Mt. Baldy Hike

From Mt. Baldy Village to the Summit then down to Baldy Notch
Samir Shahin's Report

14 September 2002

Hey! Yesterday's climb up Mount Baldy (10,400 feet, we started at about 4,000 feet) was very difficult. I did not take it seriously, the night before I rode the exercise bike for 2 hours (watched Paul Newman in "Cool Hand Luke"). I did a tough trail run the week before, so this hike seemed like an easy way to socialize and get some light exercise. I thought that this would be a simple walk up a trail, long ago I discounted when people say "the hike was tough" because I would usually run up the same trails they were walking.

My cavalier attitude was not rewarded.

We parked one car at the base of a ski lift, and carpooled to a trail that began further down. The plan was to hike up to the top of Baldy on the long trail, then walk over the 3 miles to the TOP of the ski lift (and snack bar) to meet, and then take the ski lift back down to the car.

The hike up was very steep. I kept thinking that soon the tough steep portion would be done and the trail would level off a bit since it was like climbing stairs. But it never seemed to end. I ran out of water by 3.5 hours, but I thought I would be OK because this was supposed to be a 4 hour hike up. Fortunately other friends in my group (Willy, Jim Wolff, Paul Spencer, Zhanna Drantyev, Simine, we totaled 6 people) had extra water, and they shared some cookies and trail mix with me. I felt bad, I am usually NEVER The one that needs help, always the provider. I think the altitude got to me too, I could hardly make a fist I was so weak. Fortunately no headache or nausea, just weakness.

I rested a few minutes here and there, and finally make the summit at 5.5 hours. The faster people got there 20 or 30 minutes earlier. There was a good feeling to be at the top, and see all the way to Hemet almost to Barstow, the Cajon pass, and the Riverside basin. I took my medium format camera and took 6 rolls of film (16 shots per roll, so 96 pictures). The camera weighs about 4 pounds, which was a lot, but since I was not carrying any food and little water, I am not going to complain.

We took the East trail off the summit. It took me 1.5 hours to walk to the ski lift area. The lady at the snack bar counter said I looked tired, as I was drinking the ice cold sports drink before I even got to the cash register. I never had a better tasting hot dog and tuna sandwich before in my life. My friends were waiting at a table, and we talked a bit and then paid $5.00 for the lift down. That was a very nice part of the journey, quietly floating down the mountain. I had a nice conversation with Paul Spencer on the lift down, it was a leisurely ride.

Would I do this again? At the time I was out there, I only wanted it to be over and did not care how pretty it was. I thought that once I develop the pictures there would be no reason to go back. But perhaps if I was better prepared I might try it. They said that this climb was easier than Mount Whitney's climb, so I guess if I had thoughts of doing Whitney I would first make sure I could handle this Baldy hike.


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