6/22/18 My first time doing the Baldy Loop. 22 miles and 7,500' gain up Icehouse Canyon, across the Three Ts, up Baldy, then down Bear Canyon. I ran out of water, making it a particularly tough day!
1 I decided to do the loop counter-clockwise, so I parked at the village ranger station, then did the 1.7 mile walk up to the Ice House Canyon trailhead.
2 Always nice single tracked here. Not quite as crowded as usual, probably because it was an unusually hot day.
3 The creek was low but still flowly nicely.
4 Still one of my all-time favorite trail signs. "Respect the solitude of others. Use low voices. Wear colors that blend with the landscape." Unfortunately, very few people on this trail follow those guidelines.
5 First good view of Baldy. It looks a long ways away to be part of this same hike!
6 Made it to the saddle. Now time for the Three Ts.
7 Made it to the top of Timber.
8 Baldy is starting to look a little closer, but not by much.
9 The very rare occasion that the altitude on my watch matches the sign exactly. 8,303' on the dot!
10 A look at Telegraph. It's about a 500' drop before climbing around 1,100' to the top. That negative gain sucks.
11 The saddle between Timber and Telegraph. It's a hot and extremely dry day. There is absolutely zero breeze, so the air is just stifling. I start to realize that I'm going through water fast.
12 Top of Telegraph.
13 Looking down at Thunder Mtn and then the Notch below. From the top of Telegraph here, it's about a 1,200' drop down to the notch and then 2,200' back up to the top of Baldy. These big ups and downs definitely make it feel harder than the same amount of gain otherwise would.
14 360 view from the top of Telegraph.
15 The saddle between Telegraph and Thunder. There's another roughly 900' loss getting down here, all of which has to be climbed up again of course.
16 Heading up Thunder.
17 Top of Thunder looking back at Telegraph.
18 Ski lift at the top of Thunder.
19 It sure would be easier to take the lift straight down to the notch!
20 Down at the notch. I was tempted to buy something to drink at the lodge, but I didn't have any money with me, so that spared me the temptation. I also thought about refilling my water, but I was determined to keep this trek entirely self supported. That would turn out to be a bad idea.
21 Heading up to the Backbone Trail. Now out of the ski area and finally back onto nice singletrack.
22 Nice valley view.
23 Heading-up the Backbone. You can see the fun ledge there on the slope to the left. Unfotunately, I'm almost entirely out of water at this point with still about 8 miles left to go.
24 You don't want to slip around here.
25 Getting ready to cross the ledge.
26 Looking back at the Backbone below the ledge.
27 Made it to the top. It's after 6:00pm already, which is pretty late to be summitting. I open my hydration bladder to sip out the last couple drops. I'm now entirely out of water and have about 1/3 of a protein shake to last me the last 6 miles. I'll have to ration carefully.
28 Much less crowded than last time I was here! I guess being up here after 6:00pm on a blazing hot day helps to thin out the crowds.
29 It's fairly clear today though. You can see the ocean and Catalina in the distance.
30 Last leg, heading down the Mt Baldy Trail aka the Bear Canyon trail.
31 The Baldy area is always good for some early evening hazy mountain views.
32 The ridge heading down.
33 Great look at the East Fork of the San Gabriel canyon almost 6,000' down.
34 Looking back at the Three Ts where I was just a little while ago.
35 Nice evening light on the valley as I head down fast. My mouth is so dry at this point that I can't even eat food. I had tried eating one of my bars, but I had to spit it out because I couldn't even smallow. So now I'm without food or water. I take a tiny sip of my protein shake every 1/2 mile or so and hope that will last.
36 Down to meadows at Bear Flat, the only solid patch of green I've seen all day. The temperature finally starts to drop as the sun dips below the ridge. And as soon as the temperature dropped, I started producing a little saliva again. Very interesting.
37 Finally to the bottom of Bear Canyon. It was still 75deg when I got to the car at around 8:30pm. Definitely a warm day.
38 The loop as recorded by my Garmin Tactix Charlie.
39 Elevation profile for the day. The negative gain across the Three Ts is definitely the hardest part of the loop.