When one of my co-workers mentioned he and his girlfriend were going to climb Mt. San Gorgonio and asked if I was interested, I was all in. After living for a year in Southern California, Justin and I still hadn't really adventured into the San Bernardino Mountains, preferring instead to head up to Northern California. But we could see San Gorgonio from our main street for crying out loud, so we were keen to finally go and check it out. The plan was to spend an afternoon hiking to a sort of base camp nestled in a saddle below the summit and then actually summit the next day before heading back to the valley. Sadly, my work schedule was too tight to fit in summiting but we decided to go anyways to get a close up view of this lovely mountain.
Justin didn't get off work until noon and so by the time we got packed and drove out to the trail head it was already mid afternoon. Martin (my co-worker) and his group had already started up the trail at this point with plans for us to meet at the camp, which located at 9,000 promised a decent climb. As the hours passed and the sun dipped behind the mountains we busted out our headlamps and pushed onward. As we started the truly steep part of the assent we began to hear voices ahead of us and were pleasantly surprised to turn a switchback and find that we'd caught up to Martin and his group. An hour later as we slogged on over a now snowy trail we began to wonder if we'd missed a turn somewhere. It was with some relief after several hours in the dark to finally enter the camp. The crazy thing about Southern California is that we left shorts and t-shirt weather and by the time we pitched camp we were decked out in down jackets and long underwear. The next morning we rose early and were treated to a beautiful sunrise over the summit before packing up and heading back to the smog and rush of the valley. When I saw Martin again at work I asked how the summit was but he said that the trail had become too icy to proceed safely without crampons and so they'd been forced to turn around. Though some may wonder at the worth of such a short venture in which no party even summited, I'd argue that even just an overnight trip can to wonders for the restless spirit.