June 17, 2006
Approximately 6.5 km
Approximately 784 m
2194 m (7,196 ft.)
Unknown (est. 3 hours)
Difficulty - Endurance:
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.