Trail & Snow Conditions: Mt. Baden-Powell, Dec 13 2015

Trail & Snow Conditions

We hiked Mt. Baden-Powell from Vincent Gap:

    • We got started later than expected. Both navigation apps on my phone gave us bad directions. Since SR 2 shows up as ‘closed during the winter,’ they were routing us to Forest Service Road 4N56.
    • The trail was apparent and easy to follow. We did see tracks (from when the snow was deeper) where hikers had gone off trail. I’d like to go back when there’s deep snow and re-do the hike with snowshoes and/or crampons. I need to find info on the winter route.
    • Most of the trail was covered with snow. With the cool temperatures, the snow hadn’t yet melted and refroze, so microspikes weren’t necessary. It was supposed to hit the 40s later in the day, so I suspect micros could be useful later this week.
    • It got extremely cold & windy as we approached the summit. The wind had blown most of the snow off of the summit.
High wind advisory for 12/13/15.


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The cold, windy weather was an excellent opportunity to get out with some of my new gear. Here are some quick notes:

  • Black Rock Gear – The Original Down Beanie
    • I was curious to see if I’d be able to wear this down beanie while hiking and not sweat excessively. As we approached the summit, the winds picked up and it got very cold. I wore the beanie for about 1.5 hours and found it to very comfortable. Without wind, I’m guessing it’s comfortable hiking temperature range will be <20° F for me.
    • After some thought and experimenting on this hike, I think I’ll try carrying the following headwear on my winter hikes: my usual baseball cap, a Long Neck Gaiter (see below) or buff, and The Original Down Beanie.
      • Baseball cap – used most of the time, until it’s cold enough that I want to protect my ears from the cold.
      • Will carry my long merino neck gaiter or a buff, depending on how cold it is. Will be used headband to protect my ears down to ~ 20° F. Will be used to protect my face if necessary.
      •  The Original Down Beanie will be worn if the temps are below 20° F, in camp, or while I hang out at the summit.
  • Katabatic Gear Helios 55
    • Well designed/thought out pack. I will post a ‘first look’ style blog entry later this week.
  • Minus33′s Kodiak Expedition Full Zip Hoody
    • I continue to be impressed with how warm this hoody is. The temp was around 25° F with very high winds and the summit and I was comfortable.
  • Baffin Zone Softshell Boots
    • First time out with these boots.  I typically winter hike and snowshoe with my regular hiking boots, but with an upcoming move to NH, I will need insulation boots.
    • Initial thoughts:
        • No break-in period needed, very comfortable.
        • Rated for -4°F to 50°F. With mountaineering socks, I wouldn’t wear them if the temperature was warmer that 35° or so.
  • Woolx Merino Wool Hat and Long Neck Gaiter
    • Since I was testing a different hat, one of my hiking partners testing these out. It was his first experience with merino wool and he was impressed with it’s softness and lack of itchiness.
    • You can win your own hat and neck gaiter by entering the HikingGeek Gear Giveaway!
  • Darn Tough Mountaineering Sock
    • Great socks. Full review coming soon.

3 Responses

  1. Ranger Bill

    This place is not to be messed with once covered in heavier snow. The winter route is simple going up. Take the ridge from trailhead to the summit ridge…about a mile. The problem is down. I do this peak 2 to 4 times a winter and still go off line, if I’m not careful. There are a couple of tricks that keep you on line…local knowledge is a plus.

    Generally, I travel as far as I can on the trail, usually to between 7,800 and 8,000′ then take the ridge. Each winter is different. The lower part of the mountain on the north side is the most dangerous…most do not recognize this. Rarely are snowshoes used here…I used the the last two winters for the first time. The snow is usually hard crust from bottom to top. If you are traversing towards Burnham and Throop, take you snowshoes, especially if you plan to descend “7 Dwarf Ridge”. Again, local knowledge is a big plus on this ridge in the winter.

    See my blog… it is littered with winter posts and pictures about this mountain.

  2. boothv

    I did a (mostly) night hike up that way on Saturday and the wind was really starting to pick up. Winter’s a comin’!
    The 2 has been closed at Islip to Big Pines for about two months now and I have no idea why. They said “rockfall” but rocks can be removed. The drag is that the Dawson trail to the PCT to the summit is inaccessible and it’s a much better trip in my opinion.