After setting out to climb the northeast face of Mt. Baldy (10,064 feet) last week, but inadvertently climbing the north face of Mt. Harwood instead, I was eager to settle unfinished business. So at 5:20 yesterday morning, Ryan Dacey and I starting hiking west up the drainage from Stockton Flats.
Though it is only two miles from Stockton Flats (~6,000 feet) to the base of Baldy's northeast face (~8,000 feet), it took us over three hours to cover that distance. The first mile is easy walking, but the second mile passes through a narrow canyon that is littered with avalanche debris and flanked by steep, loose slopes.
Ryan negotiating typical terrain in the upper half of the drainage.
Approaching Mt. Baldy's northeast face.
Our route up the northeast face followed a couloir system for roughly 2,000 vertical feet. The angle averaged about 35 degrees, with one section in the middle that approached 50 degrees. We were on consolidated snow the entire time.
Ryan near the summit.
At 11:00AM, we arrived on the summit. Moments later, several hikers appeared, and we were pleased to say that we had ascended the obscure northeast face. Two of the hikers said that a friend had attempted the northeast face last week with two guys. We were also pleased to say that those two guys were us.