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Ascent of Mount San Antonio on 2016-11-19

Climber: bob l

Date:Saturday, November 19, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount San Antonio
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:10064 ft / 3067 m

Ascent Trip Report

I started the hike at the ski lift parking lot service road around 7:00 am. The weather was pleasant, slightly on the cool side. Based on the other trip reports that I’ve read this isn’t a common starting point for this peak and now I know why. There is a short walk up the service road until it intersects with the more travelled Manker Flats’/Falls service road, but this short walk is tough. I had to stop several times to catch my breath not expecting such a big start. It adds some distance, but I would recommend just using the Manker Flats’/Falls Rd service road which wraps around the upper section of this particular canyon you are trying to get up. After the roads meet, they continue their winding way up to the Top of the Notch ski lodge. On route to the lodge, several vehicles passed me and even though it’s a service road in this part of the hike, there are some great views back down into the valley area. The service road is easy too. From the lodge area, there are 3 different options to continue up the mountain. I chose option #3 veering to the right which is basically the continuation of the service road. Within a short distance the road turns left into a ski run that aims upwards towards a chair lift loading zone. This ski run area is very steep and requires some grinding stamina. The other 2 trail options from below eventually meet up at the loading area. From the top of the ski run, you now enter the fabled Devils Backbone section of the trail. The trail runs atop an apex ridge and in sections, the trail appears to be only 3’-5’ wide. A loss of footing wouldn’t be good in several areas along the narrow ridge. But, the views and this section of the trail are very rememberable. Near the end of the backbone, the narrow ridge trail turns into a narrow ledge as it abuts and circles around a small canyon side. After this short, but focused section, the trail starts to widen through an uphill woodsy area then widens some more as it moves across the barren side of Mt. Harding. Once you reach the moon like landscape in this section, you can see Mount Baldy boasting in front of you. You can also see the final steep climb that awaits you from the base area and it does look kind of intimidating, but don’t think about stopping here. This final section has several trails up with all of them converging near the top as you will discover on your way back down. Mount Baldy’s top is big and impressive. This is LA, so of course, the peak was crowded with 10-20 or so other hikers. I returned the same way and made it back to the lodge about 11:30 am or so and later took the chair lift back down to the parking lot. This hike has some great elements and some drama areas and it’s a worthy one to conquer for sure.
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