Troop 147 last attempted Mt. San Antonio (aka Mt. Baldy) back in 2006 so a repeat of this major hike in our own backyard was long overdue. Everyone gathered bright and early on Saturday for a gear check and then we were off. We cheated just a bit by taking the Mt. Baldy chairlift (6,500 feet) to Baldy Saddle (7,800 feet), but then climbed steadily via the Devil’s Backbone route. Our trek to the summit at 3,068 meters (10,064 feet) was literally breathtaking at that altitude. The last push to the top involved hiking through a snowfield, and then we were greeted by outstanding 360 degree views of the San Gabriel Valley and the Mojave Desert. Our side of the mountain was a sea of clouds far below, but we could easily see Mt. Wilson (looking very small), the salt flats of Edwards AFB to the north, snow-capped San Gorgonio, and even further to San Jacinto, 66 miles away!
At the cold and windy summit, scouts had a quick snack of tea and miso soup using a backpacking stove to melt snow, and then headed home the long hard way via the Ski Hut trail, across some challenging steep and snowy areas. The Sierra Club hut gave us a chance to fill our canteens from a spring before the last long downhill hike to Manker Flats in the late afternoon sunshine.
This was a tough challenge for the boys but they were prepared for it and should be proud of this accomplishment. Now that we’ve done Baldy and San Jacinto (10,834 feet), the remaining local challenge for the troop is the highest of the three local “saints”, San Gorgonio (11,499 feet).
Great job by all participating scouts!