Mt Baldy, Dawson Peak, & Pine Mtn
The 3 tallest peaks in the San Gabriels
13 miles, 7000 ft
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Dawson Peak and Pine Mountain lie along the north backbone of Mt San Antonio and offer dramatic views of the Sheep Mountain Wilderness, the desert, and the north face of Mt Baldy. While they are the 3rd and 2nd highest peaks (respectively), they are definitely hiked less often than Baldy – likely due to the additional elevation gain and / or drive time.
I had never actually hiked these peaks, although I made my first ascent of Mt Baldy just over 3 years ago. I’ve had at least 3 planned attempts foiled (one by fire), and somehow it has taken this long to try. But I’m glad I did.
My original plan was to do a huge loop: Register Ridge – Baldy – Dawson – Pine – Wright Mtn – PCT – Gobbler’s Knob – Stockton Flats – Baldy Notch – Manker Flats. But I really didn’t feel like a long day. And when I started hiking, the last two days of workouts and not eating enough were definitely catching up with me. I headed up Register Ridge – windy as always – and the beginning is so steep it will give the calves a rude awakening. But I much like this ridge simply to get away from the crowds. Aside from a few people I saw near the bottom, I had the whole thing to myself.
Upon reaching Devil’s Backbone, I headed up Baldy, and already was feeling a little lethargic. Definitely wasn’t going to do the loop, and didn’t even feel like doing the extra peaks. But I convinced myself to at least get to Dawson, so I headed on down north. The North Backbone trail is also very steep, especially between Baldy and Dawson. It was warming up and I was even sweating a little on the downhill. Hitting the saddle, I was hoping to feel a little more energetic, but that quickly was zapped away by the 800 ft ascent to Dawson. Getting to the summit, I was entirely settled and resting and turning around here – but then it just looked like Pine was not that far away nor that much of a drop – so what the hell just go do that too. Plus it looked like it would have nicer views. And it did!
I was about to leave Pine when I ran into a couple who had come from Baldy – they mentioned they left the summit at 7:30 am – well before I left – and had summited Dawson so we were confused as to how I could pass them up without seeing them. Weird. Then I ran into a large OCHBC group with a few people I know, so I hiked back up with them. The moderate pace was welcomed.
On the way back up Baldy, I had a fly land on my finger, and he wouldn’t go away. So I tried to pet him – and he let me! 5 times actually. And he flew away and came back and let me pet him again. WTF?
This entry was posted on Saturday, September 25th, 2010 at 8:13 pm 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.