Mt. Baden-Powell Snowshoe

Play full-out. Hold nothing in reserve.
~Robert D. Smith

Mount Baden Powell
Mount Baden Powell

Mt. Baden-Powell (elevation 9,407) is a popular peak to climb in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. It was named after Lord Robert Stevenson Smyth Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement and has a small monument honoring him at the top.

The trail  leaves from Los Angeles Crest Highway at Vincent Gap with the route sharing a few miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Last summer I hiked the 4 miles to the top that included  41 switchbacks and 2,800′ of elevation gain. Upon reaching the hot, crowded summit that day, I knew I needed to come back when this graceful, steep mountain was under a blanket of snow.

After a fresh snowfall in January, we packed up our Kahtoola Microspikes, Ice Axes, and snowshoes to climb this peak once again.  Arriving at the trail head at 9:00 am, the day was perfect, cold and sunny and not a soul around.

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Heading up the North Face in Snowshoes
Heading up the North Face in Snowshoes

As the snow deepened in the high altitude and the trail faded, we decided to head straight up the hill. This strategy ended up cutting significant distance off the climb to the top (from 4 miles to 2.8). Before this trip, I uploaded way points and maps on my Topo Map app on my iPhone. I used this several times to reassure our location and route.

A New Friend Joined Us
A New Friend Joined Us

Shortly before reaching the daunting ridge that leads to the peak, we approached a group of  back-country skiers with a very cool dog. He decided to join Dan and I for a short time.

Nearing the Icy Ridge to the Top
Nearing the Icy Ridge to the Top

Between the bright clear sun, cold crisp air, crunching snow beneath my snowshoes, and dazzling sparkles on fresh snow, I am always left in awe of the gifts God and nature provides at no cost. The invitation is there, just get out and enjoy it.

Ridge to the Top of Baden Powell
Ridge to the Top of Baden Powell

The last section of this winter wonderland is a ridge that is often photographed and can get very icy from wind and cold. We were lucky the sun had softened the snow a bit.

Climbing the Ridge
Climbing the Ridge

Old growth Limber Pine forest toward the top is picturesque.

Summit with View of Mount Baldy - Back Back
Summit with View of Mount Baldy – Back Right

The views from the top are stunning overlooking the Mojave Desert, Mount Baldy, and the Los Angeles Basin.

Monument at the Top
Monument at the Top

Our snowshoes glided down the mountain quickly.

Heading Down
Heading Down
End of a Great Climb
End of a Great Climb

I highly recommend this hike in the wintertime, especially if your goal is to enjoy the mountain without Baden-Powell’s usual summer hiking crowds and if you are seeking exercise, scenery, and easy route finding.

15 Comments

  1. Vivek Agarwal

    Hi, very nice pictures. I am interested in snowshoeing. Can you suggest some hikes nearby San Gabriel Valley or Angeles National Forest which will be good for snowshoeing right now. Thanks so much.

  2. Beautiful photos. And I think it’s a more beautiful place in the wintertime.

  3. Beautiful pictures! I would love to do this hike someday when I next visit California….

  4. Very nice post Rockin’. Excellent photos and map. Looks like you had a real good time!

  5. Wow, that’s great looking snow for being so far south! This is about what our current conditions up at Lake Tahoe look like right now. We’re going to try to get one more snowshoe in this weekend before it melts away.

    • With the record heat you just might be smart taking advantage now. I am heading to the desert this weekend for an overnight backpack. What extremes we are experiencing!

  6. The Beekeeper (aka Jan aka roaming angel in bright pink hat)

    Love photo #5! I’m with you on pointing straight up with snowshoes . . . steep is good 🙂 and I can tell you had as much fun as I do on the powder descents – weeeeeee. Congrats on getting your elevations posted with your route. FUN!!! Can’t wait to hear your stories along the CDT.

    • We think alike! I have that photo as my desktop pic. So soothing and magical. I have always used Everytrail and after seeing your very cool elevation chart, I found that setting on my maps. Thanks for the tip.

      Soon, I will be posting details on plans, gear, and prep for hiking the CDT this summer. My heart races just thinking about the challenge and scariness of the extreme trail.

  7. I can see it was, overall, a splendiferous day!

  8. wowzers, that looks like an absolutely AMAZING day out!!! If only we had more snow in North Wales………

    Great pics!

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