Devil's Backbone in Winter

Southern California and far-away places. Hiking, wildlife, cycling etc.

Devil's Backbone in Winter

Postby Ed » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:15 am

This link is from Shin's Baldy Conditions thread on the Whitney Portal Message Board.

http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20170317/mt-baldy-deaths-lead-to-questions-about-trail-safety

Note the level of experience of the victims, one dead and one injured.

I have seen two YouTube videos of ascents of the Devil's Backbone in the winter where everything looked fine. Very different conditions, in one case complete coverage with good snow, the two hikers sinking in about ankle deep, wearing ski/snowboard boots and carrying skis/snowboards. In the other case, the very opposite, skimpy snow. No signs of ice axes or helmets in either case.

But who is going to tell you what awaits you up there? The story says they camped on the summit, but does not mention their ascent route, so perhaps they did not have a good idea of what they would find on the way down.
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Re: Devil's Backbone in Winter

Postby Sally » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:10 am

I have a couple of friends who pre-purchased ski lift tickets with the intention of riding chairs 1 and 4 to the Devil's Backbone trail,and hiking from there to Baldy summit. I voiced my concern over their plan. One friend is very experienced (he used to be a guide), the other a bit of a newbie. I had them read the article in the link Ed posted.

When they arrived at the lift on Sunday the operator told them he couldn't guarantee that lift 4 would be operating. When my friends got to #4 it was indeed not running, and the personnel tried to discourage my friends from hiking up there. They went anyway, fully equipped with crampons, axes, etc. They even had a rope. Eventually they came to a narrow spot on the trail with a very steep chute, and they decided to turn around and head back down.

They made it down OK. They told me they encountered 5 other parties along the way, most of which were totally unequipped (footwear, clothing, gear).

BTW, my friend told me the lift tickets were something like $60! I would want a refund!
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Re: Devil's Backbone in Winter

Postby Ed » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:41 pm

Sally wrote:BTW, my friend told me the lift tickets were something like $60! I would want a refund!


A partial refund, anyway. Isn't there a lower price for a ticket that takes you only to the Notch?
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