Hiking, mountaineering and climbing in Mt Baldy can be an exhilarating, life transforming experience. However, many adventurers to the mountain fail to realize that, despite Mt Baldy’s close proximity to Southern California’s major cities, and its modest peak elevation of just over 10,000 ft., the wilderness in the area is some of the most difficult to navigate and traverse in the lower 48 states. Historians have marveled at the suddenness and ferocity of storms, and many of the mountain’s local enthusiasts have been surprised by changes in conditions that produce black ice on trails, massive avalanches and dangerous rock falls. Residents of Mt Baldy hear rescue helicopters and emergency vehicles almost every weekend, and more often in winter, due to accidents on the mountain. From October through April crampons and ice axes (and experience using them) are advised. Basic rope/belay skills and a competent partner are also recommended
In good weather, knowing your route on the mountain is not enough. Adventurers should have plan A in mind for sunny days when conditions appear just right, but still be simultaneously prepared with plans B, C, and D in case weather changes, injuries occur, equipment fails, or routes become difficult to navigate because of sudden changes in trail conditions.
In short, many emergency situations on the mountain can be avoided if visitors plan ahead, wear proper clothing and shoes, carry correct equipment for the season’s outing and adventure with a partner.
For emergency needs, carrying a PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON is recommended. Available since 2003 in the U.S., these transmitters send out a personalized emergency distress signal to orbiting satellites. The units are relatively affordable, can be rented, and will give rescuers consistently reliable information about one’s location through a Unique Identifying Number (UIN).
Unlike a cell tower signal, which only provides spotty coverage in areas of rugged terrain, a personal locator beacon is completely reliable. Also available are SATELLITE PHONES.