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San Jacinto Peak, Cornell Peak

13 July 1968

By: Les Stockton

Leader: Ken Ferrell
Asst.: Les Stockton

Meeting at the tramway above Palm Springs at 8:45 a.m., we found the first tram take off was at 10:00 a.m. The "mayor" of Palm Springs, Sid Davis, was with us and attempted valiantly (though unsuccessfully) to set the first trip up to 9:30 a.m. Although "times-a-wasting", the delay gave us a chance to become better acquainted with the Newcomers. In beautiful weather, we joyfully (in high spirits) proceeded from the 2000 foot level to the halfway point of the tram ride, where the tram refused to go any further. Some of the "New People" who had never been on a Sierra trip before were visibly upset when we started drawing lots in mock seriousness to determine who had to be sacrificed for the good of all. The tram operator finally determined that he had the 800 gallons of water (6400 lbs.) aboard that is not carried when more than 40 passengers were present. The rains came suddenly to a section of rock below us as 800 gallons were unceremoniously dumped so we could proceed. Undaunted, our 54 stalwarts ignored the 1/2 hour delay, although it would have been the "sheerest irony" if a Sierra Club Group had to be rescued while riding in a gondola of the tramway constructed over club opposition a few years ago.

Our trail was pine covered, the pace was easy and conversation filled the air. Even then, we left 7 people to return or wait at the 3 mile mark. We continued on the beautiful, though now open and hot, trail to the summit of San Jacinto with its superb view. Steve Molnar offered to lead 11 peak baggers to Folly Peak, while 3 others climbed Jean Peak. After a leisurely lunch on San Jacinto we dropped back to the valley and 42 climbers assailed one of the few 100 peak "rock climbs", roping up a short chimney, over a knife edge to the register, down the other side to a short jump-off (assisted and roped). Ken Ferrell set up a foolproof rope system, however an "experienced" rock climber decided he didn't need a rope, peeled off the rock, dropped about eight feet backwards, landed on both feet and his back. Fortunately he was unhurt, but an instant before, a woman (my wife!) was standing where he "arrested" and would have been knocked off the rock. Needless to say, he was roped the rest of the time! All 42 were successful despite the profuse verbal instruction each climber received from the waiting kibitzers. Sam Fink (who was scouring the area hunting for an 11 year old "lost" boy) met us on top of San Jacinto and was a wonderful help as usual in roping up the non-rock climbers on Cornell Peak.

The last tram down was 7:30 p.m. and the last group was out in plenty of time, even after some extended cold refreshment at the complete facilities on top. All were up and down safely, a completely satisfying day.

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