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Trail conditions for Mt. Baldy

Hi folks,

My hiking partner and I will be in the area this Thursday (2/04/16) and would like to hike up Mt. Baldy to the summit. We are experienced hikers looking for the following info:

1. Trail conditions. We understand that Sunday's storm brought 6-8" of snow. What elevation does the snow cover start?
2. Recommended trails. We're looking for a 6-9 hour loop.
3. Recommended traction--crampons, microspikes, snowshoes, ice axe?
4. Parking tips
5. Ski lift options

Thanks in advance.

There is a lot of weather going on up there right now so Thursday is hard to predict. Yesterday had heavy rain down low and snow up high, ice in between and wind everywhere and then the temperature dropped.

The parking area at Manker flats is where most people start and that will most likely have very little snow by Thursday, but you can expect snow on most of the trail. There should be a boot track to follow on Ski Hut Trail.

For a 6 to 9 hour loop people often go up Ski Hut Trail and then circle around to Devils Backbone for the descent. Devils Backbone may be dicey in the snow and ice if there are not a lot of footprints coming up I would be cautious. Riding up and down the ski lift to the Devil’s Backbone trail start is an option, but to get to the summit from the chair lift can be a challenge after a storm if no one has gone before. If the trail is broken then it is relatively easy.

I would bring microspikes, crampons and an ice axe, and a warm jacket, usually the ice axe and crampons are not needed but if the snow melts and freezes the mountain can turn into an ice skating rink.

Not matter what conditions are on the trail there will be icy sections perhaps covered by the new snow, the section in the pine trees just after crossing the bowl from the ski hut is icy. Around the summit area the new snow will have blown away leaving behind hard, crampon friendly snow.

Be careful, there won't be many people on Baldy trails on Thursday.

Thursday's forecast is for clear skies. Sub-freezing temps all day with mild wind. Ski lift opens around 8 am and closes at 5 pm.

They are reporting 10" at 7800 feet elevation. You should therefore expect a couple feet near the summit with hard ice on the top.

Both the Ski Hut Trail and the Backbone Trail have very icy sections. Backbone can be flat-out dangerous with really bad exposure in a couple sections.

Don't underestimate the conditions. Last week they had to rescue someone who fell off a trail near Baldy and slid down a thousand feet.

Sean wrote:
Last week they had to rescue someone who fell off a trail near Baldy and slid down a thousand feet.

And yesterday someone fell to their death near the Backbone.


Thanks for ramping up the warning; I agree with you completely, sometimes I am a little understated.

Here is a statement from today’s Baldy Ski area:

” Be advised snow conditions are extremely firm off the groomed runs and as a result much of the mountain will be closed with the exception of groomed runs.”

When they say “extremely firm” I think it is a nice way of saying  “really hard ice”.

Summitbaggers,  don’t go up there unless you know what you are doing. Forum Index -> San Gabriels
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