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Epic Builder
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Fate would have it that Jeff^d and I would join up for what has become our yearly Fall challenge. While most people might consider these all-day death marches, I guess we consider these to be a unique MTB journey that truly cleanses the soul. We had some unfinished business ever since pulling off Crossing Gabe in 2008 (Ride Report Crossing Gabe). But in subsequent years, Mother Nature had her own white ideas late in the year. So we pushed up the ride by a full two months but weather nearly quashed our plans again. All that was left was convincing a few other souls of the undertaking.

7am - Wheels rolling from Wrightwood



A morning warm-up of dirt and asphalt leads us to Big Pines.



We leave pavement for good and make our way up to Blue Ridge truck trail. Baden-Powell is always provides a great backdrop.



We head west, picking up some little used double track.



The recent weather provides exceptionally clear day in SoCal and well packed dirt.



A bit of hike-a-bike to start the morning.



This ride is about the views



Continuing east past Pine Mountain and Dawson Peak, Mt Baldy is revealed.



We get an aerial view of Lytle Creek, but this area was completely decimated 10 months ago.



Lytle Creek is below while Baldy Notch is at the very far left and Mt Baldy in the center.



At the bottom of the fire road, we arrive at total mayhem. While Lytle Creek road was marginally rideable with baby heads, it flat out doesn't exist anymore. We ride up the wash until we are forced to hike.





We eventually join up with the original road as we near the former Big Horn campground in Stockton Flat. This picture shows just how much erosion took place in Dec 2010 and most recently in Jul 2011.



We continue making our way up to Baldy Rd gate via hiking and biking, but lose one hour in the process going just 1.7 miles. Once climbing on the road, it's just a matter of grinding it out another 4 miles to the Notch.

1:45 pm, 27 miles - Mt. Baldy Ski Lodge



Nearly 7 hours and 5,400' of climbing on the bikes, it was time for lunch. While most folks are wrapping up their rides, this is only the halfway point today. I roughly estimate we're one hour behind schedule. Jeff jokingly states he would be perfectly content if he could be teleported back to his bed. I think the rest of us wish the same knowing what lies ahead, but it wouldn't solve our unfinished business.



Finishing off lunch, we roll out an hour later due to the restaurant style service that the lodge employs in the summer. We make the decision to press ahead but the problem is that it's all up.





Being my first time up Baldy, I have no prior knowledge of what I'm facing. I struggle with the hiking as my legs haven't been up to speed all day.





5 pm, 30 miles - Mt Baldy (10,064')



We reach the top at exactly my self imposed cutoff. Temperatures have been perfect all day with little wind, but are now starting to cool off. We don warmer gear, snap a few photos, and begin heading down to be off the mountain before night falls.



Pick your poison as far as a descent route.



The last rays of light hit Three Ts (Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber) as the moon rises.



7 pm, 36 miles - Mt. Baldy Lodge Restaurant



By now we're all on energy reserves and having second thoughts carrying out the complete route. Jeff suggests pie a la mode and we all get a piece.



Half an hour later we're back on the bikes making our way to Sunset Peak. Dessert gives us much needed energy and we make fairly quick work of climbing 1,300' to Sunset Ridge fire road.



I not normally a fan of fire roads, but under a full moon and clear skies this becomes an epic hour and a half descent with nearly the entire LA basin in view.



10:22 pm, 56 miles - In-N-Out, La Verne

With this ride officially in the books, it was time to fill up the gas tanks one last time before getting on the road. Jeff and I have the satisfaction of completing a route that's been banging around in our heads for 3 years that no one else has attempted. Weather and dirt conditions were absolutely perfect. I honestly couldn't think of a better bunch of guys to do some soul cleansing with. Thanks again Jeff, Scott, and Basil.



Gabes Redux - Wrightwood to La Verne
Type: Point-to-point Traverse
Mileage: 56.1 mi
Dirt: 50.0 mi
Ascent: 9,201'
Descent: 14,491'
Starting elevation: 5,915'
Peak elevation: 10,064'
Ending elevation: 1,628'



 

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Truly awesome. I've hiked most of those trails, and it ain't easy.

It looks like you went down the Bear Cyn Trail (6000 ft. in 6 miles!). How was it?
 

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Wow, lived in Upland for about 17 years, started MTBing there in about 84 up the San Antonio Falls access road, now and then we'd do the Mt Baldy peak but usually most of the ski runs on less than capable gear by todays standards, wish I had disc brakes then. I didn't think there was any way it was still possible to do the peak with all the new wilderness designations. Thanks for the memory pop, and congrats on a nice epic, been to all those spots either on MTB or 4X4.

Used to shoot in Lytle Creek when that was a "free fire zone", any given weekend several thousand gun enthusiasts shooting anything from .22s to full on canons at anything from cans to whole cars, that was a wild place back then cool to see it reverted. Most of Baldy area from the the triple T's and down the sides was hydraulic mined for gold back in the day, so erosion has always been a problem.
 
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