On Saturday, I had the opportunity to knock off two more Wasatch 11′ers with the Wasatch Mountain club. We climbed Red Baldy and White Baldy via the route known as “Red/White/Red/White” – up the North Face of White Baldy via Red Pine Lake, across the ridge to Red Baldy, and descending the ridge into White Pine canyon back to the trailhead. This started out as a mountaineering route and ended up a fun ridge run!
It was a great group as usual for these WMC trips, and I enjoyed the hiking and conversation. Of note, I should point out that today is the first time I’ve climbed with a real-life Everest summiteer, Carol, who is the oldest woman to complete the highest peak on each continent (the Seven Summits). Salt Lake City’s outdoor community is a pretty awesome thing.
Leaving the trailhead at 6am, we passed through Red Pine on consolidated snow and reached the north face of White Baldy.
The snowfield was beautifully consolidated, and cramponing up nearly 1000 feet from the lake was straightforward. The snow seemed between 35 and 40 degrees most of the way. We were able to reach the ridge passing over only one short rock band.
We reached rock about 20 or 30 feet below the true summit and climbed to the top, where the morning views were spectacular, from the High Uintas to the East to the mountains on the far North side of the Great Salt Lake! Almost 200 miles across.
After a few minutes on the summit, we moved along the ridge to the East. The scrambling started out challenging due to the presence of snow and ice in a few key steps. I was very happy to have my ice axe for this section as well as the snow climb.
There were a couple of spots were it was key to drop down to the north before contouring around the step.
Soon the scrambling got easier and we reached the saddle between Red Baldy and White Baldy
The rock soon changed to a reddish, fractured texture as we neared the summit of Red Baldy. The scrambling changed in nature from big steps, to loose handholds and a bit of exposure. It was walkable for most of the route though.
The view from the summit of Red Baldy wasn’t nearly as impressive but the view into White Pine and into the southern valley was interesting. We enjoyed lunch on the summit at around 1pm before descending to the north along an easy ridge.
A couple of good glissades later, we were back in the canyon for the long slog back to the car.