Mt. Baldy via Devil’s Backbone and Baldy Bowl

Peak Summited2021 Mount Baldy
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadMt. Baldy Trailhead at Manker Campground
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a partner
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsIntermittent snow - not hard to cross
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

Ascended via the Notch and Devil's Backbone from near Manker Campground starting at 7:00am. The hike was strenuous but very doable. Trail conditions were good, with only brief patches of snow that were either easy to go around or cross (no spikes needed, though we had them with us). We encountered consistently brisk and gusty wind once we reached Devil's Backbone that stayed with us until the summit. While the wind never made the backbone crossing unsafe, it was cold and I was glad for the layers that I had packed. I had 3L of water with me (in a bladder) and ended with a little less than half of that remaining.

Trailhead parking was quite full when we got there at 6:45. Despite that, for whatever reason we didn't see that many other people on our way up until we got to the region of the final ascent. I can only surmise that most people chose to go up via Baldy Bowl or got an earlier start and that's where we caught up to them (we tend to set an above-average, though not blistering, pace).

Our total time, including a thirty-minute break at the summit, was about 5hrs & 45min. Owing to the steep terrain and loose soil in some parts, the descent via Baldy Bowl was significantly slower for us than our ascent via the backbone. I didn't have poles on me, and while I didn't miss them once on the way up, they would have made the descent much easier and quicker.

The hike was lovely, and we were treated almost the whole way to beautiful views of the LA Basin's current cloud cover.


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