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