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Curated for Me

Let's Hike Mount Baldy: 10 Peak Challenge (2nd attempt)

SoCal Hikers & Trail Builders
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Endorsed by Curators:
Jul 15 4:30AM - 9:00PM

Join me for an all day, marathon adventure in the alpine wonderland of Mount Baldy and vicinity.

On May 26th, I attempted to hike the Baldy, 10 Peak Challenge, as a solo hike. I ended up starting too late (7:00 a.m.), allowing insufficient time. In addition, I had a backpack which did not fit due to being too low for my frame. The backpack severely weighed me down and reduced my speed. Plus, the trails are in questionable condition. Downhill passages such as Devil's Backbone Trail and Three T's Trail are hazardous due to erosion that took place this winter. It is therefore not safe to hike fast down these narrow, descending sections. The terrain there consists of too much loose dirt and rocks; a single misstep can be fatal. Since I was slow on both uphill and downhill passages, and I started too late, I only had time for 6 out of 10 peaks, which totaled about 21 miles and 8,000' of elevation gain.

This time, I plan on hopefully bagging all 10 peaks in one day, or at least more than 6. As many as time, energy, and safety permits. We will start much earlier in the morning, and I will not be using a backpack which is too low for my frame.

The Hike: We will begin at the Baldy Visitor Center. From there, we will take Bear Canyon Road to its end (about half a mile). The end of Bear Canyon Road is where the Old Baldy Trail is located. From there, it is about 6 miles and 6,000' of elevation gain to Baldy. Last time I made the mistake of hitting East Baldy first. I plan to cut over to West Baldy first in order to save time, and avoid hitting East Baldy twice. After taking a brief rest at both Baldys, we take the Devil's Backbone Trail 3.5 miles down to the Notch, making a side trip to Mount Harwood on the way down. We will NOT have lunch at the Baldy Notch restaurant, as none of that food is conducive to hiking efficiently; it will burden our digestive systems and slow us down. Plus, I don't want to be tempted to get a beer. Bring your own food. We can, however, get additional water at the Notch. From the Notch, we take the Three Ts Trail. It is almost 6 miles to summit Three Ts and arrive at our next way point, which is Ice House Saddle. We will take a longer rest at Ice House Saddle. From there, we have 4 peaks remaining: Etiwanda, Cucamonga, Bighorn, and Ontario. Once we return to Ice House Saddle, it is a 3.6 mile walk down Ice House Canyon, and then a 1.6 mile walk down Baldy Road to the visitor center.

In summary, the 10 peaks are as follows:

1. West Baldy

2. East Baldy

3. Harwood

4. Thunder

5. Telegraph

6. Timber

7. Etiwanda

8. Cucamonga

9. Bighorn

10 Ontario

Exit points:

1. Baldy Summit. If you prefer, you can take the Old Baldy (Bear Canyon) Trail back to the cars from here.

2. Baldy Notch. From here, you can walk 6.5 miles down Baldy Road back to the cars. You can cut out 2.2 miles by taking the ski chairs (bring cash in case) down to the ski lift parking lot. This is much easier than taking the Three Ts Trail, as it is much fewer miles and no additional elevation gain. Just be hyper vigilant for traffic! If I remember correctly, there is no sidewalk for sections of the road.

3. Ice House Saddle. From here, you can take Ice House Canyon Trail 3.6 miles back to Baldy Road, and down 1.6 miles to the visitor center, if it is necessary for you to skip the final 4 peaks.

The Stats:

Distance: 33 miles

Elevation Gain: +- 13,000'

Level: 10/10 - EXTREMELY STRENUOUS

Duration: +- 16 hours

Format: Gargantuan, monster loop with many branches.

Pace: I intend to maintain an average pace of at least 2 mph, including breaks. Our moving pace should be an average of 2.5 mph. Don't be fooled! That may not seem like a fast pace; but for this hike, it is FAST. That way, we will finish by 9:00 p.m., if we start at 4:30 a.m. Don't forget your headlamps!!!

Terrain: Mix of well-maintained and poorly maintained trails. Be prepared for hazardous conditions.

Parking: Park in the Visitor Center parking lot, or if the lot is full, park along Baldy Road wherever legal, as close to the Visitor Center as possible. Do not park in the church parking lot, or anywhere else where parking is not permitted. Display adventure pass.

Directions: From Pasadena, take the 210 east to Claremont. Exit Baseline and turn left after the exit. After one block, turn right onto Padua. Drive to the end and turn right onto Mount Baldy Road. Continue on Baldy Road until you reach the Visitor Center in the Baldy Village. Look for Bear Canyon Road, on your left. The visitor center is immediately after Bear Canyon Road, also on your left.

Warning: This hike is a killer even for the toughest hikers. If you are unable to keep up with the group, you will be advised to either turn around or take one of the exit points.

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***Important*** Please read the following in its entirety:

Know your limits. This hike is geared toward the strongest, fastest, and most capable hikers. If you are an advanced hiker, this hike will be challenging for you. If you are not an advanced hiker, this is not the hike for you.

How to test yourself: Try walking a mile, or several miles, around your neighborhood, using an app such as "May My Hikes" to test your pace. If you can maintain a pace of 4+ mph for a long period of time, walking around your neighborhood, without steep hills, and without carrying heavy weight, you should be in good shape for this hike. We will not, of course, be going that fast on the actual hike, but testing your pace and endurance on easy terrain is a good way to gauge your abilities.

What to bring: Appropriate hiking shoes or boots. Do not come in sneakers or street shoes; you will be turned away. Make sure you have a comfortable pair of boots that do not give you blisters. Also, make sure you have a comfortable backpack that fits properly. You do not want a backpack that sags too much below the hips; preferably, it should sit right about at the hip level. If the weight of the backpack is not properly distributed, the accumulated trauma it induces can cause injury.

5 liters of water MINIMUM. Those who consume large amounts of water will need at least 6 liters. If you come without water, I will have to turn you away. We can refill at the Baldy Notch.

Enough food to last the entire day.

When you RSVP: you will be added to the wait list. I will mark people as attending at my discretion.

If you are hiking with me for the first time: You will need to convince me of your ability to accomplish this hike at a reasonable pace. Either private message me, post in the comment section, or update your profile with information about your hiking experience, pace, and fitness level. How fast can you walk? How much elevation gain can you do? How many miles can you walk? If applicable, what altitude are you comfortable with? And what combination of all of the above can you manage?

My rules:

No guests - everyone must sign up individually. I must know in advance who will be attending and how many will be attending.

No animals - leave your pets at home.

Smoking is strictly forbidden on my hikes. There is no smoking at any point in time on the event, whether at the parking lot, the trailhead, or at any point along the trail.

Pack out ALL trash. That includes all food related waste (e.g. orange peels, banana peels, apple cores, etc.).

Graffiti is a serious problem in our local, state, and national parks. It constitutes a criminal offense as well as a serious threat to the natural environment. I take graffiti very seriously. If I witness an act or incident of graffiti, I will report it to the authorities.

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Liability Waivers and Disclaimers:

We only organize events and do not claim that any of the organizers, assistant organizers, event organizers, event hosts, and/or volunteers are trained professional guides. We are volunteers; thus we're only inviting you to join us as friends hiking with friends.

Outdoor sports can be inherently dangerous, and from time to time, accidents may happen. By joining in any posted events, you agree that you're aware of the risks, hazards, and dangers associated with any activity and that you're taking full responsibility of your own safety and well-being.

All participants must take full responsibility for their own actions and adhere to the rules and regulations of any governmental agencies that exist written or otherwise; that you are releasing SoCal Hikers from any and all claims and liability in case of possible injuries as stated in paragraph 6.2 of the Meetup Terms of Service Agreement located at the bottom at the Meetup website.

If you do not agree with the above or uncertain of your ability to complete a hike or an event safely, please do not sign up

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