Saturday, June 13, 2015

JMT Training Hike 4: Mt Baldy

Today's hike up Mt Baldy made me rethink my training plan. Why? The hike was brutal - and unnecessarily so, given what I'm going to do on the actual trail. Today I went up the Ski Hut Trail to the summit of Mt Baldy, which gains 3900 feet in 4.5 miles. Then I went down the Devil's Backbone to the ski lifts and I wussed out and too the ski lifts down, mainly because I hiked the whole way last year and that part of the trail stinks. All in all, it was an 8.5 mi hike. I think the mileage is fine for training. The elevation gain and the steepness of the trail? Not so much.

Compare today's hike to my mileages and elevation gains on the JMT:

Week One:
  • Day 1: 4.5 mi, 2090 ft elevation gain
  • Day 2: 7.1 mi, 2712 ft elevation gain
  • day 3: 8.3, 3600 ft elevation gain
  • Day 4: 10.1 mi, 590 ft elevation gain
  • Day 5: 5.4 mi, 260 ft elevation gain
  • Day 6: 9.4 mi, 2270 ft elevation gain
  • Day 7: 7.5, 710 ft elevation gain
  • Average: 7.5 mi, 1747 mi

Week Two:
  • Day 8: 10.8 mi, 1270 ft elevation gain
  • Day 9: 3.3 mi, 210 ft elevation gain
  • Day 10: 11.0 mi, 2450 ft elevation gain
  • Day 11: 13.7, 2180 ft elevation gain
  • Day 12: 4.2 mi, 0 ft elevation gain
  • Day 13: 9.9 mi, 2840 ft elevation gain
  • Day 14: 10.0 mi, 1420 ft elevation gain
  • Average: 9 mi, 1481 mi

Week Three:
  • Day 15: 0.0 mi, 0 ft elevation gain
  • Day 16: 9.6 mi, 2005 ft elevation gain
  • Day 17: 12.7 mi, 2330 ft elevation gain
  • Day 18: 12.5 mi, 960 ft elevation gain
  • Day 19: 11.9 mi, 3140 ft elevation gain
  • Day 20: 12.1 mi, 2140 ft elevation gain
  • Day 21: 11.0 mi, 3500 ft elevation gain
  • Average: 11.6 mi, 2346 mi (not counting the zero day)

Week Four:
  • Day 22: 11.2 mi, 3840 ft elevation gain
  • Day 23: 14.5 mi, 3630 ft elevation gain
  • Day 24: 12.4 mi, 3360 ft elevation gain
  • Day 25: 14.3 mi 2595 ft elevation gain
  • Average: 13.1 mi, 3356 mi

As you can see, my average milages increase each week (that's not by accident), as do the elevation gains (except for Week 2). The longest day is 14.5 miles (the last day) and the most elevation gain is 3840 (on Day 22).

If you want to hike Mt Baldy, which is just over 10,000 feet, making it one of the tallest mountains in SoCal, the two main trails are the ones I took. You can do either one as an out and back, or do the two together as a loop. If you don't take the ski lifts, it's 11.2 miles total. The ski lifts cost $20 round trip or $12 one way. You don't need a permit to hike Baldy, but you do need an Adventure Pass (available at REI and A16 stores and probably at the ranger's stations too).

I think the Ski Hut trail is far prettier than the Devil's Backbone, which is why I chose to hike up it again. I'm not sure if I'm going up it a third time ever. It's so steep, it's just excessive unless you are training for something like C2C. In other news, I've decided that C2C is not on my bucket list.

Now, here are some pics of the trail:

Prickly Poppy
Prickly Poppy, one of my favorites.

Chaparral Yucca
Chaparral Yucca

Beardtongue, one of the most unappealing flower names ever.

More beardtongue

Chalk Dudleya
Chalk Dudleya in bloom

After 0.6 miles, you reach San Antonio Falls.

San Antonio Falls

There's one tricky part to this trail. After you pass the falls, an unmarked side trail juts off from the gravel road you're hiking on. The little side trail is THE trail. No sign. You can see it here... or can you? It goes to the left of the gravel road, and it's really steep.

The Ski Hut Trail
Ski Hut Trail


Even this early in the trail, it's really pretty!


Lizard Standoff





Just before reaching the Ski Hut, you arrive at a little stream where cinquefoils and blue eyed grass are growing. I also saw several currants in this area, and some gooseberries were growing along the trail just past the Ski Hut.


Blue Eyed Grass.
Blue Eyed Grass


Above the ski hut, after the storm cleared up.






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