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Snowshoeing Mt. Baden-Powell – March 20, 2010

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 by

In brief, Joe called me up, and said “let’s go snowshoeing!”. I agreed, and we headed up to Mt. Baden-Powell. And then as the song says, we “marched right up to the top of that hill”, but then, we glissaded down again. This was my first experience with glissade, and I loved it. Loved. It. Amazing. Would do again.

annabarr: Mt Baden-Powell - March 20, 2010 &emdash; well-traveled
follow the footsteps

Oh man. This was so much fun. Joe said “let’s go snowshoeing” and I admit that I first thought it was going to be some kind of easy cross country deal – but quickly the conversation turned to going up Baden-Powell which in no world could have been construed as a flat cross country jaunt. The summit is just over 9400′, and the normal trail takes 4 miles to get up 2800′ of gain. The way we went was notably less distance, but there is no practical way to make there be less elevation gain…

Anyway, we drove out to the mountain and started getting set up. We went on the first part of the trail that didn’t really have too much snow on it, and were able to go up a few switchbacks with just our shoes, but soon enough got to where the actual snow started.

If only I had suspenders on, then I would look cool

At that point, I gained a lesson in what it means to go snowshoeing, in the context of climbing up a mountain. You just start walking uphill. Now, to do this, you need snowshoes that have the heel lift bar, which makes it much much easier to stand vertically while climbing a steep slope, but as were both so equipped, we were successful. I found this pretty challenging, and had to stop and take several breaks, but we generally managed to keep going.

Go Joe, go. The “straight uphill” of which I speak.

Winter is very local. The Mojave has less snow.

Once we got up to the first “top”, we had a nice walk along the ridgeline, then went right up the last summit hump. I’d been sort of terrified of that, since on the normal hike, those last few switchbacks are pretty hellacious, and, well, while this was still pretty steep, it didn’t take all that long to get to the summit…where we couldn’t see anything that was normally up there. the tip-top of the flagpole was just visible, peeking out of the snow. Crazy! The snow hadn’t been quite that deep really anywhere else, but I guess that level of exposure will do that 🙂

Where the Silver Moccasin trail meets up

Little metal tip of the flagpole

made it. ahoy. intrepid summiters, us

So we hung out at the summit for a bit, and then made our way back down, which is where the real fun began! After descending the summit hump, then going back to the ridge, we very shortly cut over to where there is access to a very large gully that is a broad open path all the way back down the mountain, almost all the way back to the parking lot. I was pretty scared of trying glissading, since the surfaces look so steep, but Joe gave me a quick primer on self-arrest and had me practice a bit, and then away we went. And, oh my, it was amazing. Truly sublime. One of the most fun things I have ever done, and this was basically the perfect place for it. Steep enough to get some speed, but not so steep you would lose control. Contained in the gully, so no real worries about going and flying over an edge, and basically no plants or rocks, so little worry about hitting anything. I was almost sad when we made it to the bottom, especially since the trudge back to the car, short as it was, was not really much fun. But walk back we did, and tossed a football around for a few minutes, and then went home.

Just hanging out, playing a little ball, you know

We went down…that way. The twisty white line in the middle. Wheeeeeee!

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