Saturday, May 8, 2010

Baldy Bowl: One Last Time

Moments after a sharp switchback overturned my coffee this morning, spilling the contents onto CDs, maps, batteries, and other stuff, I arrived at Manker Flat. It was 3:45AM. Shortly thereafter, a lone headlamp began illuminating the path to the ski hut.

As I was swapping light trail shoes for mountaineering boots at the ski hut, dawn revealed the bowl to be much drier than expected. But there was a single, nearly continuous finger of snow that extended to the crest. Was it the middle finger? I decided to find out.

With the exception of two short stretches of scree, I was able to follow consolidated snow all the way to the rim of the bowl, finishing in a 45+ degree chute. From there, hard snow led to the windy summit, which I reached at 7:30AM.

The final chute to the rim of the bowl.

The north side of Ontario Peak from Mt. Baldy summit.

I descended consolidated snow in the east bowl for about 1000 vertical feet, and then scree-skied the remaining distance to the hut. At 9:30AM, 5.5 hours after departing, I was wiping coffee from various things in my car and singing a ridiculous song that had been running through my head all morning.

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