Baldy Mountaineering 2006

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Mt. Baldy Trip, April 28 and 29th, 2006

We have also repeated this trip in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 as part of the Winter Mountaineering Trips. We generally run an overnight practice trip to Mt. Baldy before going to a more serious objective in the Sierra Nevada.


Information on self-arrest can be found in these scanned PDF's (which are restricted):


We're taking a snow-mountaineering trip to Mount Baldy (aka Mount San Antonio), probably via the Baldy Bowl. The Mt. Baldy website has more information. This is a joint trip with students from the Claremont Colleges; see On The Loose for information about their outdoor club.

The purpose of the trip will be to practice snow travel; there should be steep snow slopes up to 45 degrees for us to practice crampon and ice axe technique on. Ropes will not be necessary. If time permits, we plan to practice building snow anchors (e.g. bollards, deadman, stakes) and belaying (I'll bring a small rope for this), as well as avalanche beacon practice.

The trip will be divided into two groups: one group will leave Friday night and will camp on the trail Friday, either in snow caves, tents or the ski hut. The second group will leave from campus very early Saturday morning and will climb the route in one day, hopefully meeting up with the first group.

Individuals will be responsible for their own food. We will arrange rides via email. Please email srbecker if you are coming and let me know if you can drive (as well as which group you'd like to be in, and if you have any problems getting the necessary gear).

Major items of gear required for this trip are crampons and ice axe. Snowshoes will probably not be needed at this time of year. Other important items are stiff, waterproofed boots (e.g. all leather, not the lightweight part nylon kind if you can avoid it), gaiters and helmet (bike helmet will do in a pinch). In addition, I have a recommended gear list below. Not all items are necessary -- use the list as a guideline.

Gear List

For the overnight group:

  • Tent (if you're planning on using one)
  • Light-weight shovel (if you're going to snowcave)
  • Tarp or bivy sack (if you're going to snowcave)
  • Sleeping pad, either closed-cell foam or therma-rest type
  • Sleeping bag. Any modern bag is fine (either down or synthetic). Rated to 0 C or lower is nice, but not necessary.
  • Cooking gear (e.g. stove, fuel, pots, bowl, spoon)
  • Toiletries
  • Flashlight

Major gear:

  • Backpack
  • Stiff, waterproof(ed) boots
  • Ice axe (a small leash is nice)
  • Crampons (any kind that will fit your boots)
  • Helmet
  • Gaiters (not the very short kind)
  • Snowshoes if you really want them; most people won't have them
  • Poles, if you want them


  • Long underwear tops and bottoms (e.g. polypropolyne, silk)
  • Wool socks (and thin liners, if desired)
  • Warm pants, either fleece or wool, or Gore-Tex type, or softshell
  • Shell jacket (e.g. Gore-Tex or similar) for wind/snow
  • Warm upper layer(s), e.g. wool, fleece
  • Down parka (especially if you're camping)
  • Warm hat
  • Balaclava
  • Gloves or mittens. Bring extra pairs. If it's warm, then expect them to get very wet, so waterproof ones are nice.

Personal Items

  • Snacks and lunch
  • Water bottles (about 2 quarts for the day-hike group)
  • Baseball hat or sun hat
  • Sunscreen (Very important)
  • Medicine (e.g. ibuprofen) and first-aid kit (e.g. moleskin)
  • Small flashlight
  • Chaptstick
  • Goggles (nice to have if it's windy at the top)
  • Sunglass (Very important)
  • Camera
  • Compass
  • Map

Driving Directions

From Pasadena, take the 210 East for about 25 min or so until Mountain Blvd (there is another Mountain Blvd about 10 min from Pasadena; do NOT take this one). Go N. on Mountain Blvd. and take it into the mountains. Go past the ranger station and Icehouse canyon to 1/2 mile before the ski lift area. Park on the left side of the road, next to the gate at the Baldy Fire road. It is near Fall's Road at Manker Flats. There's a giant median in the road at this point; the fire road's gate is right at a gap in the median.

The Sierra Club says this: Start a the locked gate of San Antonio Falls Rd, which is approx. 300 yards past Snowcrest Lodge and 400 yards before the entrance to Mt. Baldy Ski Lifts.

Hiking Directions

Start the hike at the gated access road to Baldy Notch. Walk up the road for about a mile. About .3 miles after the first switchback (it's about 10 minutes to the switchback, which is near a waterfall), look for the unmarked Ski Hut Trail and take it to the Baldy Bowl. The turnoff isn't marked, so be careful. It's on your left (uphill); about 100 yards along the trail is a metal sign-in post, which lets you know that you're on the correct path. The Trail ascends the side of a ridge to the hut, and it can take an hour (for a fast hiker in summer) to several hours (in winter with packs). We will be camping near the hut.

From the summitpost website: "Take the Mount Baldy road past Baldy Village and park at Manker Flats. There will probably be a lot of cars because you're only 20 minutes from Claremont, but don't worry the crowds thin out a bit once you get past the ski hut. On a nice winter day there will be throngs of people playing on the snow slopes near the parking lot, so make sure you park somewhere you won't get blocked in!

"From Manker Flats walk a little less than a mile on the San Antonio Falls Road to the Ski Hut Trail. The trailhead is not well marked, so keep your eyes peeled for the faint trail which rises sharply to the left about 1/2 mile past San Antonio Falls. Use caution on the approach, crampons may be required in several places because the trail tends to get icy, and you will be traversing several fairly steep slopes.

"Just past the Ski Hut, make your way directly up the large bowl instead of traversing the bowl to follow the trail. This route is popular with LA mountaineers and offers a very nice runout for self-arrest practice when snow piles up over the huge boulders which are obstacles in the bowl when the snow melts."


Maps that roughly show where to park and how the route goes Click for full size

The same maps are at the old website too:

The above links require either a Caltech/JPL IP address or the club's username/password (email alpine to get it)

See Also