and darkness came, the stars began to fill the night sky. It was an amazing sight to see it in the Grand Canyon, I couldn’t explain it, I keep gazing up the stars as I went up with a smile. Physically, I was hurting from the never ending switch back and the steep climb up the south rim, but it was contradictory to how I am feeling, I was happy and smiling as I went up, I did not want the climb to end. As we reach half way through the rim, Nature’s drums, thunder started making music all over the canyons followed by flashes of lightning bolts lighting up the sky like fireworks. The whole grand canyon illuminated for a split second, I was enjoying every second of the light show up in the sky. I felt blessed and fortunate to be able to experience this, its like the canyons was feeding me the energy to keep on going, the pain and soreness on my legs was non existent at this point.
South Kaibab sign

Having way too much fun reenacting the vomiting sign as we headed up South Kaibab Trail during the night. 

The steeper it get, the better I felt. I became energized, ecstatic, and couldn’t stop talking about how awesome it was, Colleen suggested I should run up the rest of the way and burn it off. As we made it up to the final stretch to reach the top South Rim marking the end of the R2R2R hike, the quote from author Jules Renald came into mind throughout this whole adventure which was “On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it” We were fortunate enough to experience a small piece of it in the Grand Canyon, not many get to experience this.
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“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it” – Jules Renald. The view from the North Rim all the way to the South Rim.  Mt. Humphreys, the tallest peak in Arizona standing over 12,635 feet can be seen over the horizon.


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The next day Karl and Christina made it out of the Grand Canyon and completed R2R2R by taking the longer south rim in the Bright Angel Trail.

 

The Grand Canyon Double Crossing Trip Breakdown:

Distance and elevation can be viewed here: http://www.rimtorim.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Rim-to-Rim-Map-2.jpg

Friday:

  • Warm up hike in the Grandview Trail

Saturday: 

  • South Rim via South Kaibab Trail to the North Rim.
  • Spend the night at the North Rim Lodge and Dinner (reservation required)

Sunday (2 options)  

  • North Rim to Phantom Ranch for Dinner then up South Kaibab Trail
  • North Rim to Phantom Ranch for Dinner and spend the night. (reservation required)

Monday

  • Phantom Ranch to either the South Kaibab Trail (no water) or the Bright Angel Trail (water access)

 

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8 Summits of San Jacinto

The 8 peaks of San Jacinto has been one of my summit project adventures that is been in the works since earlier this year. The idea of doing an all-out summit of all the 10,000+ peaks in a day would be a test of knowledge up in the mountains and how well I can traverse and navigate based on the topography of the terrain. There is very little information about an all-out summit of the San Jacintos, being able to do it my way seems more adventurous and rewarding. That I did, It was fun doing numerous adventure trip up the San Jacintos to map out a route little by little and doing overnight camping trips helped improved my backpacking skills while mixing in my ultra-marathon training while being up in altitude.
map of the 8 peaks

The Aerial 3D Google Earth view of the 8 Peaks of San Jacinto

There was a total of seven 10,000+ peaks that I have to summit in the San Jacintos which is Miller Peak, Jean Peak, Shirley Peak, Marion Mountain, Newton-Drury Peak, Foley Peak, and San Jacinto Peak. For some reason, I didn’t think 7 peaks is enough and thought it would be even better adding a rock climbing peak, Cornell (9,860 feet) to the mix, making it a total of 8 peaks. My plan was to start at the Mountain Station in the Palm Springs side and work from there.
FullSizeRender (8)

The aerial 3D Google Earth View of the the 8 peaks of San Jacinto

Gear
  • A lot of trial and error along with multiple trips including a 5 peak summit adventure, I was able to dial in on the right gear and with a lot of rock climbing and scrambling, I need to be as light as possible carrying the minimal essential gear, there was no room for error. The list of the gear includes:
  1. Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest
  2. 2 L Water Bladder
  3. 2 18 oz Water Bottles
  4. Black Diamond Trekking Poles
  5. Black Diamond Headlamp
  6. Patagonia Alpine Houdini Jacket
  7. 2 Redbull Energy Drink
  8. 1,000 calorie worth of CarboPro Powder
  9. 2 Starbucks Bacon Gouda Sandwich
July 10, 2016
8:25 AM – Game on
I filled out my day permit and it was game on, no turning back. All of the 8 summits or bust, it was exciting and had a race atmosphere with all the preparation and planning leading up to this day. I went on and took the bush whacking route known as the Sid Davis then cut off once I got close to base of Cornell Peak. From my previous trip up Cornell, trekking poles are useful on this area since it is a steep incline getting to the base of Cornell.
IMG_5649

The Sid Davis Route

 

9:30 AM – # 1 Cornell Peak

I got to the base of Cornell and looked for a spot where I felt comfortable to start my climb to the summit block. I have done a standalone adventure up Cornell previously in the winter and it’s a fun Class IV climb. It is not until I signed the summit registry that I realized that many who reached the summit block have multiple attempts in their belt before they were able to accomplish this feat and earned the right to put their name and thoughts in the summit registry of Cornell Peak.
image1 (1)2

The previous entry along with mine on the summit registry.

One down 7 to go, I took my time and safely descended down the peak. I connected back to the Sid Davis route, not many know about this route and in my opinion it is the most scenic route with the best alpine scenery throughout the whole San Jacintos, as long as you do not get lost. The time it took to summit and go down Cornell Peak ate up majority of the day since going up this peak is a whole day adventure on its own.
cornell

The view of the summit block of Cornell Peak.

1:18 PM – #2 Miller Peak
The last section of the Sid Davis route cuts straight through and connects back to the main San Jacinto trail, summiting Miller Peak was straight forward since it was not too far off located on the second switchback leading up to San Jacinto Peak. Out of all the peaks, Miller has the best view of the Desert Floor down below and the Gorgonio Mountains. 2 down, 6 more to go, I went back to the main trail and headed towards the saddle leading to the next one.
Miller Peak

The summit of Miller Peak.

2:35 PM – #3 Jean Peak
Lots of Boulders and scrambling is the best way to describe the saddle leading up to Jean Peak. From a distance, the boulders looked like tiny pebbles and an easy climb up the summit, as I get close the tiny pebbles slowly turn into behemoth boulders. On the way up, I saw another hiker going down from Jean Peak heading towards back to the main trail.
View 3

The view of Jean Peak from the summit of Miller Peak.

 
The hiker turned out to be a Sierra Club Hiker who completed all the 100 peaks not once, but twice and was here to do a 3 summit route Newton-Drury, Jean Peak, and San Jacinto Peak. The hiker looked really worried, “No time, you can’t do it, it will be dark by the time you get to Marion” was his response after mentioning I was going for an 8 peak route. I got even more excited and wanted to finish this even more. The hiker wished me luck and I continued making my way up the summit of Jean Peak. There was a nice rainbow cloud as I got up and took the opportunity to take an epic summit picture with the rainbow cloud behind me. The nice thing about the summit of Jean Peak, it is like the eye of the storm located right in the middle of it all with the view of all the alpine scenery and all the mountains that I needed to summit. I spotted Shirley Peak, chugged a Redbull and ate one of my bacon Gouda sandwich then scrambled my way down the boulders.
Jean Peak 4

The summit of Jean Peak with a rare rainbow cloud in the sky.

3:13 PM – #4 Shirley Peak
Descending down Jean Peak towards Shirley Peak felt like I was inside a pinball machine as I went down bouncing like a pinball through the boulders and bushes. It made sense why the Sierra Club hiker I met earlier smiled and laughed when I asked him what it’s like going down to Shirley Peak and told me “I can’t tell you, you have to experience it” It was a relief getting out of the maze of boulder fields then being able ascend up towards the peak.
Bobs Peak 5

Just pick a name…

Once reaching the summit, I had a great view of the whole Idyllwild side; I found and signed the summit registry then took the “picture or it did not happen” shot. Unfortunately, the “never a dull moment” struck out of nowhere and a strong gust of wind suddenly send my phone flying down the boulders below.
bobs peak

The summit of Shirley Peak.

 
The good news, it is on a LifeProof case and the bad news, I have no idea exactly where it landed since it was bouncing from one boulder to another as it went inside one of the cracks. After about a half hour later of going under and squeezing underneath the boulders, I was able to locate it unscathed. It took a lot effort and I ended up chugging down my 2nd redbull drink then headed onward towards the next mountain.
searching

Under the boulder down below where I found my phone.

4:05 PM – #5 Marion Mountain
It was a change of pace getting to Marion Mountain from Shirley Peak, since it’s mostly downhill and flat, but this was inside the dense timber forest with all the trees blocking and obscuring the view. It was difficult to tell whether you’re in the right direction or not, but having a compass or the coordinates dialed in Marion mountain solves this problem. I made it out the dense timber forest towards the base of Marion Mountain and the climbing begins all over again.
Marion Mountain

The view as I headed to Marion Mountain, once inside the trees using a compass or a GPS helps.

At this point, all the climbing and scrambling is starting to take its toll in my arms and legs. I tried to minimize the damage by avoiding and going around any boulder and fallen tree logs whenever there is a way around it. A little past 4, I finally made it up, having to spider walk up between two huge boulders which was really fun and took the obligatory Marion Mountain summit shot.
Arriving

Compass or GPS Coordinates or just both. What is lost?

 
I was able to sit back and relax while taking in the view until reality struck, I can see San Jacinto Peak and it was a long distance away. My doubt sets in and wondered whether I can really summit all of the 8 peaks since I was low on time. I quickly set that thought aside and shifted focus on to the next, Newton-Drury Peak.
5 down

5 down, 3 more to go

 
5:03 PM – #6 Newton-Drury
I was able to cover a lot of distance running down towards the base of Newton-Drury until I saw the actual peak that I have to summit. Newton-Drury Peak looked like an impenetrable mountain fortress with boulders as it walls, just looking at it seems intimidating. At this point, I thought I was going to be spending the night up the San Jacintos Mountains, but I needed to put up a fight and try to siege the mountain fortress. I rethink my approach and looked into the topography map. I decided to gamble on a spot on the far right side where I hope there wouldn’t be as many boulders, but I needed to hike a little bit more to get there. It was an effective and decisive move, the fortress was weak on the far right side; it was steep, but not as many boulders compared to taking it head on.
fortress

Newton-Drury Peak or as I call it “The Mountain Fortress”

I slowly made my way up and eventually making it to the summit, I felt done at this point, but seeing a lone little pine tree up the summit sitting next the summit registry growing on top of the boulder and wondering how in the world did a tree grow through a boulder. The little tree was a never give up symbol and gave me hope to keep going and try to get to the last 2 peaks, Foley and San Jacinto Peak.
newton drury

The strong little pine tree that decided it wants to grow on top of the summit boulder of Newton-Drury Peak.

7:02 PM – #7 Foley Peak
I went with my planned route to get to Foley which was descent northwest from Newton-Drury Peak while avoiding the habitat zone and headed towards a gully that eventually connects to The Little Long Valley Ranger Station from there, go up Deer Springs and was planning on cutting off the trails after a mile and work my way climbing ridgeline towards Foley Peak.
gully

The gully that I hope would eventually lead to Deer Springs Trail.

There was one problem, I couldn’t handle another ascending bushwhacking bouldering session at this point and had to make a last minute adjustment on the fly by going all the way up towards the base of San Jacinto Peak then work the ridgeline by descending towards Foley which adds another mile and more elevation, but a less strenuous approach.
As much as I would like to avoid climbing rocks at this point, it was unavoidable to get to Foley, I slowly made my way up the summit. The view up Foley was a sight to see, I was above the clouds and my fatigue slowly dissipated, it was worth the climb and revitalizing. I signed the register and wrote “1 to go, San Jacinto Peak!”
foley

The summit of Foley Peak with the breathtaking above the clouds view.

summit Register

Adrenaline and excitement kicks in with 1 more peak to go!

7:58 PM – #8 San Jacinto Peak
I was like a shark that smelled blood at this point; I can’t be stopped from getting where I want to be, San Jacinto Peak. I was on a summit hunting mode, hopping quickly from one boulder to another. Eventually, I got to the start of the class IV climb of San Jacinto Peak where the winter mountaineer route S2C (Snowcreek to Clouds) is located.
view 2

The golden sunset over the summit of San Jacinto.

After a half hour of climbing, I finally made it up the summit of San Jacinto Peak and was greeted by a golden sun setting over the horizon. I been up the summit of San Jacinto countless times to the point that I do not count it anymore, but it never gets old, its always special summiting San Jacinto. As John Muir wrote, “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!” All 8 peaks of San Jacinto provided me with that view, it was an epic way to end a successful 8 peak adventure that took months of planning, it had a little bit of everything from running to navigating down to rock climbing.There were no medals or 100 mile buckles, but I felt the same feeling of accomplishment just as when crossed the finish line of an Ironman or finishing a 100 mile race.
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8 Peaks, 8 Summit. Saved the best for last San Jacinto Peak.