Bald Mountain A - North Ridge


Difficulty:  Class 2 
Ski: Intermediate
Ski "D System": D4 / R2 / II  
Summit Elevation: 13,684 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 10,600 feet
Elevation Gain:3,300 feet
Round-trip Length: 9 miles (with a start at the main trailhead), 7.5 miles (starting at pull-off up the dirt road)
Trailhead: Baldy Road (520)
Author: BillMiddlebrook
Route Added: 07/01/2005
Last Updated: 08/11/2012
   

Trailhead:  

Drive to the south end of Breckenridge and turn east onto Boreas Pass road. Drive 2.0 miles up Boreas Pass Road and turn left on Baldy Road (520). Come to the end of the paved 520 road at 3.3 miles. Emmet Lode (536) turns left. This is the main/winter trailhead and a limited number of cars can park here. In summer, it’s possible to park higher by driving up the dirt road that continues straight from the parking area. After 0.7 mile up this road, there is a small parking area on the right before the road requires 4WD.

Details:

Photo #1 and Photo #2 show most of the route above tree line. This route follows the dirt road that starts at the end of the paved Baldy road. It follows this road all the way up to the North Ridge on Bald Mountain.

From the trailhead, walk 0.7 mile up the dirt road to a small parking area on the right. There is also a trail that leaves to the right. Stay on the road and continue up to 11,234’ to reach the Iowa Mill. At this point, you have traveled about 1 1/4 miles from the main trailhead. Turn left at the Iowa Mill and continue up the road. The road has several large switchbacks as it climbs the gentle slope leading up to the North Ridge. Five times you will pass under the aerial tram between the Iowa Mill and the Carbonite Mine at 12,100’. Near 11,700’, the road takes a sharp left and begins the last stretch to the ridge. Taken from the west, Photo #2 shows this area. After a short distance up this stretch, there is a point where you can take a shortcut (beware of potential avalanche danger in winter): Turn right, leave the road and climb 750’ southeast up the grassy slope to reach the radio towers on the north ridge. If you don’t want to take the shortcut, continue up the road to reach the north end of the ridge - near 12,000’. Turn south and hike to the radio towers near 12,580’.

At the radio towers, the road continues south up the North Ridge - Photo #3. The road narrows and turns into a trail near a 12,900-foot point - Photo #4. After the 12,900-foot point, cross a brief flat section - bottom of Photo #5. The remaining hike to the summit is up-and-down on a defined ridge. Follow the trail over rock humps. Photo #6 was taken at 13,100’ and shows the remaining route to the summit. Near 13,300’, climb a rough section of talus on its right side - right side of Photo #7. Continue past this rough section and hike over another hump or two. Near 13,500’, reach the final pitch leading up to the summit - Photo #8. There isn’t much of a trail here, just follow the ridge crest to the summit - Photo #9.

Photo #10 was taken from 13,500’ and looks back down on the route. This perspective give you a good idea of the number of bumps on the North Ridge.

Notes:   

In winter, the Baldy Road is plowed to the end. The dirt road that leaves the main trailhead is not plowed. When the snow has melted, 2WD vehicles can continue a short distance up the dirt road. Good-clearance 4WD vehicles can drive all the way up to 12,000’ on the start of the north ridge.

 

Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 Photo #4 Photo #5 Photo #6 Photo #7 Photo #8 Photo #9 Photo #10