Mt Baldwin

31 Jul 1999 - by Eric Beck

Off from Convict Lake at 6:30, armed with Patty Kline's report from the SPS archives which proved invaluable. After three miles ( seemed more like four ) I reached the washed out bridge with its huge concrete abutments. This bridge once spanned both Convict Creek and the creek draining out of Lake Genevieve, crossing both at their confluence. One of the abutments has "1982" embedded in it. This was a large bridge, it must have been an awesome flood which took it out. Does anyone know when it washed away?

Anyway, I brought an old pair of running shoes and a ski pole for the crossing, which proved easy, no more than mid shin at the most. The shoes were stashed on the other side and I continued up on past Mildred Lake on the use trail, mostly very good, on the east side of the Creek. Patty said that one mile past Mildred Lake, at the first creek flowing down from the east, the use trail headed up on the south. This proved accurate.

After gaining 500 feet to a large flat and barren area below the massive west face of Baldwin, the trail took a NE heading up toward Bright Dot Lake, and would ultimately go almost all the way to the amazing Calcite Mine at 12000. Continuing up the use trail, there came a point where the trail continued north toward Bright Dot Lake. I turned east here across some light colored low angle limestone slabs, heading for the broad, low angle ridge heading up toward Baldwin. To my delight, after a bit, the use trail reappeared, switchbacking up the ridge, and then diagonalling right across slabs and scree. It finally vanished, but evidence of activity was prevalent and I continued straight. Soon calcite began to appear. The last few hundred feet below the mine involved some easy scrambling.

The Calcite mine was an area perhaps 20 by 30 totally covered with large crystals. The route continued right 50 feet, over a short wall and followed a reddish band which contoured onto the upper west face, which is indeed remarkably smooth. 700 feet of easy slabs and scree led to the top at 11:38. Red Slate is sure a lot better looking from this side with its three small glaciers. An interesting register entry from a few years ago: Peter Croft had climbed Morrison, and then traversed the Kaka Ridge over to Baldwin. Clouds were gathering, so I didn't linger. It had stormed on the Sierra crest the previous afternoon. On back down pocketing two crystals. Back at Mildred Lake the sky was mostly black. Picked up my shoes, recrossed the creek, and was back at the car at 4pm. It never did appear to rain up high, although there was a brief shower driving down the Convict Lake road.

Home by 5:00 and getting into some cold ones. Round trip stats: 18 miles (est), 5200 feet, 9.5 hours.


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