Hiking Trails

Mt. Baldy Summit Hike and John Muir Trail Training Update 06.28.15

Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail

Two weeks from now, I’ll be hiking the John Muir Trail. The reality of it is all starting to hit me, this is a dream that started with planning back in January. It’s a bit surreal to have it so close. As much as I’ve planned and prepared, I still feel like there is a ton of work to do. One thing I’m feeling very confident about is my physical training. So far, I’ve logged 435 miles of training with 145,595 feet of elevation gained. The JMT is about 225 miles with 44,000 feet of gain, so it won’t be anywhere near as much climbing as I do here in my home mountains. The ankle injury I suffered back in April has slowed me down a bit, but it won’t be enough to stop me from enjoying the High Sierra this summer.

I started increasing my mileage last week by getting extra miles in during the weekday mornings. It’s been really nice to get out with my dog, Isla, and catch each sunrise before work. This past week, I was able to get a solid 40 miles in, and I’m starting to feel my “walking legs” start to stabilize beneath me. This is something I always do before a long trek. Many people only train on the weekend, and then when it comes time to walk everyday, their legs go through a slight adjustment period. I like to get that out of the way beforehand.

After hiking to the summit of Cucamonga Peak on Saturday, I decided to do another speed hike. For Sunday, I hiked to the summit of Mt. Baldy. I took the Ski Hut Trail route for minimal distance, but maximum steepness. I made it to the summit in a personal best time of 1:55. My best time before that was 1:58 earlier this year, so it’s good to know I’m in better shape than I was then, if only marginally.

Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail
First Views From the Summit
Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail
Almost the 4th of July

It was the perfect day for hiking, as the usually hot and dry summer climate had been replaced by humidity and clouds. It was still very warm, but there was almost no exposure, and virtually no wind at the summit. It’s a shame we don’t get more summer days like this in Southern California.

Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail
I Love This Summit
Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail
Summit Selfie

I took a short break at the summit and snapped a few pictures before making my way back  down. The entire time on my ascent, I was convinced I’d hear a crack of thunder or see a flash of lightning based on the composition of the sky. Surprisingly, the thunder storms never came. I was a bit disappointed in a way, as I’d really like to get some wet weather training in to prepare for the afternoon thunderstorms of the High Sierra. We never get any rain here, and I wasn’t mentally prepared for the 7 days of wet weather last year on the Tour du Mont Blanc. I’ll just have to hope for warm and sunny weather on this summer trek!

26 comments on “Mt. Baldy Summit Hike and John Muir Trail Training Update 06.28.15

  1. You’re one of my favorite bloggers! Thanks for inspiring me. I’m planning to do John Muir Trail, too. But not for a couple more years. I need time off to do it. I climbed Whitney, and that felt like an accomplishment at the time. Can’t wait to read how your trip goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I really appreciate the kind words. Whitney is a great hike, and a great accomplishment! I can’t wait to be standing on the summit at the end of the JMT!

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  2. Its amazing how you have practice hikes like baldy in your backyard. Here in perth our highest hill is like 600 metres. Not really a “mount” at all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha, wow! 600 meters would make elevation training tough to do. These mountains are probably Southern California’s best kept secret. Most people know about the beaches and other hot spots, but very few take advantage of the multiple peaks above 2700 meters!

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      • You definitely are lucky to live in SoCal! I do get depressed sometimes when one of my day hikes reaches 300 metres. And im puffed out at the top. So tragic! Lol

        Liked by 2 people

  3. @anna. I feel you. Highest around me in Texas is around 900 feet or so. And Drew, what pack were you wearing on this hike? Doesn’t look like your Exos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is my Salomon SLab running pack. It’s super lightweight and the one I use for fast ascents.

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  4. Can’t wait to read about your time on the trail! I’m definitely guilty of not doing enough during the week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! It’s hard to stay motivated during the week. It either calls for a late evening or an early wake up. Neither is ideal!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So excited for you. You will love the Sierras.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll be honest: totally jealous that you’re hiking the JMT, lol! I’m dead-set on doing it by next year AT LEAST, so in the interim I’ll just live vicariously through your blog. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, I’m inspired by your 52 hike challenge. Great blog. Thanks for stopping by on mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Peterbgolf:)

    Best of luck to you Drew and safe journey! You and your postings have been a real inspiration to me and got me off the couch and on the trail. I recently went on my first ever hike at age 53. I am now planning for my pilgrimage. Godspeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, I appreciate the kind words. I’m so glad to hear these posts have been an inspiration, and even better to hear that you went on your first hike and are planning a pilgrimage!

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  9. ryanmagdanz

    Have fun man! sounds unreal!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mt. Baldy is an awesome trail! This trail is practically in my backyard, so it is one of my favorite go-to hikes! My friends and I did it a lot when training for Mt. Whitney. Love all your pics!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice! Mine too! I hike Mt. Baldy and Cucamonga Peak at least once or twice a month when training for things like the JMT. I have a permit of Whitney in September, so I’ll be heading up to the summit of Baldy at least a few more times before I go!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome!! Mount Whitney was a fun trail. I was not successful in summiting though… hopefully your trip goes better than mine!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a very fun trail, although, I was really tired of all the switchbacks by the end. I’ve been to the summit twice now, and have another permit for early September. Hopefully you get another chance to make it to the summit!

        Liked by 1 person

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