Monday, November 2, 2009

Off the beaten track on Mt. Baldy

Yesterday I dragged a former college roomate, who I had not seen or even spoken to in 16 years, to the summit of Mt. Baldy (10,064 feet) in southern California.  Fortunately, he has taken good care of himself over the years, so slogging up and down 4,000 vertical feet before noon was no problem.  Aside from catching up with Eric, the highlight was seeing a group of about six bighorn sheep, including some lambs, meandering around Baldy Bowl.

Mt. Baldy, a.k.a. Mt. San Antonio, is one of the big three alpine summits in southern California, the others being Mt. San Gorgonio and Mt. San Jacinto.  Most hikers heading for the summit of Mt. Baldy opt for either the Ski Hut Trail or the Devil's Backbone Trail, but there are excellent alternatives that avoid the crowds. 

The Register Ridge route, which we ascended yesterday, follows a steep, rough path for over 2,000 vertical feet between the beginning of the Ski Hut Trail and the middle of the Devil's Backbone Trail.  The path is not maintained and disappears in some of the rockier sections.

Though we saw about one hundred people during our descent of the Ski Hut Trail, we saw nobody on our ascent of Register Ridge.  In fact, in the six times I have been on Register Ridge, I have seen no one but my companions.

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