Icy Baden-Powell

Peak Summited2019 Mount Baden-Powell
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadVincent Gap
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a group
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsTrail snow-covered at times - Gear and expertise recommended
Trail ConditionsObstacles on trail

We ambitiously planned to try and get two more peaks bagged for the Six Pack, because it is such a long drive from San Diego to the Angerlus National Forest.  Unfortunately the day didn't turn out like we planned.  We did the basic research on this trail which was new for our group, but we failed to read up on current trail conditions.  We assumed that we were late enough in the year that the trail would be clear, so we proceeded up with typical hiking gear.  About three miles up the trail we started to see “cute” patches of snow along the side of the trail, and didn't think much of it.  As we continued up, we started to encounter patches of icy snow that we had to cross.  Fortunately the hikers before us had carved out steps and had placed dirt or broken branches in the steps for traction.  It wasn't too bad crossing the ice steps sideways on the switchbacks, but it got scarier as we started up the steep section near the peak.  Fortunately we all made it up safely and got our summit photos.  The view of the surrounding snow-capped peaks was incredible.  As we started down, we quickly realized that going down the icy steps in the frozen snow would be even more difficult than going up.  Then one of our group slipped and fell, breaking his camera and selfie stick, but not any bones, thank goodness.  We decided to try to stay off the snow and find a safer route down below the snow fields.  I would not recommend that to anyone else.  The route we found was steep and treacherous.  we spent three extra hours trying to get arond the snow and had to scramble back up an extremely steep scree slope a significant distance on hands and feet until we could find our way back to the trail.  We learned some valuable lessons that day to check trail conditions more carefully, and be sure to only go up icy trails if you have the proper gear to descend those same icy slopes safely.  We will be moving our next big mountain hikes later in the year to give more time for the snow to melt off.  be careful up there!

Comments

  1. Frank

    Thanks for the update. So you know-these snowy conditions are rare this time of year. I summited Baden-Powell last year on April 28 and it was snow free, and Cucamonga in early April-and only a couple of patches of snow.

    1. Tim Shell

      Thanks for your comments. I have hiked Mt Baldy, Cucamonga, and Ontario Peaks over the past few years and didnt find snow like this, so unfortunately I was lulled into complacency. Lesson learned to do my homework and be prepared for unfamiliar trails and unusual weather patterns.

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