Village to Baldy Pace Hike + 3T’s

~ 22 miles, 8000 ft gain

damn 4 minutes

Photos are geo-tagged
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In the book The San Gabriels: The Mountain Country from Soledad Canyon to Lytle Creek, John Robinson mentions offhand about some football player being able to summit Mt Baldy via the Old Baldy trail in under 2 hrs. Sounds like a great challenge? I agree.

With 9 days till the Baldy Run to the Top Race, I thought it would be a great time to give it a go. The weather had thankfully cooled down, and I was at the Baldy Visitor Center in tank top and shorts at 7 am ready to go.

Instead of the normal 60Csx GPS I usually bring, I brought my Forerunner 305 with heartrate monitor that I have had for maybe 4 months but haven’t used much “in the field”. Based on many bouts of training with heartrate monitors, I had a good feel for what heartrate I could sustain for a 2 hr hike. I wanted to use the Forerunner for 3 purposes, 1) make sure I don’t go out too quickly 2) check my pace and 3) make sure I’m getting up to the the right heartrate at the right time. I expected I could stay between 165 bpm and 170 bpm for the duration. Seem like a bit too much? Yes, yes it is :)

Things were going good up to Bear Flat, with a mixture of hiking and a bit of “running” if you could call it that. The switchbacks out of Bear Canyon seem to be the steepest part of the hike, and my quads and especially my calves were really burning. I hadn’t hiked up anything steep at a fast pace in a while and I think that bit me in the ass a little bit. I felt okay at the top of the switchbacks and thought I was on pace for my goal although I didn’t really know. I was about just under 1 hr in and my heartrate was at 165 so it seemed all good.

I kept chugging up along the ridge. The weather was really good for this, nice and cool with some breeze. Higher up, the wind got fierce and become more of a nuisance. My heartrate was starting to drop into the low 160′s – I wanted to it to start getting up near 170 so that wasn’t good. “Just go faster!” you all say. Well if it were that easy! My legs didn’t want me to go faster.

Eventually I got up to the part where the ridge flattens out a bit and you can see West Baldy and Baldy ahead. Only 20 min left and they seemed so far away. The grade lessened enough for me to get caught in the Walk/Run Vortex – you know that area where it seems just a little too much energy to run, but too little energy to walk? That’s where I was. The running was too much so I walked as fast as possible but I wish it was a little steeper. Finally, it flattened out enough to run for a good 1/4 mile and I was at the base of West Baldy with maybe 10 min left. Can I make it? 3 min left and I am ascending toward Baldy-West Baldy saddle. Not looking good. I try to run but its just too much. I finally make it up in 2:04, 4 minutes too late. Damnit!

Well it still was a good try but I felt the effort was lacking. I don’t know if it was the lack of training on steep slopes, the fact that I ate too much late in the day on Friday, altitude, or a combination…but I knew via heartrate that I wasn’t at the right intensity I know I could do. The funny thing is that if I didn’t have the heartrate monitor, I would have felt like it was a better try!

Anyways, it was freaking windy on top. 50, 60 mph? I had the summit to myself (9am) and ducked behind one of the rock-stacked walls. I didn’t stay for very long as it was kinda cold with the wind, so I headed down Devil’s Backbone.

Refilling at Baldy Notch, I decided I needed to put in some more effort, so I went ahead and did the 3T’s trail. From before Thunder to just before Icehouse Saddle I had the trail to myself. I forgot how nice that area is.

I got down to Icehouse parking lot 6 hrs after starting, not too shabby in halving my days compared to the last 2 weeks. I was going to hitch a ride (turned off GPS), but didn’t see anyone leaving, so I jogged / walked the 1.5 miles back to my car.

I don’t know what goal to set for the Baldy race. 1:25 seems too low, I don’t think I can do that at 192 lbs. I’m shooting for 1:28.

Related posts:

Into the Brush - Ascending Monrovia Peak
C2C Conditioning Hikes
Burned Area Photos & Old Mt Wilson Trail

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 30th, 2010 at 8:30 am and is filed under 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.

12 Responses to “Village to Baldy Pace Hike + 3T’s”


gwbush August 30th, 2010 at 9:00 am

cut wieght to 185


August 30th, 2010 at 7:10 pm

GW misspelling? no way…


gwbush August 30th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

cutting weight to 170 will effect performance levels

John Y.

John Y. August 31st, 2010 at 12:01 am

1:28 would likely place you in the top 20! Didn’t stopping and taking pictures “effect” (in GW’s words) your time?


August 31st, 2010 at 2:15 pm

lmao. I am glad to to bow in GW’s knowledge of exercise physiology :)

JohnY: I think there was a thinner field last year b/c of the fires. In a fluke, if I had ran it last year I would have won my age group. Damn, that’s the only time that would happen.

Probably shooting for top 40-50. As GW clearly explained, the years of weightlifting has added “useless” muscle that probably reduces my running performance somewhat (extra workload).

Oh I didn’t really takes pics going up, I did ‘stop’ briefly to talk to someone, but I don’t think this even cost me a minute.


gwbush August 31st, 2010 at 10:25 pm

heavier cardio and less muscle mass on the upper body system will improve a runners time due to a lighter frame.


FIGHT ON September 1st, 2010 at 8:45 am

You KNOW, that football player was a Trojan!
U, S, C yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!


September 3rd, 2010 at 5:45 am

Dubya, you and Fight On should take a hike together, I think you would get along. I suggest Galena-Little San Gorgonio traverse


Chenendez March 4th, 2013 at 11:53 am

I’ve been sitting around and vegetating for the past half year. I need a warm up hike. This looks like a winner. Is there water at Baldy Notch? As in, piped water, like the one outside the Ranger station on San Jacinto? Or do I have to use my after tax dollars to purchase? Or do I have to lug it all along with my Gameboy?


William August 9th, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Actually the football player was Simon Thomas. He was a free safety for Stanford at the time.


Jordan October 8th, 2014 at 11:32 am

I read through the article you cited in the first couple of paragraphs on your hiking science blog, but I can’t seem to pinpoint which exact equation they used for caloric expenditure. Also, is that the equation you use for your calculator on your blog? I am doing my capstone project at Texas Lutheran University this semester, and I want to compare this method of calculating caloric expenditure to the ACSM equation. Also, I am using you as a reference in my presentation, but I can’t seem to find any more information about you except your name “Ze” and your education information. Please email me if you can. Thank you very much for your time.

Jordan Guerrero

Gil Chotam

Gil Chotam October 29th, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Planning on day hike this coming Sunday, November 2nd To Iron, West Baldy, San Antonio, Harvard,3Ts, Big Horn, Ontario and Cucamonga peak. back through Ice house canyon.
has anyone done it before? any tips?

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