Unnamed at GR380492 and GR385487 (south of Mount Baldy South) again (!) Ė February 25, 2006

Mountain height:       2,348 m (7,701 feet) and 2,342 m (7,682 feet) respectively
levation gain:           1,190 m total
Total a
scent time:      5:05
Total descent time:    3:25

Scrambling with Mark.

The only thing missing from my superb trip up these two peaks last week was someone to share it with and so I decided to return with a partner. Unfortunately, Claudia Schiffer, my first choice, was on assignment, making more money in ten minutes than I will in ten years and so I just took Mark.

Actually, there were several reasons for choosing to repeat a trip I had done only 7 days earlier:

1. it really is a terrifically scenic trip that is worth sharing;
2. I was suffering with the flu, Mark had a long week at work and we, therefore, both wanted something short and not too strenuous;
3. we intended to extend the trip by continuing on to the next unnamed peak to the southeast;
4. recent new snow had increased the avalanche danger in other areas;
5. the weather looked very promising and this is not a trip Iíd do in cloudy conditions.

Unfortunately, all didnít go as planned. Firstly, the weather didnít cooperate: last week, completely cloudy skies gave way to completely clear skies, with some incredible transitional lighting effects in between; this week the clear sky in the morning turned cloudy as we reached the first peak and there with no cool lighting effects.

Secondly, because of the very cold temperatures, we decided to go in our mountaineering boots, instead of our scrambling boots and for some reason, they didnít provide the good footing that my scrambling boots had last week. We were constantly slipping on the snow-covered terrain and were frustrated by problems on the slabby traverse from the first peak to the second.

Thirdly, we were both so physically depleted, before we even reached the first peak, an attempt of the third was out of the question. We continued on to the second and then did a very minor extension onto a nearby buttress, but had little energy to do anything else. The severe cold also precluded the attempt to the third, where we, more than likely, would have had to rappel a couple of sections to get down to the connecting ridge. 

We did enjoy some very pleasant scenery throughout the first part of the trip and Mark was certainly impressed with the beautiful connecting ridge between the peaks and the wonderfully steep, east face of the mountain, but it was not the triumphant and glorious return I was hoping for. Nevertheless, a slightly disappointing day out is better than no day out at all.       

The west (left ) and south peaks of Mount Baldy


The lower section of the west ridge


A stray bullet whizzes passed my head; who knew Dick Cheney  was in the area?


Higher up on the ridge, with a sea of familiar peaks to the west


More of  the ridge, with the summit ridge to the right


Not a place to slip to your right


Mark above the crux step; easily downclimbed without snow, better circumvented when snow-covered 


Heading up to the summit ridge


Mark follows


The summit ridge, with GR385487 and the extension to the right; the highest-looking peak at the far right is "Tiara Peak"


The final steps to the summit of GR380492


Mark traverse the ridge to the first summit


Starting the traverse to GR385487


More of the traverse


And more


The beautiful and steep northeast face of GR380492


Not a place to slip to your left!


Mark approaches the lowpoint of the ridge


Same as above, with GR385487 ahead


Deep snow on the ridge


Mark approaches the summit of GR385487, with GR380492 behind


Mark at the summit


Me at the summit


Mark leads the way to the buttress just left of centre; the peak at the far left was our original objective


Same as above


Almost there


At the end of the buttress, with GR385487 behind


Heading back to GR380492


The northeast face of GR380492 again


One more look at GR385487 and the ridge