Mt. Baldy via Devil's Backbone
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One of the three ways to the top of Mt. Baldy.
Relevant Guidebooks & Maps
Mt. Baldy topo map.
Drive all of the way to the Mt. Baldy Ski Area at the end of the Mt. Baldy road.
This is the most popular way to climb Baldy. If you have money to burn, you can take the ski lift up to the Notch. If you don't, go back to the trailhead for the Ski Hut and walk three miles up the dirt road to the Notch. From the Notch walk up to the Northern summit of the ski area. From the top of the last lift, follow the ridge in the general direction of Mt. Baldy. Soon it becomes very narrow and the drop down to the right can resemble a great rib cage, hence the name of the route. Back in the old days (the '30s) there used to be a cable attached to several poles along this section so that weary hikers would have something to hold on to. Don't worry though, it's not really that bad. After the backbone, the trail crosses timberline and enters the sparse, often windy area of Mt. Harwood (named after the first female president of the Sierra Club. Yes, the same person for which a certain dormitory is named too). From here you can look down into the Baldy Bowl, which in the winter turns into one giant ski run. After crossing a saddle at 9300 feet, the trail heads straight up the ridge to the summit. A typical hiker should do the round trip from the Notch in about six hours. Add a couple of hours if you're not taking the lift up.
Bring water and check the weather. Snow covers Baldy most of the winter.
Edited by (in order): OTL Staff
Last updated: 05/22/2009