Snow update 3rd December 2018

[UPDATE Thursday 6th Dec: By 1100 there had been 1.2″ rain at 5550′ in Idyllwild, where it has been raining almost continuously since Wednesday morning. I took a quick hike yesterday morning to San Jacinto Peak, where it started snowing as we descended past Wellman Divide at 10 a.m. Then there was on/off light snow down to Humber Park. However it is a very mild system, coming from the SSW, and it is now raining at Humber Park with the snow level at about 7200′. Current forecasts suggest about 5″ inches of additional snow may fall at San Jacinto Peak today. Next full blog update will be post-storm on Friday 7th December.]

We hiked up to San Jacinto Peak via Devil’s Slide Trail and Wellman’s Divide this morning, and messed around in uppermost Snow Creek, to assess the status of melting and any changes in snow depths.

Trail conditions The snow situation is largely unchanged from the previous report of 30th November linked here. Please read that report for details. Snow depths at locations above 7500′ were largely unchanged.

Sufficient foot traffic on all major trails means that these are now relatively easy to follow. This includes Deer Springs Trail through Little Round Valley, and the Long Valley and Round Valley trails, all through to San Jacinto Peak.

Although it only received about 6″ of snow last week, the north side of Tahquitz Peak is quite treacherous, including the section of trail between Chinquapin Flat and Tahquitz Peak. It can be especially dangerous when descending from Tahquitz Peak, and in the morning when icy.

Extensive melting was taking place below 7500′ later this morning on sections of trail exposed to direct sun, such as lower Devil’s Slide, where the snow was becoming very patchy.

Microspikes are currently recommended on all trails above about 7000′ elevation. They are especially useful in the morning when snow is hard and icy, and when descending.

Weather At San Jacinto Peak today, Monday 3rd December, at 0945 the air temperature was a relatively mild 28°F (-2°C), but with a frigid windchill temperature of 8.3°F (-13°C), 58% relative humidity, and a stiff 18 mph WSW wind gusting to 31 mph.

Hikers should now be prepared for temperatures at or below freezing above about 7000′ (at lower elevations on some days), and below freezing at the highest elevations (but much colder when considering windchill effects).

Water conditions Early this morning both Jolley and Middle springs were flowing on Devil’s Slide Trail, both useful water sources for the many dogs walked on this trail. Wellman’s Cienega (9300′) was partly unfrozen and flowing well at the springs this morning.

Wellman’s Cienega North spring, 3rd December 2018.

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