Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Baldy Snow Hike - Bear Canyon Trail - 11/13/11

The Narrows
Our longest standing peakbagging goal is to climb Mt. Baldy from every direction possible. Bear Canyon is usually considered the hardest of the established trails (~13 miles, 5800' gain) so it's been on our list for a long time. After spending several months looking forward to the first snow hike of the year, we finally had our opportunity. We picked a post-storm weekend that was predicted to be clear and went for it, knowing there was a chance storm clouds could turn us away. 

We got through most of the hike without seeing much snow on the trail and we were getting worried our spikes wouldn't even be necessary. In the final few miles, a group of unprepared hikers ahead of us had to turn back and we knew we were finally coming up on some deep snow. Our spikes were definitely helpful for the end of the hike, but they probably weren't completely necessary. The trail wasn't quite what we were expecting; it was more like Gorgonio--less strenuous than we'd heard with some steep sections and an uncharacteristically easy summit push. Surprisingly, we did see a few people at the summit: a few first-timers coming from the Ski Hut Trail and a couple of well-prepared veterans from the Devil's Backbone.

Just like the previous few hikes, we got started at least 30 minutes too late and ended up hiking in complete darkness. Bear Canyon has to be one of the worst trails to be on after sundown. It's completely deserted and dark and forested--a perfect place for mountain lions to attack. Start this one earlier than 8am in the Fall/Winter just to be safe. 

Not much else to say about this one except that we did end up seeing plenty of non-threatening clouds and wound up with the best pictures we've ever gotten in the San Gabriels. Check this shit out.

Baden-Powell hiding behind clouds
The Ocean from Baldy