A group of fifteen students signed up to hike Mt. Baldy this weekend, barely squeezing with all of our backpacks into the two vans that zig-zagged up to Manker Flats trailhead. It was a superb group defined by their enthusiasm (singing everything from the Webb school song to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas") and their resiliency on the steep, slippery slopes. We were rewarded with views of Gorgonio (our original destination before the government shutdown diverted us) and Jacinto at the peak, as well as some surprise snacks and a dinner in the village afterward.
Click to enlarge: Alvin, Danielle, Robin, Raymond, Andrew, Devin, Susan, Kristen, Johnathan, Bulat, Alicia, Suyeon, David, Kathy, and Lauren. This shot was a reprise of a similar photo taken on San Jacinto a few weeks ago. You can see that in an older post on this blog.
After passing the Sierra Club Hut, we entered the snowy switchbacks of a steep climb to the ridge. We were aided by "mini-spikes," which are basically mini crampons that we strapped to our shoes for extra traction.
After the steep climb, we took a well earned rest before resuming the hike.
Another steep climb awaited, but at least this one was in the sun and didn't require spikes.
Lauren and Suyeon on the climb -- never too tired to ham it up for the camera.
Mr. Kozden, Robin, Alvin, and Danielle at the lookout from the top of the climb.
The whole group at the lookout -- Alvin seems to think we're taking the second, "crazy" picture.
Above and below, the group zig-zags down -- in the distance you can see why the gear company chose the name "North Face" -- it's always a little snowier on that side of the mountain. On the south face, you can see a thin line of white outlining the trail down.
And here's the thin white line you could see in the pictures above.
The final part of the hike crosses the Devil's Backbone, a stretch of trail that drops off steeply on either side.