3/5/17 A quick trip part of the way up Mt. Baldy via the Baldy (Bear Canyon) trail. It was howling winds with sub zero temps and everything from rain to sleet to snow to horizontal blasting hail. A perfect snow day!
1 Heading-up Bear Canyon. It's nice to see some cascades actually flowing in the creek. This was totally dry my previous two times up here.
2 The snow starts to fall. I always find it odd to see snow amidst the chapparal.
3 The snow is starting to stick.
4 And it's starting to get heavier.
5 And by about 8,000' or so, it's a full on snow trek. You can see here in front of the trees that the snow is blowing almost horizontally. As soon as I hit the ridgeline portion of the trail, the wind started howling and the temperature dropped below zero. The precipation alternated between hail, sleet, and occasionally fluffy snow. I welcomed the snow. The hail and sleet hurt like heck. I had to completely shield my face from it.
6 Almost complete white out now. Fortunately, the trail is still mostly recognizable and there is at least one pair of tracks that I can make out, most likely from a couple I saw coming down earlier. They had crampons and full gear. I was packing pretty light today since I wasn't really planning on a full snow trek. The crampons would have come in handy since there's almost zero powder here, it's entirely packed and icy.
7 Traversing below the ridge. Slipping to one side would be a wild ride but survivable, going over the ridge to the other side is bye-bye.
8 Don't want to slip over there! Unfortunatley, this is one of the last pictures I was able to take. My fingers were starting to really hurt, and I couldn't look up into the wind for more than a couple seconds at a time, and my camera was fogging up again. After the ridge section, the trail started geting pretty steep and really icy, and the set of tracks I was following came to an end. So that would have to be my turnaround point. 2:45pm. I only had a few hours to be off the mountain and then to be someplace an hour away! Fingers crossed I don't lose the trail on the way down.
9 I did briefly lose the trail a couple times, which definitely gets the adrenaline going in sub zero temps and blasting hail while under a time crunch. But I did end-up making it down.
10 There's a dusting of snow all the way down to 5,000'.
11 One more creek shot (with my now blurry camera).
12 And one last shot.
13 I don't think I noticed this before, but this is Old Glory. According to the sign, it's the largest and oldest Bristlecone Douglas Fir tree in the world. And that marks the end of another exciting adventure in the San Gabriels!