June 2006 - Mt San Jacinto
This one was a short overnight backpack, including climbing Mt San Jacinto (10,834'). Actually we took the Palm Springs tram to the 8500' level first, which for us was a bit of a novelty.
Area map. The range of mountains separates the desert from the coastal basin, but the most unique part about this summit is the vertical gain from the desert side - more than 11,000 feet, since the Coachella basin is nearly as deep as Death Valley. I read that from this summit you can see out to Arizona and even to Mt Charleston in Nevada, if the air is really clear. I bet you could see Catalina Island too.
Our group picture at the top of the tram
Near-360 movie from the summit, 756kb (no sound). Starts and finishes looking about north. That's Mt San Gorgonio at the end, over 11000'. See if you can guess which direction LA is.
Video of tram ride down, 1.1Mb (no sound)