We're heading up to Mt. Baldy via. The Register Ridge ( Devils Backbone Trail) this weekend, which will also include hitting Mt. Harwood, Mt. Baldy and West Baldy (in that order). However, the main portion of this hike is to do The Register Ridge to Baldy, so it's not mandatory to do the other peaks. You could just head straight up the Devils Backbone after doing The Register Ridge, and we'll meet you on Mt. Baldy... or you can just do Harwood and Baldy...etc. Either way, we'll be taking the Ski Hut Trail back down to Manker Flats. This isn't a very long hike, but it has some "meat" on it, but that works in our favor, cause that way we can take our time and enjoy the day!
Register Ridge Description:
This is the ridge that you will follow all the way up and is the SE Ridge, called Register Ridge, that goes up toward the summit of Mt. Harwood. Stay on the ridge, which is pretty steep, and keep climbing up. You will come to a distinct flat spot, about 3/8 of a mile below the Baldy Notch Trail. There is also an outcrop of rocks here that one can turn to the right or left to get around, or scrmble directly through which would be class 3. From here, this is the steepest part of the route in which you gain about 800 feet in a quarter of a mile. Eventually, the climb up the SE Ridge meets the Baldy Notch Trail, just SE of the summit of Mt. Harwood. Turn left on the trail and head west toward the summit of Mt. Baldy.
The elevation gain is the same as the San Antonio Ski Hut Trail and the distance is probably about the same. I recommend the San Antonio Ski Hut Trail, which has a sign along the way down that says Baldy Bowl Trail, for a descent route.
This is a strenuous varation to climb Baldy, it has some nice views on both sides of the ridge and if you want some solitude from the weekend crowds, this is a good option. If you do this climb after all of the snow has melted, bring plenty of water, since there are no water sources until you get down to the SA Ski Hut, where there is a small run-off stream.
Mount Harwood is the peak directly East of Mount San Antonio (Mt Baldy). At 9552ft and with many backcountry ski and climbing routes, it is a major peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. Those who spend the time to know the area north of Harwood will have a true appreciation for this great peak, which offers excellent mountaineering routes with no crowds and pure, clean solitude. This is the key to unlocking the true spirit of Mount Harwood, and San Gabriel Mountaineering.
Mt Harwood was named for Aurelia Squire Harwood, a Claremont native and supporter of the Sierra Club. Nearby Thunder Mountain was at one time named Mount Harwood, until the Mt Baldy Ski resort changed the names over.
Mt. San Antonio or better known as Mt. Baldy is the "crown jewel" of the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California. Although it is not the highest mountain in Southern California it is the highest in the San Gabriel Mt. Range. Mt. Baldy is visible from much of Southern California and much of Southern California can be seen from it's summit on a clear day. It is one of the most photographed objects of the Southern California landscape It's snow covered peak has appeared on post cards and tourist literature for many years.
West Baldy is the high sub-peak to Mount San Antonio (Mount Baldy). It is the second highest named point in the San Gabriel Mountains and Los Angeles County. Mount Baldy itself can have quite a crowd during the weekend whereas West Baldy you can usually stand alone finding solitude. The view from West Baldy includes much of the same as Baldy but with deeper views into the steep Fish Fork drainage and a closer view of San Antonio Ridge. Bighorn sheep also seem to make more appearances on this sub-peak.
Take the 210 Freeway and exit Mountain Ave., proceed north on Mountain Ave. and turn right on Mt. Baldy Road. The Angles National Forest Mt. Baldy Visitor Center is in Mt. Baldy Village and you can get a Forest Adventure Pass there. Pass Mt. Baldy Village until you get to Manker Flats.
What to Bring:
Poles (Not needed, but recommended)
Layers of Clothing (Might be cooler in the morning and at the top)
A BIG heart for Success
and more and more Water!!! :)
PLEASE NOTE :
My hikes are for the strong at heart and will be moving at a good pace, (but not super fast). There will be NO sweeper and you are ultimately responsible for yourselves. I'm only here to lead you in the right direction, so please know your limits as this hike is a butt-kicker!!!