6/6/16 I had so much fun on Mt. Baldy a few days earlier, I returned for another trip. This time up the Ski Hut (Baldy Bowl) trail for a quick 9 mile, 4,000' gain day. And I got to meet the famous Seuk Doo Kim on the trail!
1 Heading out past San Antonio Falls.
2 It's easy to miss the start of the Baldy Bowl (aka Ski Hut) trail if you're not looking for it.
3 Great views of the bowl up the entire lower section of the trail.
4 Looking down at San Antonio Falls from higher up the trail.
5 Great valley views.
6 Looking down at some cascades further up the canyon. You can hear the roar of water the whole way up the canyon, which is a rare treat in the San Gabriels, especially in June of a dry year.
7 Hard to believe that ridgeline is still a couple thousand feet up.
8 Getting close to the famous Ski Hut at around 8,500'.
9 Made it to the Ski Hut.
10 The hut is maintained by the Sierra Club and can actually be reserved for private use. It evidently has a gas stove and also running water fed by the nearby stream.
11 The view from the steps of the hut. Not bad. Must be amazing in the winter.
12 The stream that flows by the hut and feeds San Antonio Falls. It's nice to actually cross a stream in the San Gabriels, which has been a rarity the last few years.
13 Coninuing on now, looking back at the hut.
14 The trail cuts across the bottom of the bowl and gets hard to follow in places amidst the talus.
15 A look out towards Baldy Notch and the ski resort there.
16 Great views alongside Baldy Bowl. In the winter, the mountaineering folks head straight up that slope and then glissade over 1,000' all the way down. I haven't got around to trying that yet. Sounds fun.
17 Almost up to the ridge. You can see the Backbone trail running just below the Mt. Hardwood summit on the right and then continuing along the ridge. A couple of people died in that area on an icy day last winter.
18 Looking down the bowl from the top of the ridge.
19 On the other side of the ridge, you can see West Baldy.
20 An odd trail sign in no particularly helpful place. In fact, it's the only trail sign on the entire trail, and this section is a steep spider web of loose, hard to follow, partial trails scrambling the last 800' or so to the summit. It's slow going and hard to follow.
21 Made it to the top. About 2 1/2 hours, slower than trail running pace, but not bad for a hike.
22 Looking out over Mt. Harwood towards a hazy San Jacinto and San Gorgonio in the distance.
23 From left-to-right, West Baldy, Iron Mountain, and Mt. Baden-Powell.
24 Heading back down the scrambling section now. It's not too much faster going down than up. Seems like most people make a loop and go down the Backbone trail instead.
25 Srambling through the steep section along the bottom of the bowl almost back to the Ski Hut.
26 I actually met Seuk Doo Kim on the trail just below the Ski Hut! I had been reading his entries, and the entries of his two grandkids, for a couple years in the sign-in box on my favorite secret ridge trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. He was one of only a few people who used that trail regularly. One of his sign-ins commented on his having just summited Iron Mountain for the 100th time in 8 months!! And sure enough, next time I was on Iron Mountains, his sign-ins were there as well. I always wondered if I would ever meet him on the trail. I had no idea who he was until we got to talking and then I realized it. Turns out he is also one of the guys behind the Korean equivalent of the PCT. Fascinating guy to talk to. As we parted ways, he gifted me a box of Altoids. Not sure if that was just what he had handy, or he was trying to give me a hint about my breath :)
27 One last look at the waterfall and the end to another great day on Baldy.