08-Dec-2007 -- This report details the failed attempt to reach the confluence at 34N 117W. We had conquered the confluence to the west, at 34N 118W, earlier in the day, and arrived at this one with only an hour of daylight left.
We arrived in the foothills of the San Bernadino mountains, which were draped in snow down to about 2000m. The weather had deteriorated as we came east, with light rain showers occuring sporadically as we sped along I-10.
We easily located the County Line road, and explored possible starting points to the west adjacent to a recently constructed residential neighborhood. Google Maps showed a plenitude of trails interwoven through the fields below the ridges we knew we would have to scale.
A short ways into the hike, the light raindrops turned to snow pellets, and the sky darkened over the mountains. The footing was muddy in the lowlands. The map indicated we had to cross one ridge and partially scale another. By the time we reached the base of the first ridge, the steep slope and gathering gloom, along with our fatigue from the earlier day's activities, was beginning to take its toll.
Leaving my companion at the base of the ridge, I continued to the top in a scouting effort. As I crested the ridge, the lowering sun came out below the canopy of clouds to the west, and a rainbow appeared in the east, arching over the higher elevations where the two ridges joined at the top.
The crest of the ridge I attained featured a dirt bike trail which continued to the top and offered a straightforward connection to the adjacent confluence ridge. I was about 200m from the confluence when I realized that I could not arrive there before the sun would set; and I would be out of sight from my companion for an extended period. I abandoned the mission, and followed the ridge trail back to the west, and rejoined my companion at the base of the ridge. We retreated in increasing darkness, and decreasing temperature. Our light jackets were soaked, as we were prepared more for coastal lowlands, and not the 1000m foothills of mountains.
With more time, we could easily have attained the zeros, but our efforts must be defined as incomplete. We even passed up a geocache in the vicinity in order to beat the darkness back to the car.