I wanted to bag Ross Mountain for a while, but dreaded the up and over and back over Mount Baden-Powell. We needed another hike to get into Sierra season shape and were a little tired of our usual local higher elevation hikes. So Ross Mountain via Baden-Powell it was.
John and I met at Vincent Gap at 6:30 and were surprised to find huge crowds at the big parking areas driving up and then at our starting point. Turns out it was the day for the Angeles Crest 100 mile ultra run! We were a little ahead of the first expected runners which caught up with us around half way up Baden-Powell. They were all still quite fresh since this early into the race. [I just checked and the winner came it at 19h 39m]. But maybe even more impressive was the older guy we passed: 91 years old and moving faster than some people 60 years younger than him. Very impressive. If he would have told us he was 70 years old we would not have doubted it for a minute.
The trail to Baden-Powell is very smooth with just some roots and has a very comfortable grade. It’s also in the forest with plenty of shade, very comfortable hiking. This all changed once we dropped down on the ridge on the south side of Baden-Powell: No more shade, progressively more faint use trail, very steep slopes on very loose ground. The elevation profile gives a bit of an idea of the steepness. The whole ridge down to Ross Mountain is very nice though as it is quite narrow in places and the views of all those mountains in the San Gabriels are great.
We took a nice lunch break in some shade, all the while dreading the slog up the slopes in the heat. It turned out that the uphill was actually kind of easier than the downhill, at least as far as footing is concerned. A nice breeze helped with the temperature (it was around 85 F). Once on top of Baden-Powell again we made very good speed on the comfortable trail back to the starting point.
Ross is not very interesting as a peak itself, but the route along the ridge is very scenic.
Hike stats: 14.1 miles, 5180 ft elevation gain, 8:25 min on the trail
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