June 16, 2012

Red Pine Baldy & White Pine Baldy Traverse

 Amazing to think at this time last year we were still skiing excellent lines while this year the high alpine is nearly dry. Crazy! I guess you need to take advantage of whatever nature dishes out. I set out this morning at 6 AM from White Pine trail head with not much of an agenda other than to mountain run.  The sun was burning the northeast faces of White Pine Baldy and Lake Peak as I entered the upper White Pine basin alone. It was truly beautiful as the trail was still wet from snow melt and a couple moose made it even more exciting. The White Pine region this morning had a wild sense to it that I have not felt for a while, it was a welcome change. As I reached the top of the White Pine switchbacks with the lake around the bend I aimed my sights straight up to the north ridge of Red Baldy in hopes I could make a dash for the summit. It was cold and my arms were chilly as I pushed up the steep face to the ridge gaining the warmth of the sun which was a welcome embrace and not an ounce of wind existed. I trotted along the razor edge and scrambled to the top of the middle summit with absolutely no one around and an elapsed time of 1 hour 20 minutes.
Nearing Summit of Red Baldy and White Pine Baldy Peering Behind w/ a bad phone camera

 I still had some time so I made haste and ran down the ridge with the east spiny ridge of White Baldy beckoning me with an irresistible force. As I reached the saddle I was so impressed by the beauty, the cloudless sky, no wind, wild flowers, shiny white granite and the solitude of running on technical terrain that I had to keep going. I scrambled along the east ridge, loving every airy step up and over detatched granite blocks until I reach the summit with 2 hours lapsed.

Red Pine Basin from Summit White Baldy w/ a bad phone camera
I paused to throw my jacket on and gaze at what little snow exists and then decided to proceed down the north ridge and then down the relentless west bowl/face of White Pine Baldy and down to the upper Red Pine Lake which still desperately sought to hang on to a winter ice. I then moved down the final snowfields and on to the trail. As I neared the car, the sun was warm, the air was clean and I along with many other folks at this point enjoyed the beauty of what these mountains provide. I stopped the watch at 3 hours 19 minutes and then drove away.

Upper Red Pine Lake w/ a bad phone camera

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