Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mt.Baldy...Climbing in the snow.

On Sunday Katie, Cary and I set out to climb Mt.  Baldy.  A few days before a storm dumped a few feet of snow on the mountain.  We started around 7:40 and decided to hike the Ski Hut route, a steeper more direct route to the summit.  We all had our ice axes and snow shoes packed and headed out.  There was a ton of snow on the trail.  At 9:45 we reached the ski hit.  We took a 10 minute break and then discussed the route we wanted to take up to the summit.  Normally, we would follow the traditional route that winds around the face of the mountain and up the ridge, however, today since there was so much snow we decided to follow a few climbers that were climbing up the right side of the face of the mountain.  It was definitely steeper than the traditional route.  Luckily the snow was punchy which made climbing without crampons alot easier.  Climbing up the face was extremely fun and exciting, it was not a viable route unless there was a ton of snow.  It took us another 2 hours and 20 minutes of steep climbing to reach the summit.   The views while climbing were absolutely breath taking.  Once we got to 9000 feet we could see the desert beyond the Devils Backbone, we could also see San Gorgonio and San Jacinto.  We reached the summit around 12:30.  It was pretty cold at the top so we bundled up with layers quickly.  After taking about 15 minutes to eat lunch we headed back down.  We were able to glissade a little bit but mostly post holed all the way back down to the ski hut.  At the hut we put on our snow shoes and headed back down the mountain.  There was so much snow that we were able to snow shoe off the beaten path which made hiking back more enjoyable.  We finally reached the parking lot around 4.  After climbing all day we were excited to go grab some food, however, it took us an hour and 15 minutes just to get down to the base of the mountain due to terrible traffic.  

This was one of my favorite climbs I have ever done.  This was great training for Rainier in June and I am sure I'll be doing this alot more in the near future.

Start:7:40 Manker Flats
Skit Hut: 9:45
Summit: 12:30
End: 4:00
Elevation Start: 6100 ft
Summit: 10064 ft
* the "our route" picture was taken at the Ski Hut

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Today after work I couldn't resist the temptation to hike around in the newly fallen snow off Angeles Crest Hwy.  After work I drove up Hwy 2 to the Grizzly Flats Trailhead.  I got there around 4 so I only had about 30 minutes to hike around.  The snow was coming down and the wind was picking up.   On my way back they started to close the Hwy 2 to on coming motorists.  It was about 32 degrees out with only a handful of people.   I got a chance to hike in my new La Sportiva boots, which are awesome....so far.  This storm has dumped a ton of snow and has got me excited to climb Mt. Baldy Sunday.  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Strawberry Peak (San Gabriels)

 Today Cary and I climbed Strawberry Peak (6,164 feet) in the San Gabriel Mountain Range.   We were hoping for a storm to dump snow on us but it was all clear skies.  We are currently training for Mt. Rainier, I have started running and doing stairs and now we are starting to hike on the weekends.  This hike was mellow.  We parked at the Red Box parking lot and crossed the hwy 2 where the trail begins.   The hike was relatively flat for the first 2.3 miles and then the last mile got steep where most of the elevation was gained.  Next week Katie, Cary and myself are going to climb Mt. Baldy.  There is a big storm rolling in this week so I think we will be climbing in snow....can't wait!

Start: 7:30am
Return: 11:30am
Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
Conditions: 50's and sunny
Total Mileage: 6.6 miles