Sunday, November 14, 2010
Sunrise tints a ridge on San Antonio aka Old Baldy
MOUNT BALDY - Gale-force winds rake the high east end of the San Gabriel range from time to time, and they did again today.
Before sunrise at Manker Flats, gusting winds out of the northeast roared down canyons aligned with the blasts, but the bulk of Mount Harwood sheltered most of the Ski Hut-Baldy Bowl trail.
By 9 a.m. about 3,000 feet higher up the winds had more room to maneuver, and people walking steeper sections of the trail skirting the Bowl paid attention.
At 10 a.m. on the 10,064-foot summit, the high point in Los Angeles County, walking and standing were challenging tasks. Wind-speed estimates among those on the mountain top ranged from 50 miles per hour sustained to 70 mph gusting.
National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Hall, based in Oxnard, defined gale-force winds this evening as 39 to 46 mph.
"Forty-seven to 54 miles per hour is what we call a 'strong gale,' " Hall said in a telephone interview.
Further west in the San Gabriels earlier today, instruments at Chilao measured 30 mph sustained winds with 42 mph gusts, which also qualified as gale-force, Hall said.
Conversation below full-on shouting on Baldy's summit today was difficult, but descriptions of conditions up there later included the words "scary," "intense," and "freezing."
Most who summited around 10 a.m. took refuge behind several knee-high rock barriers cobbled together long ago for shelter from the winds.
A bit later in the morning, others headed to the top bundled in scarves, headbands and gloves.
Aside from the winds it was a crisp, clear sun-drenched day, and a few decided to dress light.
These folks were heading down and glad to be warmer below the Ski Hut.
Photos by Guy McCarthy