Dawson Peak, Pine Mt. and Mt. Baldy via N. Backbone, October 3 2015

posted in: Photos, Trip Report | 2

This was our last tough training hiking before Cactus to Clouds, scheduled for October 24th. With Vivian Creek permits unavailable for a San Gorgonio hike, Joseph and I decided that hiking Baldy via the North Backbone would be a great alternative.  It would be new to all of us and one of the hikers in the group really wanted to summit Baldy.

We had originally planned on being on Baldy for sunrise, but stop and go traffic on the 15 threw a wrench in those plans. With the traffic, the driving time to the trailhead doubled. It was chilly when we got started on the trail. I opted to not carry my pant legs for the hike, so I was thankful that I was wearing over-the-calf merino wool mountaineering socks. They helped keep my legs warm.

The hike starts on a gentle incline as you follow a service road to the trail. As soon as you jump off of the road, you get a quick taste of what you’re in for; very steep terrain, covered with loose rock. With the late start, we were barely past Pine Peak when the sun rose. After summiting Dawson and starting our way across Dawson-Baldy Saddle, the sun became quite hot. Being able to see exactly where we were headed was both interesting and intimidating.

The final climb to Baldy was tough, but was over quicker than expected. I kept telling myself I was looking at a false summit up ahead, but before I knew it, we were hanging out at the plaque taking pictures.

One of the things that I hadn’t put much thought into was the psychological impact of knowing we were essentially re-climbing both Dawson and Pine on our way back to the trailhead. Once we summit, I often have to remind myself and others that we’re only half done. In most cases, this only partially true; you may have only hiked half the mileage, but usually, the descent will take much less effort. On this trip, this was not the case. the steep descent from Baldy to the saddle, followed by two steep climbs and two more steep descents made the hike back the the trailhead nearly as difficult as out ascent.

For a couple of weeks following this trip, I believed that I wouldn’t have taken the group on this hike had I known how tough it was going to be. After completing C2C with them, I really feel that it was a very valuable experience for them. The mental challenge that came with this hike helped them push through C2C, and in the end, some thought that C2C was easier than the Baldy trip. In my opinion, it’s a great training hike for Skyline or C2C.

Geek Stats

Dawson Peak, Pine Mt. and Mt. Baldy via N. Backbone || Distance: 13 mi || Duration: ~9 hours || Gain/Loss: ±6,000′ || Net Elevation Gain (at Max Elevation): +2,040′ || Max Elevation: 10,068′ || Difficulty: Strenuous

The  gallery below (~70 photos) loads slowly. Thank you for your patience.


2 Responses

    • TheHikingGeek

      Lol! Stupid Baldy or stupid hikers? With all the summits between the two of us, we should know better…