Los Angeles County Highpoint Trip Report
Mount San Antonio (10,064 ft)
Date: May 27, 2005
Author: Bob Bolton
We were told by the visitor center hostess that the ski lifts were running
daily, so we hoped for a ride up to Baldy Notch. We may be macho mountaineers
but we're not too proud to ride a chair lift! However, there was no activity
anywhere near the ski lifts, so we parked down at the San Antonio Falls TH at
Manker Flat and headed up the road.
Instead of taking the long road up to Baldy Notch, however, we decided to hike
the trail to Baldy Bowl. That trail is steep and we prefer getting the
elevation gain done quickly instead of dragging it out with perfectly graded
switchbacks or whatever. Upon reaching the Sierra Club hut we selected a route
up the little ridge directly toward Mount Harwood. This worked quite well
except in the steeper areas because there was much loose junk to contend with.
When we hit snow we started angling toward the Baldy/Harwood saddle, hit the
Devil's Backbone trail just before the saddle, then completed the ascent mostly
on snow from the saddle. After walking over the highest hump of snow, we found
a bare spot with an unneeded windbreak just north of the summit where we rested
Neither of us had the heart to return down that steep ridge or the steep trail,
especially given the status of my ankle, which is still not fully healed from
last February's injury, so we opted to head down the trail over Devil's Backbone
to Baldy Notch, hoping that the ski lift hours of operation had begun after we
had started hiking. Alas, the lift wasn't running even though this was the
Friday before Memorial Day weekend, so we were faced with that lousy 3.5-mile
However, as we neared the lodge we discovered that there were two pickups parked there,
each with a man seemingly employed by the lodge. We approached the first
guy and offered him $5 or $10 for a ride down. He said he wouldn't do it for
money but would do it because he wanted to, so, after a short wait, we were
happily ensconced in his 4WD Toyota for the free and easy way off the mountain.
Soon we were wending our way through Friday rush hour traffic at the beginning
of a holiday weekend, vying for freeway space with hundreds of city escapees
heading for the desert.