Friday, February 19, 2010

Mt. Baldy BC, 1/30/10

Sorry I'm late getting this post up; it's been a busy time. This day trip was so great that I still want to put a trip report up even over two weeks later.

Carie was still in Germany at this point. I still wanted to get some BC in because the snow, while plentiful, was a week old and I was sick of the crowds at resorts. Plus, I love BC skiing. I contacted Carie's friend Adam, AKA Nano-Man (because of his awesome, awesome vanity license plate) and we planned to head up to Mt. Baldy.

We managed to get on the road by 7am, unusually early considering my usual companions (*cough*). We stopped by Noah's Bagels on the way out and hit the trailhead nice and early. This was key, as it allowed us to get to the summit early enough to still ski back on nice soft snow instead of the icy crust it turns into when the sun leaves it. We get melt-thaw cycles like crazy down here in SoCal and it starts as soon as the snow is laid down. I've been caught out descending after the sun has gone down before and believe you me it's no fun at all.

The pictures will tell the rest of the story:

The day started out beautifully. We skinned up the service road, then once the long ridge traverse up to the ski hut began we put on the crampons (because 3 miles of steep traverse is not so fun on skins). This, by the way, is Adam, AKA Nano-Man. Also note snow-yucca.

The chutes at the top of the ridge. The nice thing about the Ski Hut Trail is that you're in view of what you're going to be skiing almost the entire time; it's good motivation.

When we got into the bowl and started skinning, a fog appeared almost instantly and visibility went to nothing.

There were times in the bowl when visibility was down to 20-30ft. Existing skin track was nice, but finding the ridge isn't hard in any case.

Once we hit the ridge at the top of the bowl, we were out of the cloud and the views were fantastic.

Summit celebration! I've been on this summit a few times, but I still have yet to see the damn USGS summit marker. I'll take the snow anyway.

More summit R&R. The verdict is in: skinning up the ridge is much more pleasant than cramponing up the chutes, and faster too.

The chutes above the bowl. We skied Zen Chute on the far right this time (there was more snow than in this picture). It was ~40 degrees, 15ft wide, decent snow. Easier than I expected. I was eyeing Dostie's Dare for the next trip up there, though.

Dropping in; this is the first time I've tackled any of these chutes. It's amazing how scary they look when you're standing at the top of them.

The snow at that spot was really good; about 8" of fluffy. It was wind-swept at the top and it was sun crust below.

Starting to breathe easier here; once you're out of the chute it's just a big, wide open 35 degree bowl waiting for you.

Adam dropping in.

Adam charging the Bowl. It was sort of a sun crust, but still fun to ski.

Adam took a video of me in the Bowl. At this point we'd descended about 1500' from the summit and had another 2500' of continuous descent back to the parking lot. When there's snow, this is such a great mountain.

All in all, a big day with 4000' vertical. Almost half of that is the summit, the chutes and the bowl. Then it's a long traverse down the ski hut trail which spits you back out onto the service road. Cutting the switchbacks in the service road provides a last thrill before the parking lot. Add in a trip to In 'N Out on the way back and it was a great day.

I uploaded the GPS tracking of the route (in case you missed it on my last post). The GPS is pretty sweet in that respect, letting me know exactly where I went and which switchbacks I cut on the way down.

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