It’s the start of the new year and it’s time to start tackling this year’s fitness goal. This year, It’s my goal to take up the Six Pack Of Peaks Challenge – hiking the tallest six peaks in Southern California. Before getting started I thought I’d see how my fitness levels measure up against the altitude by trying one of the alternate peaks: Mount Baden-Powell.
Six Pack Of Peak Training Hike
This year one of my main goals is to complete the Southern California Six Pack Of Peaks Challenge. The So Cal Six Pack Of Peaks challenge is a year long challenge with the goal of hiking six of the tallest peaks in Southern California. All of the peaks range from nearly nine thousand to almost twelve thousand feet in elevation.
I recently found out that two of the first peaks mentioned on the list had alternative peaks. This means that you could choose to do another peak instead. With my competitive nature, there’s no way I’m doing alternative peaks for the actual challenge itself. But I did think that it would be a great idea to try one of the alternative mountains as a gauge to see if my level of fitness was ready for the challenge of the other six peaks. I also thought doing an alternative peak would be a great way to see what the weather conditions would be like at higher elevations.
The first peak on the So Cal Six Pack Of Peaks challenge is Mount Wilson. The alternate peak: Mount Baden-Powell in the Angeles National Forest.
Mount-Baden Powell Background
Mount Baden-Powell is up in the Angeles National Forest. According to All Trails, the trail is 8.9 miles – although, according to my GPS, the trail was only 8.6 miles in and out, round trip. The total elevation gain is about 2,788 feet to a max altitude of 9,399 feet.
I did this hike in January which, in most parts of the United States, January would be cold as…well, you know. Fortunately, I live in Southern California. True winter days are few and far between. I was lucky enough to catch hike before a winter storm blew through the area. But the conditions were starting to let you know that a storm was on its way.
Near the top of the mountain the wind was pretty stiff – probably around 30 mph with a thick fog covering the peak. I didn’t have a thermometer but I’d estimate that the wind chill was somewhere in the high 30’s to the low 40’s. All I had with me was a pair of Adidas gym pants and a thin hoodie. I soon realized I was under-prepared in the clothing department. The hoodie wasn’t enough to keep the wind at bay and my hands were burning from the cold temperatures.
Mount-Baden Powell weather tip:
Be aware of the weather conditions. I’d imagine summer conditions vary greatly between the winter months. If you’re going during the winter be aware of winds and temperatures at higher elevations. Dress warm.
How Long Mount Baden-Powell Takes To Hike
According to All Trails, Mount Baden-Powell is rated as hard. In my opinion the only thing hard about it is the distance and the altitude. The trail is at a mild grade with sections that aren’t very steep. The trail is also in great condition and made mostly of a dirt trail cut into the mountain with some loose rock. It took me about four and a half hours to complete the 8.6 mile hike.
Food Prep For Mount Baden-Powell
As I mentioned, the trail is a pretty mild incline. Water is going to be your best friend on this trip. I took a sandwich (because I love enjoying nice views and having a lunch) but it wasn’t a necessity. I think that a person could easily get by with some fruit and a protein snack of some sort.
Future Six Pack Of Peak Prep
Alright, so I realized a few things on this trail. Hiking up to a 9,000 foot elevation wearing just a hoodie with windy conditions wasn’t going to cut it. At the very least, if I’m going to be hiking tall peaks in the middle of winter – even in Southern California – I’m going to need some gloves and a thicker jacket. Also, next time I’m not going to forget the hoodie at home.