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Mt Baden-Powell, Angeles NF, July 15, 2006

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007 by

July 15, 2006 (and so slackerly writing these up!) Joe and Erin and I set out into the hills to try and escape the terrible heat of Pasadena. Well, it was actually cooler up there, if you can call 85 degrees much of a break. But it’s still kind of warm. Anyway, our goal was Mt. Baden-Powell, an 8 mi out-and-back hike, 2800′ of gain, to summit at 9399′. (that’s kind of like an A- height, isn’t it?).

This is of course named after the founder of the Boy Scouts. They think so highly of him and his mountain that they put a memorial and a dead tree up there for him.


we seem to be missing some road there, cap’n

CA SR-2 has a big chunk in the middle of it closed, so we had to go around the long way, to Vincent Gap, which is where it is closed at the other end. For the longest time I thought there was still just rockfall or winter snow in the road, and then I started wondering why they didn’t reopen it, and it wasn’t until a few months before this that I saw the photos at Chilao Flats showing that parts of the road had basically fallen off the mountain. Eit! But from the trailhead at Vincent Gap, you could even see a little bit of the damage.

We started gamely up the trail. The route itself is fairly tame, and pretty well graded. The guidebook notes that this trail has the most switchbacks of any trails in the Angeles – 41. Of course, this meant that we had to count them as we went up. It was only on the way down, later, that we noticed that the occasional trail markers also included the number of the switchback at which they were located. We’re so observant! As you go up, as is wont to happen, the view just keeps getting better, and in this case, as we were on the northern side of the hill, the view was of out and over the Mojave desert.

the desert always seems incongruous in these views

Erin got fairly tired on the way up, I think the heat, and oddly enough, so did Joe. So, for the first, and perhaps the last time in my life, I was the sole one on a hike ready and raring to go (at least at the midpoint of the way up). The two of them hung out and took it a bit more slowly, and I kept my way up the hill. There was a fair amount of foot traffic that day, and since it was all switchbacks, we popped into view of each other every few minutes anyway.

As you start getting to the top, the switchbacks start getting shorter, which you of course expect, and there was this obvious high point that I was really exicted for. However, this then doomed me to a letdown, and that “high point”, while high, was not the summit. What I had to do in this case was reach that point, walk around a large rock, walk along a ridgeline for a little bit, and then hit these last two, terrible, bitchy steep nasty switchbacks, to suddenly find yourself actually on the top of the mountain. (as seen in the first photo on the top).

It’s pretty windswept and barren up there, although there are a few really awesome limber pines both on the summit and on the ridgeline, which are up to a couple thousand years old, I am told. We saw a bunch of boy scouts on the way up (natch) and a family grouping on the top, one of whom was decked out in pretty gothish gear. Well, goth with a hint of…I don’t know, some other style. “Stuff, things”.

We sat on the top for a while and enjoyed the view and relaxing, and then made our way back down. The only particularly notable things about this were the fact that my knees hurt like several kinds of bitch going down, presaging the upcoming saga of going to the orthopedist and physical therapy, and also there was a rattlesnake all curled up near the beginning of the trail. We’d been warned about it, and also that it was fairly somnolent, so just not to poke it or anything stupid (you’d be surprised what people do…or maybe you wouldn’t). Erin and Joe went right past it, but I actually saw it. First rattlesnake I’ve seen in person, I think, other than maybe in a zoo.

the whole hike took 6hr20m, including lunch and almost an hour at the summit. So, not very fast, but like I said, it was pretty hot.

yeah, we’re all shaded, but it’s the only group photo I’ve got. Comfy sitting tree though.


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