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Freedom of the Hills...

Baldy North
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Date:                                                    June 17, 2006

Participants:                                          Solo

Distance:                                              Approximately 6.5 km

Elevation Gain:                                     Approximately 784 m

Maximum Elevation:                              2194 m (7,196 ft.)

Elapsed Time:                                       Unknown (est. 3 hours)

Published Routes:                                 Kane (modified)

Published Rating:                                  Moderate

Difficulty - Endurance:                           4

Difficulty - Technical:                            Overall 3.5 ("down climb" is 4 due to exposure, route up middle is also 4 due to some difficult steps, gendarme downclimb is between 3.5 and 4.)  


Baldy, like Ha Ling and Heart, is just one of those peaks that I suspected I’d be dealing with more folks on the mountain than Boxing Day at the mall.  This was precisely the reason why I had avoided this peak and some others like it such as Yamnuska.  Although I was correct in that the volume of people on the mountain was quite high, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining the mountain was.  Perhaps that is why the mountain IS so crowed… hmmm…


Knowing that the gendarme, the “down climb” and the intervening ridge crest could be circumvented, I vowed to stay on the high point of the ridge the entire way.  When I arrived at the “down climb” I was a bit surprised that it was so exposed. I had envisioned that the fall distance wouldn’t be as far.  In other words, that a fall would be enough to cause damage but not enough to kill.  The exposure at this spot, in my opinion, is severe enough to easily kill.  Blah, Blah, Blah… so I down climbed it and it was physically fairly easy,  psychologically the exposure made it more difficult.


I continued on and over the crest of the gendarme which, on descent, I down climbed.  The gendarme is probably harder than the “down climb” as it is looser but less exposed and can be done facing out.  Coming over the gendarme on descent, it was interesting to watch a couple folks gawk at me like I was nuts as there is an easy way to traverse it on the south side.


After the gendarme on ascent, I picked a slightly more difficult and more central route up the remainder of the mountain and actually got myself onto rock that I don’t think I could have down climbed… which didn’t really matter since I was going up baby ya!


The summit views were decent.  I had been on Baldy South back in January and didn’t have a strong urge to extend the trip to visit that peak again.  Although I was a bit curious as to how difficult the down climb was from the North summit, the lure wasn’t enough to coax me into further exploration.


The exposed down climb, route is straight down the crest. In less than perfect conditions this should probably be protected.


The upper mountain, my route went up the center, the trail follows the crest on the left.


A view of Baldy South and Baldy West from just past the summit of Baldy North, the route to the South Summit is (I think) east of the last flat patch.


The ascent ridge, my route stayed on the crest over the "down climb" and the gendarme, there is a way to circumvent this on the south side.