Baldy Bowl Chutes
The Baldy Bowl Chutes are the obvious skiing routes on the south facing slope of Mount Baldy, above the well-known South Bowl. After heavy storms in the winter, many or all of the chutes may become filled in enough to be skiable. These have been skied regularly (some more than others) for at least the last 80 years, and the recognized names of the chutes were bestowed by their first descenders (some controversies have ensued of course). These are summarized in a photograph hanging in the San Antonio Ski Hut. If viewed from the south, the chutes are L-R: 1. Dostie's Dare, 2. The (main) Dare, 3. Once Is Enough, 4. Shit Chute (aka Hourglass Chute), 5. Girlyman Chute (aka All or Nothing), 6. Hershey's Highway, 7. Figure 11 Chute, 8. Employee Entrance, 9. Zen Chute, 10. Jusayno Couloir, 11. Zeke's Chute, 12. Procrastination Chute, and 13. Schitzo Alley. The wide open descent on far right is called 3-Pin Alley.
The chutes, and the bowl as well, are often marked by full spring conditions throughout the entire season. Except after recent snowfall, melt-freeze cycles produce varying conditions throughout the day in the bowl depending on time of day and aspect with regard to the sun - ice in the early morning and shade, and corn to slush in the late day and in the sun. As a rule of thumb, great corn snow emerges between 10-11am on most aspects on a normal, warm, clear day between Jan-Feb.
This is a very ballsy variation of the standard Dare chute. It is named for renowned southern California skier, Craig Dostie. He is the former publisher of Couloir Magazine (the first ever backcountry-skiing specific publication) and self-proclaimed inventor of the phrase "Earn Your Turns." His backcountry skiing blog can be found here.
This very obvious chute on the "looker's" left-most side of the bowl is often skiable between January and April. It is wide, straight, about 35-40 degrees at most, and without any major obstacles, making it one of the most approachable proper couloirs above the bowl. It receives the most early sun of any of the chutes and is a good bet for early in the morning on warm, clear days when melt-freeze has taken hold.
Once Is Enough
I don't personally know anyone who has skied this, but it is very high on the to-do list. Extremely narrow, and with a second steep bulge in the middle, it is fairly intimidating to look into from above.
Shit Chute (aka Hourglass Chute)
This aptly named chute starts as a very steep, wide cornice that pinches into a moderately narrow opening at the middle, and then widens again as it opens into the main bowl. To ski the fall line would mean a series of very steep turns culminating at the pinch point, and would be substantially harder than the most often skied route whereby one cuts in on a wide angle from the far skier's right on the cornice.
Girlyman Chute (aka All or Nothing)
On a clear day, this chute is easily identifiable from the top because of its characteristic pinch and kink at the midway point (the "dog leg"). The pitch is accepted to be ~50 degrees at the crux, which is the very top. It is generously rated D13 in Lou Dawson and Andrew McLean's "ski descent rating system" or the "D system" for backcountry ski routes, and surprisingly was at some point even rated D14!
Mike, the ski guru at Sport Chalet in La Canada (he hides upstairs in the shop), has claimed to have the first descent of Girlyman, though he says he named it "All or Nothing" at the time. For reasons that aren't exactly clear, it has happened that this name was rejected for "Girlyman," probably due to the popularity of that name.
A variation on the standard Girlyman Chute, this narrow entrance is marked by a mellow introductory slope (40 degrees) that soon turns over at a bulge into 45 degrees or higher. In addition, the middle of the chute is scarred by an often exposed (or thinly covered) section of rock that requires a committing jump turn to navigate past. The bottom of the chute feeds into the "dog leg" at the bottom of Girlyman.
Figure 11 Chute
Another rather obscure chute, this and the next three lines are pretty much devoid of beta.
Funny name, still no beta.
Often confused (name-wise, not terrain-wise) with Zeke's Chute. No beta... yet.
This ridiculous line does not usually have enough snow to even see. I will have to consult Gil for any stories about anyone actually having skied it.
This chute is rated D9 in the "D system" (see Girlyman reference above). Club members descended this chute in epic conditions on the Baldy Bowl Ski Trip 2010. It is fairly wide open and straight-forward, offering an awesome introduction to some of the "harder" chutes in the bowl. Cut in from the cornice on the skier's far right for the easiest line.
This is the widest, most obvious chute in the Baldy Bowl and is therefore the most common chute for climbing ascents and ski descents. Coverage is often quite good, even early or late in the season. On descent, watch out for the heavily trafficked boot pack(s) after a long period without new snow.
Has anyone ever witnessed enough snow in the bowl to make this fathomable? Please let Nick know if you have!
Check out this cool video posted on vimeo!