I parked at Manker Flat late Thursday morning with the intention of getting up to Baldy Notch (the little tavern atop the ski lift area) and then either going to Thunder Mountain (down the Three Tee’s trail) or up the Devil’s Backbone to the Baldy Summit. This is going to be one of my main training hikes in the coming weeks as I get back into shape.
One of the main questions right now everyone is asking regards the snow level on Baldy and the surrounding areas. I traveled up the Fire Road for 3 miles, keeping a 3mph pace (my goal for the day) to the Notch and did not see any snow. None. Totally accessible. Once at the Notch, I had a good view of the Backbone and it seemed more or less snow free up to Harwood, at least. I decided to head up that trail when I got a text from a friend who needed me to come into work for him on very short notice. There would be no time for the summit of Baldy. However, I decided to hike up towards Thunder Mountain view the dirt road/trail and ran into significant snow at times. I elected to use no crampons, however, and it was more than passable for about a mile past the notch until finally, just short of the summit, there is a steep part of the road that is covered in ice and certainly requires crampons. I elected to turnaround here and to head to work. My guess is that within a month or so, this will be clear, but there is at least 4-5 feet of snow in parts on this trail, still.
Duration: about 3.5 hours (took a long break at the notch)
Total Distance: 9.5 miles from my turnaround point. 7 mile r/t from manker to the notch.
Elevation Gain: 2500 feet
Temperature: upper 60’s the whole time.
Terrain: Dirt road, some snow past the notch.
GPS log: HERE
Calories burned: 2561
Backpack: Gregory Z35
Shoes: Salomon Quest 4d boots
Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Contour Elliptical
Water consumed: 1 liter
Electrolyte beverage consumed: 4 oz or so of HEED/Perpetuem/Crystat Lite mix
Food consumed: 6 Hammer Gels, some almonds
Estimate of calories consumed: 750