Mt. Baden-Powell

Posted by Mountain Hardware on Sunday, May 26, 2019

Hiking up Mt. Baden-Powell to check out the trail conditions.
Today, despite the incoming wind, drizzle and snow, I took a little day hike up the PCT to get a look at the trail conditions.
Left the Vincent Gulch Divide (Vincent Gap) and headed up the PCT through the damp red soil and onto the thickly forested northeast facing slope of Mt. Baden-Powell. Masses of clouds were gusting by and into the desert.
The bulk of the route up to the summit is snow-free. Hiking up past Lamel Spring and the camping flats alongside the trail was easy hiking. I encountered some PCT through hikers heading uphill in the fog and drizzle. Apparently at least one, if not two, turned back around and I never saw them, again. Maybe they caught rides back to Wrightwood to wait out the impending storm.
I hiked on to the area where the switchbacks begin to tighten up in a forest of lodgepole pines. Banks of snow covered the trail, creating an alternating pattern of clear damp trail along with tracks worn into and over the mounds of slick, hard-packed snow.
Eventually, I was contouring atop perpetual snowfields at an elevation of approx. 8,800′. The visibility had decreased down to a couple of hundred feet and the switchbacks were no longer clearly defined. The snowpack was textured in some spots and occasionally glazed. The snow was too packed to kick into. Since I had no micro spikes or any other types of traction, it was time to turn around and call it a day. It was 11:30 a.m. when I started heading back down. Chris Kasten