26 03 2010

Today Justyna and I climbed Mount Baldy, the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains rising high above the LA basin to a height of 10,068′. We left this morning with doubts about the weather due to the fact that there where a lot of low clouds and fog around LA. But as we approached the trailhead we realized these doubts where unnecessary because we soon broke through the clouds and fog at around 5000′ and got to enjoy a blue bird sky with a beautiful under cast (imagine an over cast sky but instead of above you the clouds are beneath you). We picked up our wilderness permit and then started hiking up the approach trail around 9:30AM. The initial 2.5 mile was wonderful, hiking through an open pine forest with spectacular views of the valley below and the Baldy Bowl looming ahead. We took a break at the Sierra Club Ski Hut before we geared up for the climb ahead. We had decided on taking a line directly up the bowl to the summit, the climb had started off on 30-35 degree snow slopes gradually steepening to 40-45 degrees with a couple of 50+ degree sections. The snow conditions where just about perfect by the time we got in the bowl with the top layer of snow softening up just enough to kick nice steps all the way up. We headed directly up the bowl to one of the chutes high on the face before continuing on through a brief rock section followed by a slightly steeper snow slope to the summit plateau above. As we approached the lip of the bowl we started to hear the wind above, up to this point we had been enjoying temps in the low 50’s with light winds. Things changed drastically once we got over the lip of the bowl, that wind that we had heard turned out to be blowing at 50-60 MPH. Even though the temperature was probably in the forties the wind chill forced us to put only every stitch of clothing we had packed with us. It took a lot of work to make it the last 1000′ or so to the summit where we only spent about five minutes to take a few pictures and try to enjoy the view, but with the wind and the blowing ice pellets it was not that pleasant. The descent was fairly uneventful and what had taken us 4 1/2 hours to climb only took us 1 1/2 hours to descend getting us back to the car around 3:30PM. Overall we had covered close to 9 miles and climbed nearly 4000′ elevation. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day, I had climbed the same route last March in a whiteout so to not only enjoy the spectacular views I missed last year but to also climb this peak with Justyna made today even more special. It is really hard to believe this beautiful wilderness is less than an hour from down town LA. Well tomorrow we plan on heading out to Joshua Tree National Park for some rock climbing in the desert.   


Justyna On Mt Baldy


Andrew Heading Up The Face

Andrew Heading Up The Bowl


The Final Pitch


We Climbed a Line Directly Up The Center of The Face




One response

26 03 2010

What a gorgeous and strenuous day. Bet you had a hardy dinner to celebrate! Keep on trekking!

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