Baldy and Lookout Mt via Baldy Village
Gain: 6500 ft
Distance: 12.4 miles
First Baldy ascent of the year!
I couldn’t hike this weekend, but had the opportunity to take a Monday hike. Given that the snow is melting away and some good reports of conditions, I decided to take the Bear Canyon trail to Baldy.
I left about 7:30 am from the Bear Canyon rd parking lot, following the creek and the houses perched up on the sides of the canyon. The first 1.5 miles gains about 1000 ft and brings you to Bear Flats. At this point it was shaded and reasonably cool. I hit the switchbacks and remembered how annoying they are. It seems the switchbacks when facing toward Baldy are steeper than the ones facing toward civilization. On top of that, there were strong gusts of wind blowing toward the south.
Once getting past these switchbacks, it is a really nice hike along the ridge. The sun was out, but I was gaining elevation quickly enough that the temperature was mild. Snow finally crossed the trail at about 8500′, and more consistently above 9000′. Parts were hard while others soft, but this was at like 9 – 9:30 am so it would soften up after that. I followed the footsteps of those who made the trek recently which helped gain level traction, though the snow still slowed me down a little bit. Finally I made the summit at 9:50 am, so it took ~ 2:20 which isn’t bad.
Summit temperature was great, but cool with intermittent winds. I checked out the views for a bit, and ran into two others who came up from the Ski Hut. Then I headed back down.
At about 8400′, I veered off the trail and generally followed the ridge that eventually heads to Lookout Mt. This ridge has a few bumps but nothing terrible (although I was swearing at the steepness of one). This ridge drops quickly down into Cattle Canyon to the west. I brought binoculars and was able to get some great views of Bighorn Ridge. My assessment is the the brush is gone after about 7000′. The portion of the ridge between 6300′ and 7000′ I am not sure about. However, this gives me confidence in the chances of successful ascent.
Following the ridgeline I eventually made it to Lookout Mt. Maybe it was just the day, but what a worthless peak. There is manzanita everywhere, and like someone mentioned, the bees are out in full force.
Couldn’t really get any views west unless I wanted to fight through manzanita. Luckily I found an amazing piece of optical equipment that was obviously used in Michelson’s experiments:
I descended down the east ridge to the saddle at ~ 5500′, I then found a use trail and descended north back down into Bear Canyon. I hit the creek, crossed over and climbed a boulder and found a use trail that led me back to the Bear Canyon trail maybe 0.25 to 0.5 miles from the start.
If I did it again, I would do the loop in reverse, keeping the steep off trail portions for uphill than down.
This entry was posted on Monday, April 20th, 2009 at 5:43 pm and is filed under Trail Information, Trip Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.