Goode Canyon-West Chute to BaldyI had vowed that I would never do Goode Canyon in the summer again since it was a tedious boulder hop on a south hot slope. However the last time I did it, I left the canyon too early and ended up on the ridge right where the trail from Ski Hut hits it. That lack of getting it right was eating at me so I decided on a cooler then normal weekend to give it another shot.
The route finding was much quicker then my last jaunt. I noticed lots more trash and even some graffiti at the beginning of Goode. The day-trippers have found this section of the creek which is unfortunate. I made good time up the canyon where the lower section was dry. I finally hit the nicer middle section with water flowing and some minor cascades to clamber around. I met a pretty aggressive rattlesnake in this section who wasn't having any part of me and I gave him his space.
I was pretty much focusing on my clambering and missed the initial right turnoff that I had done last time which had an effect on the overall outcome of the hike. I then got to the obvious junction between the left and main canyon. I assured myself that this was the first split and must go to the left even though it looked really steep, so up I went.
This was essentially a loose sand and rock chute. Nothing wanted to stay in place and the rocks were just at the angle of repose where if they weren't lodged to the bed of the gully they would come apart the moment you touched them. I got a lesson as I first started up where I grabbed a 10 pound rock and it dislodged onto my leg. I learned quickly and tested everything I touched before I used it to haul myself up. Fortunately there was just enough bedrock that you could use it in many of the sketchier spots. The climbing was one of the more exhausting sustained climbs that I have done. About halfway up I knew I had done wrong again in Goode but I was going to the top unless something really screwy happened. As I got higher the chute got slightly less steep but had less bedrock to grab onto making for more slipperiness.
I could see I was topping out and the last hundred or so feet was all hard sand which wasn't going to be climbable. I was right under where the Village trail crosses over the famous saddle. I noticed a small subsidiary gully shooting off to the right that had some vegetation and most important rock. I climbed that until it ended and I could see a small subsidiary ridge about 25 feet above me. I dug my feet and hands in the hard dirt and willed myself up to it where there were some plants that I grabbed onto that allowed me to get to a more moderate incline and I was out of the gully.
I was pretty gassed and chilled out by the trail allowing myself to rest and get some food in my system. I had pretty much not stopped other then to catch my breath since I started, now three hours before. From there it was a slow haul to the top of Baldy and a nice mellow descent down the Ski Hut trail and back to my car. As I descended I could get a renewed appreciation of how steep that chute was.
It looks like I'll have to give Goode one more chance but I may now be the expert on all the branches it offers. I do know I will not be hanging out in that shitty chute again anytime soon.
I have a love/hate relationship with Good Canyon -- I don't think I've ever gone up to Baldy the same way twice
We usually go to the right where you went left and scramble up rocks and the steep pine needle slope. When we've keep going straight up, we wind up skirting brush up to the 9 K point on the Ski Hut trail
We've been successful several times and have come up the canyon where the plane wreckage is visible -- this placed us on Ski Hut trail at about 9750.
Next time, we'll try going up to the right at the split and then cut left as soon as possible to wind up in the right place in the canyon.
Miles of smiles,