Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

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Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby guest » Sat Oct 01, 2022 9:00 am

Hi friends, Going to be doing Mt Baldy this coming week, I do it clock wise, descending Devil's Backbone.
My question: there's a trail I've noticed under the ski lift that seems an alternative to the long, winding road back to the parking area, (village).
It looks steep & rocky, which I avoided because of that the last time, (on tired legs), was wondering how it is, or if there's another trail in the same area to make it more direct getting back.
I'm not techie, and don't use GPS, so a good ol map or just some details would be helpful, Thanks, Scott
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Re: Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby Ed » Sat Oct 01, 2022 1:14 pm

Let us know what you find if you take it, Scott. I have always assumed that you can skid your way down, it is probably less steep than it looks from above, and I do find the service road leg-tiring and mind-numbing after a while. But I have always taken the service road, since at least it is safe in my spaced-out condition at that point.
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Re: Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby guest » Sat Oct 01, 2022 1:51 pm

Hi Ed, I may have found a great solution, at least for this trip. The Ski Lift is running this Friday, (not usual this time of year apparently), because of a Full moon event their having later that day.
Was planning on going earlier in the week, but this is too good to pass up.
So, I'll wimp out, (like using the tram), this time, I believe the guy told me $12.50 for "older folks", and can be done online, ahead of time.
Hell, knowing that, if the restaurants open, I may just have a quite bite, ride the lift, followed by a short walk back to the car!

But I would like to know any info folks can share, (didn't find much on summit post, probably there somewhere). Thxs
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Re: Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby Hikin_Jim » Sat Oct 01, 2022 9:36 pm

I'm with Ed; I usually take the road down -- although road walks are not really all that much fun. I too have wimped and taken the ski lift down. It's actually kind of fun.

As for the "trail" that you can see sort of under the ski lifts, my understanding is that it is for mountain bikes. Apparently one can utilize the ski lift to hoist one's mountain bike up to the notch and ride down. I have heard that the ski area doesn't want hikers down under the ski lift, but I would just call the ski area office rather than relying on my second hand information.

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Re: Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby guest » Sun Oct 02, 2022 7:17 am

Thanks Jim. That may make sense, although it might be a boring mt. bike ride, and lifts are generally only running on wkends now, it seems.
I know Big Bear, (Snow Summit?) does similar during the summer months for bikers. ss
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Re: Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby Hikin_Jim » Mon Oct 03, 2022 11:39 am

guest wrote:it might be a boring mt. bike ride
Well, depending on what type of refreshments you've had at the Notch restaurant, you might find the ride to be "interesting." :wink:

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Re: Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby guest » Sat Oct 08, 2022 11:03 am

Howdy, I had a great climb yesterday, hiking up the steep, Ski hut, Baldy bowl trail, and descending Devil's Backbone. Weather was rather pleasant until I hit areas where the northern, Santa Ana desert winds would hit at 20-40mph. Which, kept the lift from running, so my pre-purchased ticket, and feeling of having a rather easy walk back, once again, included the long, 2.5 mile dirt road. No one at the top to explain this, no signs, but was able to get a refund today, after calling.
I used hiking poles this time, (did not use them on the way up), and I have to say, they Really helped. There's some steep, loose rock areas on the Backbone, where poles gave me much more confidence, and on the more gradual areas, helped reduce the downhill shock, (for me, it's more my hips, not my knees).
If I could figure out a way to post a photo, I would, showing how steep the single-track under the lift really is. I considered it twice, as the road crosses access points to this trail, but I'm not a fan of steep, slippery, (sometimes rocky) descents, and I'm glad I cruised back on the road.

I saw about 1/2 dozen folks on the way up, and maybe double this on the way down, almost all heading up.
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Re: Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby Ed » Sat Oct 08, 2022 12:32 pm

I nearly always use trekking poles downhill, and almost never uphill. Don't quite know how I used to do without them, though admittedly I was far more sure-footed back in the day. But even then they would have been very useful for snow and stream crossings.

I think the downhill the other way is even worse these days, the route down the ridge has become so eroded and slippery in places.
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Re: Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby guest » Sun Oct 09, 2022 4:29 pm

I was working using the poles at different angles and pressures, depending on the terrain and slope.
I would Not want to go down the Ski Hut / Bowl trail, it's tough enough going up. And, though not as bad as the "choose your route / switchbacks" at upper Devils Backbone, there are 2-3 routes / trails that fork slightly, come back etc., I found staying left / west the last mile to summit the best, where the square, tan / white poles mark this section.
Going down has some scetchy areas, with so little rain, and plenty of use, areas on the Backbone are steep, rocky and loose. Interesting more isn't said, (or maybe it has), about the areas of exposure on that trail.
The footing & width are fine, but with wind, (there were some 30-40 mph gusts in the saddles on the ridge), you have to be able to focus and move across. Like San G, and some areas of San Jac, this mt has some very steep, chutes, some scree, some more smooth with trees hanging on some how. Here's the pics I took, if anyone's interested, was a clear day, if you didn't look south, ha!
https://palmspringshiking.smugmug.com/M ... 10-7-2022/ There's a couple shots of how steep the trail below the lift is.
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Re: Mt Baldy alternate ski-lift trail?

Postby Ed » Mon Oct 10, 2022 7:54 am

The Baldy area puzzles me. Unlike the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio areas, there seems to be no one in charge of the trails, resulting in the multiple slippery, eroded use paths. Admittedly, it would be difficult to manage, with so much traffic. But I don't see any evidence that Angeles National Forest is even trying. The old trail from Baldy Village, if you can take the elevation gain, is actually in the best shape, probably because it sees the least use.
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