Last week I decided to hike Mount Baden Powell with my snowboard and my dogs. Mount Baden Powell is located near Wrightwood and, at 9,407 feet, it is the 4th tallest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. I woke up Saturday morning – April 18 – grabbed my snowboard and my dogs and headed up to the base of Baden Powell. As usual, Max and Zoey, were super excited as we reached the parking lot and the bothjumped out of the truck and ran around like the crazed maniac labs that they are. Earlier in the week I had purchased dog packs for them both and I figured this hike would be a good time to try them out. I put the first pack on Zoey and she seemed to take to it quite well. Max, on the other hand, appeared to have issues with the pack that I put on him. He kept trying to jump backward out of the pack…it was pretty comical. In the end I ended up taking the pack off of Max for this hike. It was up to Zoey to carry the water up for all of us in her pack.
We left the base at about 9:30 am and passed several groups of hikers on the trail. Many seemed to struggle with the snow still covering the trail just a couple of switchbacks up. The early going was quite easy and I was making good time. About 1/4 of the way up the trail snow completely covered the trail and I started to feel a bit fatigued as I didn’t eat any breakfast that moring…big mistake. Next time I need to make sure I fuel up before heading out. I ended up meeting up with some telemark skiers for a bit and I hiked with them for as long as I could keep up. However, they ended up slaying me as my fatigue continued to rear it’s ugly head. Non the less, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and eventually reached the summit.
Once at the summit I had a good rest and had the one of the tele guys shoot a few photos. I was going to get some photos of them as well except the battery on my camera died within a couple of shots. All that extra weight nearly wasted because of a dead battery… However, I got one shot with the dogs at the summit.
Eventually, it was time to strap on the snowboard and begin the descent down the north face gully of Baden Powell. This gully typically fills with snow and can be ridden well into late May on good snow years. The snow was still pretty firm, however, the temperature was warm enough to provide a soft top layer for some shredable turns. The dogs did great until I traversed over onto a ridge and decided to drop one of the steeper sections. I dropped in, made a couple of turns and stopped about midway down the chute to check on the dogs. Zoey slid right into me – she was charging it. Max on the other hand got freaked out and stopped in a tree island. He wouldn’t drop in and slide down. He just stayed there and kept barking at me. He then hiked up to the top of the ridge sat down and stared at me. He wasn’t going to come down the chute. At this point I had only one choice. Hike back up the chute, strap in, grab Max by the collar and assist him with his glisading down the chute…if Zoey can do it on her own…Max should have no trouble with a bit of assistance.
So, I unstrapped, hiked back up the chute, which was a little sketchy as the chute was steep and the snow was pretty firm on the face, and gained purchase on the ridge. There was Max, chilling on the ridge, and he still wanted nothing to do with the chute. I strapped in, grabbed Max by the collar and off we went down the chute…Max with his paw breaks on the whole time. In the end he made it down without issue. Although, when I attempted to call him over for a congratulations he just looked at me with a look of…dude I’m not coming near you…you just drug me down that steep ass chute.
At this point we were in the gully which is much less steep and the dogs were able to follow me down to where the snow ends without issue. In the end the dogs did super well…better than I had expected. Zoey did way better than expected…she carried the water and dropped the super steep chute without any complaints. It was a great hike.