Mount Baldy, ascend Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut Trail, descend Devil's Backbone, 7.5 miles RT, (4,000 +/-), December 29, 2017

A hike to Mount Baldy on a perfect day was a great way to wrap up the year 2017!  I’d been wanting to hike this mountain again ever since our first summit in November when strong winds prevented me from being able to take as many photos as I would have liked.  This time we could not have asked for more perfect weather!  We did the same route as last time; up the Ski Hut/Baldy Bowl Trail and down the Devil’s Backbone.  We took our time at the summit and savored the views from the Devil’s Backbone.  It’s a challenging hike, but definitely one of the best!  Here are some photos from our journey.
 

Sun coming up as we made our way up Falls Road.

Sun coming up as we made our way up Falls Road.

San Antonio Falls.  Not much water this time of year.

San Antonio Falls.  Not much water this time of year.

Starting the climb up the Ski Hut/Baldy Bowl Trail.

Starting the climb up the Ski Hut/Baldy Bowl Trail.

Lovely views.

Lovely views.

San Antonio Ski Hut coming into view.

San Antonio Ski Hut coming into view.

Almost there.

Almost there.

Crossing the Baldy Bowl.

Crossing the Baldy Bowl.

Looking down.

Looking down.

Pretty cool section of trail.

Pretty cool section of trail.

Hiking across the Baldy Bowl.

Hiking across the Baldy Bowl.

The trail is pretty clear but it helps to have a sign for reassurance.

The trail is pretty clear but it helps to have a sign for reassurance.

The trail is straight up rock.

The trail is straight up rock.

Sure the hike to the Ski Hut is tough, but for me, as soon as you climb up out of the bowl and start hitting the switchbacks, this is where the hike gets real!  

Sure the hike to the Ski Hut is tough, but for me, as soon as you climb up out of the bowl and start hitting the switchbacks, this is where the hike gets real!  

Looking up to where we were headed.

Looking up to where we were headed.

Looking down from the switchbacks.

Looking down from the switchbacks.

Still going up this forested section.  Slow and steady.  

Still going up this forested section.  Slow and steady.  

After you reach the saddle, the next section is pretty much straight up.  There are a lot of use trails going off in all directions, but they all lead to the summit.  There are markers on the way up to guide you.

After you reach the saddle, the next section is pretty much straight up.  There are a lot of use trails going off in all directions, but they all lead to the summit.  There are markers on the way up to guide you.

Taking a moment to enjoy the views (and catch my breath!).

Taking a moment to enjoy the views (and catch my breath!).

Still so far away!

Still so far away!

And we're still climbing.  :)

And we're still climbing.  :)

Another look around at the views.

Another look around at the views.

There was a brush fire off in the distance.

There was a brush fire off in the distance.

Last signage before the final push to the peak.

Last signage before the final push to the peak.

That's my husband way up ahead and that tiny stick to his right is the last mile marker just before you reach the top.  

That's my husband way up ahead and that tiny stick to his right is the last mile marker just before you reach the top.  

Finally!  Felt so good to see this sign again!

Finally!  Felt so good to see this sign again!

Enjoying the top of Los Angeles County's highest point.

Enjoying the top of Los Angeles County's highest point.

One of the signs marking other destinations.

One of the signs marking other destinations.

Looking over at West Baldy.

Looking over at West Baldy.

Views.

Views.

The chipmunks are pretty tame up here.  I guess they're used to people feeding them.

The chipmunks are pretty tame up here.  I guess they're used to people feeding them.

Wind shelters built by hikers.  It gets some pretty gnarly wind up here.  I've been in it and it wasn't even at its worst!

Wind shelters built by hikers.  It gets some pretty gnarly wind up here.  I've been in it and it wasn't even at its worst!

Starting the descent down the Devil's Backbone.

Starting the descent down the Devil's Backbone.

Feels like you're in another world from up here.

Feels like you're in another world from up here.

Look at those drops down into the bowl!  Spectacular!

Look at those drops down into the bowl!  Spectacular!

Turning around to look back at Baldy.  If you look closely there's a little blue dot.  That's another hiker.  Gives a good perspective of how steep the trail is.

Turning around to look back at Baldy.  If you look closely there's a little blue dot.  That's another hiker.  Gives a good perspective of how steep the trail is.

Enjoying the subalpine scenery.

Enjoying the subalpine scenery.

This is such a great trail. 

This is such a great trail. 

Still truckin' along enjoying the views.

Still truckin' along enjoying the views.

Now the backbone narrows.  A lot of hikers get nervous about this section, but you actually have plenty of room and the views are so worth it.  This section is my favorite part of the whole hike!

Now the backbone narrows.  A lot of hikers get nervous about this section, but you actually have plenty of room and the views are so worth it.  This section is my favorite part of the whole hike!

Another photo before crossing the backbone.

Another photo before crossing the backbone.

My husband savoring the moment.

My husband savoring the moment.

Checking out what's down below.

Checking out what's down below.

Just finished the Devils' Backbone about to go down the ski run to Baldy Notch.  

Just finished the Devils' Backbone about to go down the ski run to Baldy Notch.