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Baldy Bowl and Ski Hut Trail
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glamisking



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Location: Orange County

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:57 pm    Post subject: Baldy Bowl and Ski Hut Trail  Reply with quote

Hey Guys- I am gearing up to head up the ski hut trail tomorrow and wanted to gets your thoughts on the present avalanche risk. Plus do you think the snow is going to be too powdery for snow shoes to be any use?
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hvydrt



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Location: yes

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took my 3 year old son and wife up to Manker Flats today to play in the snow. There was  8"-18" of snow near the entrance to the fire road. The snow in this area was not real powdery, but I post holed with every step I took while I was building a sled run. Very Happy  Based on the conditions at the trail head, I would bring along snow shoes. I have no idea about the avalanche risk. Temps were mid 40's in the area, and the snow in the trees was melting fast.
Here area few pics:
http://flickr.com/photos/hvydrt/sets/72157603477314859/show/
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KathyW



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Location: Redlands, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow - it's just beautiful up there - even the toilets look pretty.
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice pics Hvydrt!

I'd say the Bowl has avy risk for this week. I would personally go without snowshoes, and just suck it up, so to speak, and post-hole up there. I reckon they don't weigh much, though.
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He219
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Location: Balboa/Guadalahabra

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice pix.
Very Happy

Looks Beautiful!
.
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Travis



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Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hvydrt wrote:
I took my 3 year old son and wife up to Manker Flats today to play in the snow. There was  8"-18" of snow near the entrance to the fire road. The snow in this area was not real powdery, but I post holed with every step I took while I was building a sled run. Very Happy  Based on the conditions at the trail head, I would bring along snow shoes. I have no idea about the avalanche risk. Temps were mid 40's in the area, and the snow in the trees was melting fast.
Here area few pics:
http://flickr.com/photos/hvydrt/sets/72157603477314859/show/


Those are great photos, I have gone up into the mountains 3 times this winter in order to show my 3 year old daughter the snow but all we were able to find her were small patches. See loves the snow. I may have to make another trip....
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Leslie L



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Location: Studio City

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Questions about Baldy Reply with quote

Hi,

I have crampons and ice axe, I’ve taken the SMI snow travel course, and I’ve done some basic snow hikes.  Now I’d like to explore Baldy in winter for the first time.  I take this very seriously.  That said, it seems like it would great fun!  

Questions: do I understand the trail above the ski hut disappears in winter?  Is it clear how to proceed from this point, or does one make his own route up the bowl?  Or maybe exploring beyond the hut is not recommended for someone with relatively little winter experience?  

I’ve read the recent discussions but I don’t want to read between the lines and make assumptions.  If anyone can share more details for a winter hiking newbie I’d appreciate it.  

Thanks much,
Leslie
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leslie:

This many days after a storm, I imagine you'd have plenty of tracks to follow although they may not follow the trail above the hut.  Definitely be comfortable with map, compass, and terrain association so you can pick which set of tracks you'd like to follow or make your own.  You can also use a GPS, but in cold weather GPS's sometimes conk out, so it's still good to know the "old fashioned way."

Not that you necessarily were going to, but I would not recommend a solo if you're relatively new to this type of travel.  Some places, such as the Devil's Backbone have a lot of exposure.  The further you go up into the bowl or the ridge just west of the bowl (the trail follows the ridge), the rougher generally the terrain.  You can always go to the point of your comfort level and turn around when things get too hairy.  Do be careful, there have been quite a number of deaths due to ice accidents in the local mountains over the years.  

Just a few thoughts.

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AlanK
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Location: Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One would be hard-pressed to follow the precise Ski Hut Trail above the Hut right now, but there are many tracks in the snow.  Some go through the woods near the trail and some go up the open part of the Bowl.  Like Jim, I owuld urge caution about going alone.  However, assuming decent snow conditions (i.e., non-icy, which should be the case during much of the day now) it should be easy to find a route as safe as you like.  Navigation on the route is reasonably easy on a nice day, assuming you have basic skills and pay attention.

I have been there on weekdays in the past and seen no one all day.  If you go on a Saturday, you are unlikely to be alone if the weather is decent.    

Of course, things will change over time, especially after the next storm.
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Augie
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thoroughly agree with everything said above, especially the navigation advice.  Keep in mind, your basic options are the ski hut trail going basically west from the ski hut and then north up the ridge to the summit or, going directly up the bowl.  Start with the trail route; the bowl is a more advanced route (routes).  Do get the Mt. San Antonio 7.5 USGS topo and study it.  Identify Baldy's south ridge (the one the ski hut trail follows).  Especially on the return down the ridge, you need to be able to know when to start down off the ridge back towards the ski hut.  As Jim said, there should be plenty of tracks to follow right now, but what if there aren't or the tracks go all over the place?  I've talked to more one person who has just continued down the ridge missing the cut-off.  If you can use a compass (along with the topo map), you can  take and use bearings to assist you in navigation if the trail is covered.

With winter conditions, don't go solo the first time.
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To add to all, as a specific, if you wish to continue past the Ski Hut in winter, you can go up the right side of the bowl, right of the rock towers, as this route has far less rockfall hazard. From here, you cna jump onto the Devils Backbone Trail, to the summit.

Some of us spend lotsa time going up there, so you can always hitch a ride with one of us if you wish to make an ascent in a group!
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Leslie L



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Location: Studio City

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much - I appreciate all the information and suggestions.  

Leslie
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EManBevHills



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Location: West Hollywood, CA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, I've experienced sudden whiteout conditions at several locations/elevations on the mountain -- and on more than a few occasions.
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Dudley Heinsbergen



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Location: Huntington Beach, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:13 am    Post subject: Baldy Bowl 2/2-3/08 Reply with quote

im going up to the Hut on Saturday and sunday with my family.
any word on the conditions? how deep? icy?
thanks


LAST YEAR'S EPIC CONDITIONS.....
Photobucket[/img]
this is with a record high 16 inches in one season!
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those were EPIC and EXTREME! To the MAX!
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Travis



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Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come one! Someone get up there and update us on the conditon Smile
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It wasn't bad looking, only got to the Notch at 7800. Looked primed for avalanches, though. Asked Pat at the lodge if there were any folks going down the Bowl, and he said he had heard of no such activity in the past week or two.
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Location: yes

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am headed up tomorrow morning, will post conditions tomorrow afternoon. If anyone wants to join me I will be at Manker at 6am 2-1-08
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Leslie L



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Location: Studio City

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:01 pm    Post subject: Baldy Bowl and Ski Hut Trail Reply with quote

Hi, my hiking partner Carla and I are considering a trip up the Baldy Bowl this weekend.  Anyone know current conditions?  

We got a late start on our 2/9 attempt (we hit the Bowl around 10:30) and turned around due to slushy/slippery conditions.  Are conditions roughly the same now? We’re hoping with a very early start we’ll have easier and safer conditions and can make the summit.  

Also, we came down the Bowl on our return that day - our only option since we turned around on the Bowl – and while this was a little tricky at first it turned out to be quick and easy.  If we do make the summit this time, how does coming directly down the Bowl (walking, not glissading) compare with a return via the Bowl trail?  

Any info/suggestions appreciated.  Thanks!

Leslie
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AlanK
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hiked the Ski Hut trail today.  I was fighting a bad combination -- a late start and an early turn-around because I wanted to get to Eric's first track meet of the season -- so I ended up going only as high as the ridge above the Ski Hut.  

There was sporadic snow on the way to the Hut and plenty above it.  It was generally hard and crusty (I went in the morning).  I needed crampons and ice axe above the Hut.  The trail below it was negotiable in boots, although one should be careful in many places.  Lately, however, I have gotten tired of sliding around on relatively easy trails under conditions that do not merit crampons.  This week I invested in a pair of Microspikes, which I tried out today below the Hut.  I love them.  For ordinary travel they made me a lot more sure-footed.  They are very light and go on/come off in seconds.  They definitely do not move around on one's feet.  They are definitely not crampons, but I sure wish I had them during my 21 New York winters.

Pix
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justinjohnsen



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Location: Not Djibouti

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Alan (or anyone who's been up to the Baldy area recently),

Do you recall if there was much snow east of the parking area at Manker Flat?

A few hiking buddies and I are doing snow safety practice Sunday morning. I'm wondering if we can start right from the parking area, or if we'll have to climb to find enough snow cover.

Thanks,
Justin
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AlanK
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Location: Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

justinjohnsen wrote:
Do you recall if there was much snow east of the parking area at Manker Flat?

A few hiking buddies and I are doing snow safety practice Sunday morning. I'm wondering if we can start right from the parking area, or if we'll have to climb to find enough snow cover.

I was not paying attention to the area across the street, although it is in the background of my first (sadly, rather poor) photo.  The snow coverage in the Manker Flat area was not great.  It's much better by the Hut (as usual).  

Leslie L wrote:
Hi, my hiking partner Carla and I are considering a trip up the Baldy Bowl this weekend.  Anyone know current conditions?  

We got a late start on our 2/9 attempt (we hit the Bowl around 10:30) and turned around due to slushy/slippery conditions.  Are conditions roughly the same now? We’re hoping with a very early start we’ll have easier and safer conditions and can make the summit.  

Also, we came down the Bowl on our return that day - our only option since we turned around on the Bowl – and while this was a little tricky at first it turned out to be quick and easy.  If we do make the summit this time, how does coming directly down the Bowl (walking, not glissading) compare with a return via the Bowl trail?

The snow in the Bowl was pretty hard in the morning but softening in all that sun.  I think you could encounter anything from "this makes me too nervous, I'd better turn around" to the slushy conditions you describe.  At this time of year, I play it by ear because it's different every time and usually different from even recent descriptions.  I would not head up anything I am unwilling to take down -- that was a consideration yesterday, particularly since I was alone.
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duelmen3



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Location: San Dimas

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:09 pm    Post subject: Micro spikes Reply with quote

Hey Alan,
  Where did you purchase, and how much were the microspikes?  I spent three years on the cold northern plains of Germany and would have loved to have them there!  

Thanks,  Gary
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Location: Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ordered them from  the manufacturer for $59 per pair.

YakTrax are cheaper.  I chose microspikes based on reading a bunch of reviews for various products of that general type.
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Location: Irvine, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:31 pm    Post subject: Yak Trax Reply with quote

Hi Alan -

Prior to reaching the Ski Hut, do you feel that Yak Trax would suffice for the trail preceding the Hut?   Question

SF
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Yak Trax Reply with quote

SkinnyFat wrote:
Prior to reaching the Ski Hut, do you feel that Yak Trax would suffice for the trail preceding the Hut?

I have never used YakTrax, but I believe that the answer is "yes" because I could have made it to the hut with just boots.  The Microspikes just made the trip more pleasant. Very Happy  On my way down, around 10 AM, things were softening up and I met a couple of  people who were hiking up in just boots
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Location: Irvine, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:45 pm    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip!   Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

4-04-08:





Plenty of coverage on the West bowl that the pictures don't show.  Well trod trail leading up.

Just enough snow in the center/east bowl to get up a few different ways - do it while you can.  I went up a little east of center, due to lots of rockfall down the middle.  Snow's getting slushy, but it's not bad in the AM, and it's forgiving enough to downclimb easily once the sun's out and about.
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Location: Pasadena, CA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bert56. I'm heading that way tomorrow and this is a big help.
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might see ya up there early, HikeUp. If I head up tomorrow, I'm using the Bowl to gain my objective, up and over Baldy.
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Location: Pasadena, CA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TDR, were you up there today? Didn't see ya. I started at 7a and got as far as the ski hut. AlanK was up there at the same time.

Saw these 2 guys...I wonder if they found enough snow to do any good.


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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nah, couldn't get any partners so i stayed home.

They could do some fun stuff down the North side of stuff.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's plenty snow in the west bowl for that, and there are continuous strips of snow running all the way up that are still borderline suitable for skiing/boarding.  Not for long, though.

Pfft..excuses, Ryan..I went up solo.  And got lost.  Twice.  Laughing
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm lost 24/7. pwn3d. Sad
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bowl is VERY limited. There is still plenty on the south side of the Bowl, but the Bowl Proper is rather empty. I scree skiid down.

If y'all wanna climb it, hustle, as it's nearly all gone...
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know if the Ski Hut trail is passable all the way to the top with boots and no other special equipment?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The trail is good all the way to the ski hut with just boots.  There are a few very short snow crossings, but they're well beaten and easy to cross.
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made it down to the Jabba's Place from higher up in the Bowl (Northern half) with trail runners, scree-skiing down. Once you get up on one of the pre-summit plateaus, you'll need gear.

Car to Hut, is all passable without gear.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grrr, up to the ski hut is not good enough!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting to the top of the bowl is probably doable especially if you take the beaten path, but that's as far as I'd go gearless.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did Baldy with a group last Saturday.  If you want to go directly up the Bowl, you will need crampons.  If you want to get to the summit without gear, I would stick to the trail.  The later in the morning the better for the section from past the Hut to the ridge.  Beyond that, it's just an easy walk.  Whatever gear you had, you'd want to take off.  

This picture of our group was basically people saying that one could get to the ridge with just boots (as opposed to a Vegas tryout).
 

(red trace = up, blue = down)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was one of the guys that turned around on the hike Alan mentioned. I had no gear and to be honest (being from the south) I don't share or understand the enthusiasm for the frozen white stuff. So be it. I had a blast anyway! Go give it a try and enjoy it - be smart and safe.
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Location: Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HikeUp wrote:
I was one of the guys that turned around on the hike Alan mentioned. I had no gear and to be honest (being from the south) I don't share or understand the enthusiasm for the frozen white stuff. So be it. I had a blast anyway! Go give it a try and enjoy it - be smart and safe.

I should have pointed out that the people who continued to the top had crampons and ice axes.  They proved to be unnecessary for those who stuck to the trail, but one never knows.  I second the advice to give it a try but be prepared to turn around if you get beyond your comfort level, which will depend on what you are carrying with you.
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would bring an axe and crampons regardless until all has melted. COnditions change per-hour, so if anyone wants to treach the summit, they might not be in soft snow, etc etc blah blah blah.
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the part that is the most dangerous is which, blue or purple? (that's my nasty approximation of the trail)



I'm not worried about myself so much, but if I take a few people, which parts  are people most likely to slip and starting sliding awaaaay?
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Location: Stuntin in the trap son

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both, though the purple section is in the sun more.

The way up in yellow is a bit snow-free until you reach the Backbone proper:



Either way, I would not try to go to the summit without crampons and an axe, as there is still plenty of snow up-top regardless of approach direction. It could be soft enough to go well with trail runners, or cool and windy, requiring crampons.
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simonov
Tacticool


Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 1068
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Location: Truckee Meadows USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to confuse matters, the guy on the left got to the summit without crampons about three weeks ago (blue and purple route, while the rest of us went up the yellow route):

The usual suspects

But then, he's from Massachusetts.

The week before that, Lance and I were alone at the summit when I turned around and there was this dude standing there who had walked up without crampons from the Village.  He talked to us for a couple minutes (with a European or Israeli accent), then turned and wandered back down the mountain.  It was almost as if he hadn't been there at all.
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bertfivesix
Ice Pirate
Ice Pirate


Joined: 19 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I think blue and purple are not too shabby for no-gear.  The trail is pretty well pounded all the way up blue (from what I saw before I cut across the bowl and went up what Ryan's put in yellow), and the ridge on purple is actually snowless where it gets lots of sun.  But yeah, crampons are advisable once you get to the top of the bowl, especially in the AM.
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hvydrt



Joined: 27 Sep 2007
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Location: yes

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my buddy and i walked up the regular trail with boots and a trekking pole each last Sunday with no problems. It was his first time on baldy. saw people heading up, just below the summit, in nikes and shorts.
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JMunaretto



Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 370
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anyone go up this weekend? how is the snow?


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