Monday, May 28, 2012

Running Ascent up Mt. Baldy (Los Angeles)

Mt. Baldy is really Mt. San Antonio. Its peak is 10064 feet and is the highest in Los Angeles County, in the San Gabriel Mountains. One of the most difficult climbs of Mt. Baldy is from Baldy Village at 4297 feet. There are easier climbs to the top, including one that uses a ski lift to get most of the way up. Most hikers take the trip from the ski resort. Another hike is from Manker Flats, with the trail head several more miles up the canyon from Baldy Village.

This was my fourth ascent, but this one was running the entire way. The hike usually takes about eight to twelve hours but today I completed the round trip in 4.5 hours. Mileage accounts vary; I've seen websites that say the round trip is 14 miles and some say it is 11 miles. Next time I'll have to GPS it.

This is less than a Class 3 hike, which means that there is an established trail the entire way with no scrambling. I'd compare the difficulty in terms of steepness to the easy way up Mt. Whitney. Perfect for a run, although some parts are steep. Several websites say it is extermely difficult but it is difficult only due to the 5700 foot elevation gain. If you're an average hiker and want a challenge, start at Manker Flats and take the trail past the Sierra Club hut.

My new adizero xt 3 (addidas) trail shoes are terrific. I had some break-in issues with blisters on the heel because of the stiffness, but some duct tape around the heel has resolved these. This shoe is extra-stiff and lightweight. This shoe has a tighter than usual toebox, which I wanted to minimize the sliding around in the shoe that occurs on difficult boulder descents. This shoe also has a forefront in neoprene and the entire tread is Continental rubber -- a technology from a tire company. This is very low to the ground shoe.

I've been lazy about posting lately. The first week of May was my first attempt at a 100 miler and I bailed at 65 miles when I started having gastric distress. I know, what a way to wimp out when the legs and feet are otherwise functioning. But, I had a terrific crew using my old Landcruiser. Seeing my truck parked at the aid station made it too easy to climb in. Thanks to Vince Romney for organizing a terrific event! Thanks to Scott for the crew!