So-Cal Monitor: Mount Baldy

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on December 17, 2008 12:00 pm

For big-mountain snow junkies in Southern California, when the winter storms hit, thoughts immediately turn to Mammoth or Tahoe.  But, when the conditions are just right, Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains offers So-Cal’s only real big-mountain terrain.  Didn’t think big-mountain and So-Cal could be used in the same sentence?  Think again, mon frere.  With winter storms pounding the west, delivered by a perfectly set-up jet stream, right now is the time to monitor Mount Baldy. 

What you need to know:

Mounty Baldy’s topography is much like Mammoth’s sister mountain, June Mountain.  The bottom of the mountain (pictured left) is the best (steepest and biggest) part.  The tipping point is 3-4 feet of fresh snow, not a normal occurrence for the San Gabriel Mountains.  At this point, Chair 1, the only chair from the bottom parking lot, morphs from simply an upper-mountain access lift, to the lift, servicing So-Cal’s only big-mountain terrain.  And with a short drive (13 miles from Upland) for L.A. residents, like the Lakers’ Vlad Radmonivic, Baldy at special times presents another option for those seeking big-mountain thrills.

photo courtesy of Cyrus Verdeh

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