Baldy Traverse

White Baldy – 11,321′
Red Baldy – 11,171′
4800′ gain
The North Face of White Baldy. We cramponed directly up the center to the summit on great snow

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.

White Baldy

Leaving the trailhead at 6am, we passed through Red Pine on consolidated snow and reached the north face of White Baldy.

Pfeifferhorn ridge reflected by Upper Redpine Lake

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.

Halfway up the snow climb
Nearing the summit

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.

View to the southwest. From left: Timpanogos, Nebo, Box Elder, and the rest of the Alpine ridge
High Uintas to the East
View to the East along the rest of the Bullion Divide ridge run. Red Baldy is the summit dead center in the foreground
Lone Peak and Pfeifferhorn

Red Baldy

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.

Ridge exposure to the north
Downclimbing from White Baldy

There were a couple of spots were it was key to drop down to the north before contouring around the step.

Snowy shelf around a steep rock step. Sketchy…
Soft but still tolerable snow
Dropping to the north again to avoid a class 4 step

Soon the scrambling got easier and we reached the saddle between Red Baldy and White Baldy

Nearing the saddle
Cruising along  the snow to Red 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.

Scrambling to Red Baldy

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.

View East along alpine ridge
Good view looking back at the ridge run. We started at the summit in the upper right
Descending into White Pine
Traversing to a good glissade spot

A couple of good glissades later, we were back in the canyon for the long slog back to the car.

Glissade track into White Pine
Heading out of White Pine canyon

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