This meetup is intended for folks who bought an ice ax and crampons, took a training course in self-arrest, and then left the gear gathering dust in a closet. If you haven't practiced the skills, they've faded away, and you need a refresher to get them back in your muscle memory. You may want to review using this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM3xLshmNnk
I'm not a professional guide, and if you've never had self-arrest training at all, then I don't recommend counting on me to teach you from scratch. A good professional outfit in Southern California is Wilderness Outings (http://www.wildernessoutings.com/3course/alpine1.html).
We'll hike up the Ski Hut trail to the south (left) side of the Baldy Bowl and practice self-arrest for an hour or so. After that, we'll climb the Baldy Bowl in the snow at the south end, just to the north of the trees where the summer trail is. This part of the bowl is not as steep as the north end. We'll summit Baldy and return by the same route.
You will need an ice ax, a pair of 10-point or better crampons, a helmet, and snow gaiters. After practicing self-arrest dozens of times in a row in various positions, you can get very wet and scraped up, so you'll be more comfortable if you have something with thick, long sleeves, and maybe a waterproof layer for your whole body. It's probably a good idea to bring a dry change of clothes, including socks. If you want your self-arrest skills to be useful to you in real life, then you need to be able to self-arrest with a pack on your back. If you're going to practice at all while wearing a pack, you may want to use a trash bag or something as a pack liner to keep everything inside from getting wet. The helmet is a really good idea because there is often rock fall in the bowl.
I checked out the snow conditions at the bowl on Dec. 19, and there was already enough snow to practice self-arrest. If there is a big storm right before the meetup, we'll have to evaluate whether snowshoes will be needed, and whether there are any avalanche safety issues. Avalanches are most common at the Baldy Bowl on its steeper north side, right after a big storm. However, the absence of trees on the south side, where we'll be going up, indicates that it does get avalanches at least once in a while.
Weather forecast. (http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=34.294097509045734&lon=-117.64572143554688&site=lox&smap=1&unit=0&lg=en&FcstType=text)
Waiver of liability. We are just a bunch of friends practicing some skills together. I am not a professional mountain guide, and this meetup is intended for people who have already had professional training in self-arrest. Climbing mountains in snow and ice is inherently dangerous. Proper equipment and training can reduce risk, but not eliminate it completely. Self-arrest with an ice ax is not always successful, and failure to self-arrest on a steep, icy slope can result in death. It is fairly common for people to injure themselves with the sharp parts of their own ice ax, or to break their ankles when they kick the toe spikes of their crampons into an icy slope in an emergency self-arrest. The Baldy Bowl is subject to avalanches; I have not had professional training in avalanche safety, so my judgments about avalanche avoidance may be no more reliable than your own. By signing up for this meetup, you agree that you release and forever hold me harmless for your injury or death or damage to your property, regardless of whether I act negligently. You likewise release the other members of this meetup group from liability. When you RSVP for the hike, there will be a question asking whether you agree to this waiver. If you don't answer yes, you can't go on the hike.