Mount Baldy May 2022

Mount Baldy May 2022

This trip happened on a Sunday, but it all started on a Saturday really. Karla had her snow field trip aka self arrest practice. I volunteered to help with the course so we both spend the day out in the mountain tossing around in the snow and kicking steps. In reality she had it all much worse than I did, but shh...

So this was Karla's first ever mountaineering experience. It was a nice Class 2 scramble YSD or Technical 2 on The Mountaineers.

It was supposed to be spring climb, but of course the weather had other plans. We had both spring and winter like conditions!

You can tell we were tired from the get-go
The plan for the day

The route starts with a steep hill. 1200 ft of gain in 0.9 miles. It took us some time to navigate the beginning of the route as there were a LOT of blowdowns, but we still managed to get to the snowline early in the morning

Snowline in the morning

We walked along the ridge where the route levels down and quickly became very cold. I put on my layers and went on, until the climb steepened and was time to remove them again.

By this point we were endlessly kicking steps on soft snow. At the pass level (3000') they've had an inch of precipitation on Saturday and gusts of 20mph. That explains the deep layer of powdery snow that we got in the mountain. There were locations where all the snow was blown and we had just ice, and other steep sections exaggerated by all the snow blown in.

All the kicking steps made us forget to take pictures, so there is no visual evidence of our suffering.

After gaining the summit of peak 4942 we followed the ridge towards Baldy. This meant losing a bit of elevation and gaining it back up at the next summit.

This ridge was interesting as it had all the terrain features right next to the other. Cornices, deep snow, hard ice, exposed rock, trees.

We even saw some tracks of people that went and looked over one of the big cornices.

This picture shows one of the exposed cornices

At this point all the endorphins had kicked in and Karla seemed very happy and excited about the trip.

She looks like a pro. "As if she knows what she's doing" as she'd say
Our last push for the summit!
Finally! Summit

I loved this summit, expecially on this day. Its a rocky exposed area with a single tree hanging there. On top of it, the tree endured a bad snow storm, and you can see how inhospitable this place was just one night prior.

The whole team

We proceeded to have a nice lunch. "Nice", as I always loose my appetite so I had to push the food on my mouth against my will. Even like that I ate only 1/4 of what I planned to.

Calm lunch, minutes before wind gusts
All ready to run from the wind!

A few minutes later, winds got us and I don't know if it started to snow or it was just flying snow due to the wind. We had these little ice pellets hitting our faces that felt like angry needles trying to inflict damage and suck the happiness out of you.

Of course a few minutes later the sun came out with full force and transformed our snow into the all-t0o-familiar snow slush. The cascade concrete.

As always, going down feels like a never-ending chore. The mountain has little exposure and since the snow was now slushy, it felt safer and less likely to provoke an uncontrolled slide. Karla however did slide! It was a safe-ish place, but I was very pleased to see her arrest promptly! Very fast, very automatic, like a pro.

We were out for about 7:30 hours and were very happy when we got to the cars. We went to our favorite post-mountain brewery: Dru Bru

Watch stats: 7:24 hrs, 7.36 mi, 3653' ascent