On Sunday (April 3), Augie Medina, Ty Sutherland, Patrick Moran, and I climbed Baldy Bowl. Though the bowl was melted out in places, the snow conditions were excellent in the mid-morning.
We left Manker Flat around 5:15, which was later than we had planned. The trail was mostly free of snow to the ski hut. After a long break at the hut -- during which time we were harassed by a hungry, determined dog -- we walked up a few hundred feet of scree to where the snow began in earnest. There we donned crampons and commenced crunching our way up very nicely consolidated snow.
Augie at the bottom of the bowl.
The western side of the bowl.
Midway up the bowl, it got hot and the snow started getting slushy. As usual, the final, steep stretch to the crest was exhilarating. At the crest, it was windy and cold. I was glad to have brought a down jacket.
It's all snow from here.
Augie in the foreground with Ty picking up the rear (literally!).
The north side of Ontario Peak.
Click to watch the video.
Since Patrick and Ty were going at their own paces, Augie and I walked to the summit together on very firm snow. After a few chilly, face-stinging moments on top, we descended to the lip of the east bowl, but not before Augie nearly lost his sunglasses and a glove to the wind.
Augie on the summit.
The glissading conditions were nearly perfect. According to Augie, the descent to the ski hut took 23 minutes. Whilst sliding down the snow, I did not envy the dozens of climbers starting up the slushy bowl in the baking SoCal sun.
Lots of climbers heading up.
The falls were gushing at the bottom.