Mt Baldwin (12615 ft)

15-16 Sep 2001 - by Arun Mahajan

This is a straight forward climb by the north-west slopes and the trip reports for it at the SPS pages were of great help.

Off walking from the Convict Lake Trailhead at 8.50am and in two hours or so, I was at the major creek crossing that had remnants of a concrete bridge and after a steeper bit in the trail, at Mildred Lake at 11.20am. The snow couloir of Red Slate looks impressive from here. I continued on a used trail on the east shore of Mildred, southward, till the point the trail made a sharp east (left) turn. My coordinates, just past the turn were: N 37 32.054, W 118 52.094, 9952 ft (WGS-84 datum). It is easy to miss this turn.

The use trail rises sharply a few hundred feet to drop off onto a barren sandy plain right below the west face of Baldwin and then heads back, north-east. The trail eventually drops down into the beautiful Bright Dot Lake which I reached at 1.20 pm. I cached the backpacking stuff and with a lighter pack, took off towards Baldwin, now visible as a whiteish peak with a sharp east cliff with swirls and a gentler westerly slope and an easy north west ridge. It was 2pm then. I worked my way to this ridge and the use trail re-appeared and soon went past some slabs and then calcite crystals began to show up and then a most surprising sight, a small calcite mine with crystals glistening in the sun. There was a short, easy class-3 step here and then the faint use trail, partly cairn-ed, made it's way to the grey summit which I reached at 3.30pm. It was a clear day and there were fantastic views of Red and White, Red Slate, Morrison, etc.

Back to Bright Dot in an hour and after re-packing, at Mildred Lake at 6.20 pm. There were only two other parties camped there, though I met nobody at Bright Dot nor at the summit. Sunday morning, after a cold night, I was walking at 6.30am and at the car in two hours.

This is a fairly mellow peak and has great views from the top and a beautiful canyon to hike into and the calcite mine is amazing.

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