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[pct-l] Baden-Powell alternate route proposal

I realize there are some who may consider the following suggestion
blasphemous, but I would like to suggest an alternate route if you
are approaching Baden-Powell and run into too much snow. I have been
up Baden-Powell several times, both from Vincent Gap and from Windy
Gap/Little Jimmy, but never early in the season so I cannot speak 
first hand about the snow/ice. My understanding of the problem is that
even in a year of relatively light snowpack there are long chutes of
ice that are too steep to cross and too long to go around above or
below. May I suggest an alternate route.

First, you could certainly take the highway from Vincent Gap to 
Islip Saddle. It's certainly the easiest route of all in terms
of elevation gain, but I hope that isn't our main motivation. 

Better yet, the Manzanita trail leaves Vincent Gap, across the 
highway from the Baden-Powell trail, heading approximately northwest.
(I'm a little fuzzy on the distances here since it's been three years
since I did it.) The trail is in excellent condition. About a mile from
the highway there is a small spring on the trail (year round?). About
five miles from the highway - mind you this is down hill ALL the way -
is a campground - North Fork?  There is no piped water there. The
trail splits here: you can go thru Devil's Punchbowl and come into
Cooper's Canyon camp ground from Burkhart Saddle, or turn south and
CLIMB ALL THE WAY to Islip Saddle. If you stop at North Fork campground, 
you can probably find pools of water year round in the floor of the
canyon. About a mile below Islip Saddle is Reed (?) Spring which almost
always has water. At Islip Saddle you rejoin the PCT and continue up 
to Mt. Williamson. 

It's not the PCT but it's very similar: from Vincent Gap, instead of
going up to Baden-Powell and then down to Islip Saddle, you go down
to North Fork, then up to Islip Saddle. Probably the same elevation
gain. Total distance this way from Vincent Gap to Islip Saddle is
about 11 miles.

North Fork campground is accessible by auto from the desert and is 
popular with 4WD-types. I wouldn't camp there.

I wonder if someone doing this route might greatly reduce their need
to carry an ice ax. If so, that would certainly justify the alternate.

Hope this helps someone.

Bill Qualls

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