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Welcome to this edition of

California Mountain Adventures!!

In this adventure I head up into the San Gabriel high country for a winter climb along the...

North Backbone!!


I drove up the Angeles Crest Highway to Wrightwood and up Acorn drive to the trailhead for the Acorn trail. I found a spot to park and then headed up the trail. It was a beautiful day to be out hiking. As I climbed up the north side of Blue Ridge I dealt with lots of snow, but nothing requiring using my Ice Axe or putting on my crampons. Eventually I got to the top of Blue Ridge and met with the PCT(Pacific Crest Trail). I followed the PCT east along the ridge and then left the trail and climbed up to the top of Wright mountain(8,505').


Start of the Acorn trail


Making my way up Acorn trail


Acorn/PCT trail junction on Blue Ridge


Pine mountain from Blue Ridge


Selfie on the northwest face of Wright mountain

I found a small patch of snow free ground on the edge of the peak and set up my camp there. I spent the rest of the evening hiking around the peak enjoying all the awesome views. It was especially neat to get to watch the city lights come on as the sun disappeared. Both in Wrightwood right down below me as well as in Victorville way down in the high desert!


Camping on Wright mountain


Sunset from Wright mountain

The next morning I packed up camp and dropped down the south side of Wright Mountain to the trailhead for the North Backbone trail that leads from Blue Ridge over Pine mountain(9,648), Dawson peak(9,575') and eventually to Mt. Baldy(10,064')! I stashed my camping gear, strapped on my crampons, and headed out the backbone. It was another perfect day to be out in the mountains. The snow conditions were great. Solid enough to avoid post-holing, yet not icy at all.


Pine mountain from Blue Ridge


Sheep Mountain Wilderness boundary sign


Starting to climb Pine mountain

I worked my way up the steep ridgeline to the summit of Pine mountain. The views were spectacular in every direction! Since it was still relatively early I decided to head for Dawson peak as well. It's a big drop/climb between the two peaks, but it's nothing compared to the massive gap between Dawson and Baldy. There were some big snowdrifts on the way up Dawson. It was like hiking over giant snow waves, up and down and up and down. The views from the summit of Dawson were awesome, but I think Pine mountain really has the best views. One look at the massive drop in between Dawson and Baldy and I knew it was time for me to turn around and head back.


Views from North Backbone


Views from Pine mountain


Selfie on Pine mountain


Views from Dawson peak


On my way back to Pine mountain

I climbed back over Pine mountain and down the backbone to Blue Ridge. I picked up my camping gear on the ridge and then headed down the Acorn trail back to the trailhead on Acorn drive in Wrightwood. Wrapping up yet another awesome adventure!


Back on Pine mountain


Descending the North Backbone


North Backbone


Descending the North Backbone


Descending the North backbone


One last selfie from Blue ridge

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Map (click to enlarge)

And that's going to be it for this

California Mountain Adventure!

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all photos by @derekrichardson

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