Mt. San Jacinto



So this one was interesting.

Finding myself in Palm Springs CA for the week with a team work trip, I couldn't help but stare at the amazing mountain scenery we had a great view of from our backyard.


Monologue time.

Now I know what you're thinking right now Dave, you've had to sacrifice climbing while you've been finishing your undergrad degree. Physics doesn't frequently leave time for food, sleep, or people, let alone awesome adventures. Plus you work this entire week, when would you make this happen? You're not going to quit out on a day of work, it sets a bad example.

It would be irresponsible to bring anyone else from the office out there with you, no one has any alpine experience, so that means you'd be flying solo on this one. Not the best option. And remember the last climb? Alberta? Trying hard is hard Dave. On top of all that you don't have any real gear with you, Momma would cry if she heard you went out without a helmet this time. Plus there are snakes and mountain lions. How are you supposed to fight off hungry mountain lions?!

This probably isn't a good idea Dave.

  1. You've trained hard all summer, and it's within your skill limit. Relatively reasonable margin of safety, check.
  2. Last time in Alberta was awesome, it's been forever since you've suffered a little.
  3. REI has rental helmets and axe's, you're welcome Mom!
  4. Tape the ankles. Mountain lions?! Use the rental axe, obviously.
  5. You finish work at 11pm and have to be back alive in 12 hours. Just move really fast.
  6. SOLO NIGHT CLIMB!

This is a GREAT idea Dave


That was really all it took. A little check to see if it could be done turned into a decision that it should be done. Later that week I sent a message with the important details of my plans home just in case the worst happened, and had a couple of the girls drop me off on the side of the highway 10 West of the exit to Palm Springs on 111 in the middle of the night so I could get started. I climbed hard, got as far as I possibly could on a route I knew nothing about and couldn't actually see. Later when dripping sweat with my time window nearly gone I hit my last bit of water, I called it a success and headed back.

The way down is when mistakes started happening and decision making took a turn for the worst. Having navigated my way into the thickest of shrubbery within a natural valley in an attempt to speed the descent process, my leg punched through a hidden drop and I was completely stuck. This has been a terrible call, best to take a minute and think this through again. I fought to regain enough altitude that I would at least be clear of the nightmarish bush, at which point I was able to discover a decent line downwards again that was a good compromise between speed and safety.

Bad decisions are so damn taxing.

So when I finally got down closer to 9am in the morning, maddeningly thirsty for a drink of my empty water reserves thanks to the desert heat and sun at full intensity, I lay down in the dirt and passed out for almost an hour. Cell phone reception was still full at strength, so when I arose I just called my buddy and he was there to pick me up from the side of the highway with plenty of time to spare.

I showered, I napped, and I worked until 11pm again that next day for an epic 38 hour day. I couldn't have been happier with how things turned out.

Mt. San Jacinto

California 2015