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Monday, June 02, 2008

My Mt Baldy Experience Yesterday

Ever since I have been a kid, I have always spied the San Gabriel Mountains on a clear day and told myself that one day I would climb the tallest peak in the range...Mt San Antonio or the more common name, Mt Baldy. This was my second big training hike for Mt Whitney. I had tried to summit Mt San Jacinto a few weeks ago, but I was stopped out at 9000 feet by a nasty blister starting to form on my left heel. I was not going to be denied on this hike yesterday. I even forgot to bring my trekking poles with me which compounded my misery coming down "The Devil's Backbone Trail". My route to the top was going to begin via the "Ski Hut" trail that begins at Manker Flats. It was quite the challenge. It gains over 3900 feet in about five and half miles. Your heart is pounding every minute of the way up. My time to the summit was three and half hours not including a fifteen minute break I took half way up at the Ski Hut to apply some moleskin and tape up a hot spot that was starting again on my left heel. The weather was perfect for this hike, clear and cool to start out and then gradually warmed up into the mid sixty degrees. While I was at the summit, I made some new friends that were also doing Mt Whitney later this summer. This was fortunate for me, because on my way down, I ran out of water about a mile from Baldy Lodge. Luckily my new buddy Mike provided me with a spare bottle of H2O he had. Once we reached Baldy Lodge, I decided that I would basically call it a day and proceeded to take the ski lift down the final 1300 feet in elevation. I need a few more of these type of hikes and I feel I'll be ready for whatever Whitney can throw at me.


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