Mount Baldy - West Peak via southwest ridge – December 27, 2005

Mountain height:   2,192 m (7,190 ft)
Elevation gain:      824 m
Ascent time:          2:15
Descent time:       1:20

Solo scramble.

I guess it had to happen sooner or later – my tenth ascent of Mount Baldy. Actually, that is not entirely accurate, as the mountain’s 3 separate peaks put my statistics at: North Peak (true summit): 7 ascents; South Peak: 3 ascents; West Peak: 3 ascents. Technically, that means I’ve only made the summit 7 times….but who’s counting?!

I was waiting for a miserable weather day to see if there was an easier route off Baldy’s West Peak than the difficult one Mark and I took, after ascending the peak’s west ridge in April of this year - and this was the day. I was also completely out of ideas for new ascents and so I started up Baldy Pass Trail, in order to gain the southwest ridge of the mountain. The ascent was easy and straightforward until I hit the first highpoint of the ridge, marked by four interesting cairns .   

The best part of the ascent followed – an enjoyable and sometimes exposed ridgewalk to the summit. One section, near the beginning, required a bum-shuffle traverse, but the remainder was much easier. After a short summit stay, I returned the same way, skipping the exposed traverse and avoiding Baldy Pass Trail, by cutting down slopes directly to the highway. A pleasant day and yet another interesting route to one of Baldy’s three summits.    

Looking up to the first highpoint


At the first highpoint, looking towards the summit and intervening ridge


Same as above, with the south summit at the right


Typical terrain on the ridge


Mount Bogart gets a little sun


Darker skies to the south; Mount McDougall is just right of centre


Back at the first highpoint; the exposed traverse is right in front; unseen is the sheer drop on the right side of the ridge


An interesting cairn at the first highpoint


Same as above