Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
1 registered (Bianca B), 11 Guests and 79 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3492 Members
10 Forums
5381 Topics
49677 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Topic Options
#7562 - 09/19/10 12:18 PM TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Murrieta, CA
This is a trail report that is a bit embarrassing, but a great lesson to know your limits. I discovered it is always best to turn around early, instead of getting that "summit fever" (yes, even on a Mountain like Baldy.) I got stuck in that mindset where I was only a couple of hundred feet or less from the crest of the bowl and didn't use common sense. I felt it would be "easier" to reach the crest, especially after all the effort I had gone through to get to the point I was at. I did learn some new rock climbing skills, found out I can do things I didn't know I could do and hopefully learned to make better decisions, especially when faced with dangerous situations. If I was going to attempt this again, it would be with a plan, some research and knowing from other hikers experience what route I should take to reach the crest and trail. Here's the story and yes, I really am a bit embarrassed to admit that I got myself in a bad situation. I know many or most of you have probably done the same thing. I'm hoping I get a message out that before you attempt something, plan it.

DJ, My buddy of 40+ years, and I decided to hike the Baldy Bowl, a large bowl like area that goes very high and very wide. Many of you hikers from So Cal know this area well as it is a popular place to prepare for hiking Mt Whitney. Well, most people with common sense take the trail on the left side of the bowl. Very steep, but very doable. I've hiked it myself several times, both ascending and descending. When we got to the bowl, I told DJ that someday I want to go right up the MIDDLE of the bowl, and joked about "maybe today"....DUMB MOVE. DJ said, well lets just see where we get and if we can't make it, we'll turn around. We found it to have lots of scree and very steep. Kind of one step forward, two back. But we tried to keep with the larger rocks and stay in the brush for better footing. The problem with many of the larger boulders and rocks on Baldy is that even when you find a hold, they can be loose and break off, so you need to really find a nice firm hold. Also, we had to hike a few feet apart, side by side as the rocks would slide and roll down and could hit you if you were below. When scree slides from the side of the bowl, it can come in large swashes, as long as 50 to 75 feet. Our goal was the top of the ridge, or crest, where a trail runs near the top. I found most of it to be fairly easy, just slow. We watched some people about 1/4 mile to our right who were hiking up scree and they were falling way behind us. Then we reached the rock formations near the crest. It became much more difficult, but I felt if I found good hand and foot holdings, took my time, checked the route DJ was taking and didn't look down, I could do this. After all, I could see the top and I figured it would take us another 15 to 20 minutes or so to reach it. Well, about 95% of the way up, it became really dangerous with lots of slippery very steep rocks and light scree. The hand holdings were less and less and the rocks were covered with light dust and sand. I wasn't having fun and started shaking a bit and hyperventilating. I still tried not to look down, but I found that looking up wasn't helping much either. Well on one part, I couldn't find a step up. I found one footing, but there was no place to put my hands and no other obvious footing. I stayed in that spot for what seemed like forever and I did look down to see what my options were. I didn't have any, at least for my skill level. I was stuck. DJ handed me the end of his wooden pole (he carries it on all hikes) to help me get up. I pushed with my one angled footing and DJ pulled to where I finally got a step to secure myself. At one point, I was virtually hanging by the wooden stick. Yes, I must admit, my life flashed a couple of times in front of me and if I had fallen, it would not have been good. But, I take a breather and I'm still thinking we can reach the top. DJ goes up on a reconnaissance mission and gets to the edge of a large rock formation. He just stands there looking for a few moments. I ask what's going on, not that I didn't know. He said there wasn't a way to the top where we were. We were no more than 100 to 150 feet to the top, but we made the decision to turn around and go back down. Easy to say, but going down isn't easy. So, I found my way down the rocks very slowly and slid on my ass in any scree I could find. It was steep, but leaning back in the scree or taking it down on your rear, while looking ahead for escape routes wasn't too hard. THEN about 1/4 of the way down, I was standing skiing down some scree, but had to change directions and jumped sideways where I hit my leg, right below my right knee on a rock. This deep toothache pain went through my leg. There was a small puncture in my leg and a piece of the rock had broken off and embedded in my leg. DJ, who was a nurse in the military and is now a Chiropractor came up and saw the damage. He told me he had to find out how bad it was and pressed around the rock. Very painful. He said, I gotta take it out...."It's against your BONE". I saw the blood and started feeling like I had to throw up. I was a bit panicky as I knew it was going to hurt pretty bad when he took the rock out of my leg. I told him I could get down the mountain with it in there. He said "No, It's gotta come out". Well, I told him to get it out and I had to distract myself by slapping my face over and over again for about 15 to 20 seconds until he got it out. I cannot believe how much better my leg felt after he took it out. Later, he told me that when I was asking him to hand me some electrolyte drink, he couldn't do it because he didn't want me to see all the blood on his hands. Remember, this is a small hole in my leg. DJ pulled the rest of the stuff out of my first aid kit to bandage up the wound. Yes, one smart move was that I had a first aid kit on me. I was still shaky and learned to be a pretty good scree skier, and we slowly made our way down to the ski hut. DJ and I took a very long lunch, shared a Snickers and drank lots of water. My leg felt much better.........but then I had to go home and admit my stupidity to Karyn, who cleaned the wound and dressed it.

It's a bit hard to walk this morning and a doctors visit may be appropriate, but I did learn a lesson and wanted to share this with you in hopes of letting others know that preparation, common sense and first aid kits are mandatory on all hikes.





_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

Top
#7563 - 09/19/10 12:54 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: quillansculpture]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
I am glad that you are okay (Should be in that imaginary thread that I always wanted to start called: Dumb Things I Did and Lived to Tell About)

Many of the experienced mountaineers have cautioned me about entering into situations where I am no longer having fun (or the next stage where you enter peril)

Hopefully, next time will be better (I usually read that most people use the bowl in Winter)
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

Top
#7564 - 09/19/10 02:19 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: Bee]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
Dood! You're an animal! Glad you lived to tell about it.

BTW - How can you have a buddy of over 40 years? Did you meet before you were born?.............................DUG

Top
#7565 - 09/19/10 03:13 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: DUG]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Murrieta, CA
DUG - Actually met him in the 7th grade in Catholic school. When I got back to the ski hut, I thought about what you told me the other day about getting back safely from hikes. Lesson learned.
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

Top
#7566 - 09/19/10 03:20 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: quillansculpture]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
Getting back to the truck safely is always my number one goal - everything else along the way is extra.

Sounds like you fell into a common trap - to just keep going a little bit more and hope things will sort themselves out. Sometimes that happens, but not often. You already knew the route coming up so you start thinking the grass is greener by going on.

Don't beat yourself up about it. Consider the rock on the bone your punishment. Say ten Hail Mary's, take two motrin and PM me in the morning to set up a hike................DUG

Top
#7568 - 09/19/10 06:51 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: DUG]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
OUCH!!! So your chirporator buddy "Rocks". I know, I know. Groan.

Top
#7573 - 09/19/10 10:26 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: Rod]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7445
Loc: Fresno, CA
So glad you're ok, Joe. Hope that leg heals fast.

Look on the bright side -- you didn't break any bones.

Top
#7585 - 09/20/10 08:44 AM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: Steve C]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
Originally Posted By: Steve C


Look on the bright side -- you didn't break any bones.


How could he? He protected them with solid rock! LOL..........................................DUG

Top
#7605 - 09/20/10 06:12 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: quillansculpture]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Joe, that bowl looks steep - and it's definitely got its share of scree. Glad you didn't have aything more serious from the fall - it looks like you could have gone quite a ways under the wrong conditions. It's a shame you got so close and had to turn back, but that's nature of off-trail route-finding - sometimes there just ain't no good route!

I've never done Baldy - is going up the center of the bowl common? I suspect in winter there's a snow-path up to the ridge, but do people regularly do it in the summer on the scree? Someone needs to come up with "scrampons" for those conditions!

Glad you're OK brother - let's stick to trails for a while, 'kay?


Top
#7677 - 09/22/10 11:01 AM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: Bulldog34]
BiletChick Offline


Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Quote:
I've never done Baldy - is going up the center of the bowl common?

Gary
There are several routes up the "bowl" in winter...all of which require and ice axe and crampons of some sort (Doug Sr. went up with microspikes, but that's Doug!)The "summer" trail is on the left side of the bowl (out of view).



some of the routes are pretty steep




We went up the left side here where there was snow...as you can see,the middle was melting out...lots of rockfall!



Left side of the bowl looking up from the hut. Glissade tracks down the center of the picture, the "trail" is on the left through the trees.



no photos, just links? Hmmmm confused


Edited by Steve C (09/22/10 12:41 PM)
Edit Reason: fixed image links
_________________________
Picasa Web Albums

Top
#7678 - 09/22/10 12:12 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: BiletChick]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Stacy!!!! My leg is doing much better, a bit of a limp, but a reminder :-)

Seriously....what am I going to do? I told DJ that people don't go up the middle of the bowl in Summer and he said: "now we have to find a way". So, I'm asking if anybody knows a "safe" way, besides the main trail. I was told there is a route from the ski hut to Devil's Backbone trail. When I checked, it looked like that may be a way.

Also, lots of Bighorn Sheep droppings way up in the rocks. Some of it was fresh. I'm sure they were looking at us laughing their butts off.

Next time I go up, I'm going to take your suggestion, go to the top and look down the chutes to see how steep it all is.

Still thinking Whitney in October....but depends on weather and how quick I heal.
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

Top
#7679 - 09/22/10 12:43 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: BiletChick]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Stacy, very cool album. Hard to believe those shots are just a few miles from L.A. proper. I envy you guys having such a great year-round hiking getaway so close to the city! Even Denver isn't that close to 10K' peaks.

And I'm betting that Doug went up Baldy in blue jeans . . .

Joe, glad to hear the leg's coming along. Get that Winter route up the bowl down pat so you can guide me up in February!

Top
#7680 - 09/22/10 01:32 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: quillansculpture]
BiletChick Offline


Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Joe
I'm glad your leg is better. I was worried you'd get some nasty infection with a deep puncture like that.
You'll be amazed at the "view from the top" of the bowl.

Our first summit was straight up - the first "steep" pic on the post above. On our way up we thought, "we should try glissading back down this way"...it would have been our first glissade. After summiting, we walked back to the edge where we came up and almost had a heart attack at how steep it actually was. We ended up hiking down the ridge to the tree line and plunge stepped (to our knees at times) all the way back to the hut. The bowl is a tough hike in winter, but you have traction and stabilization with the right equipment...in summer conditions, not so much. I think I'd stick to the trail!

As for Whitney, I'm looking forward to next year.
Hope to see you on the trail soon!
_________________________
Picasa Web Albums

Top
#7684 - 09/22/10 02:56 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: Bulldog34]
BiletChick Offline


Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Thanks Gary,
Yes, we are lucky to have three 10K+ peaks so close to us.
I used to be a Sierra SNOB but I have recently developed a deep respect for our local mountains after summiting Baldy and San Jacinto in winter. smile

...and Yes, Doug went up in blue jeans!!!
_________________________
Picasa Web Albums

Top
#7699 - 09/22/10 07:28 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: BiletChick]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Stacy....I really, really hate you..... After I looked at those images, I looked up the price of crampons!!!!!!!!! Hey, at least I already have an ice axe. wink

Those images are absolutely fantastic.
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

Top
#7700 - 09/22/10 08:20 PM Re: TR Baldy Bowl - Lessons Learned [Re: quillansculpture]
BiletChick Offline


Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Ah, so you haven't been up the bowl in winter yet? I thought you had.

Crampons are not that bad Joe. This is what I have:
http://www.hermitshut.com/grg10cr.html

I may get the G12's for icier conditions, but the G10's have worked for me 5 times up the bowl. They also have the flex bar so they are easier to hike in.
I still think your ice axe find was a sign!
Maybe Gary, you, Curt and I should hike it in Feb???

Oh yeah, I don't hate you!!!! grin

Here's all the Baldy albums.
_________________________
Picasa Web Albums

Top