Mt Baldy Waterfall Scramble and Gold Ridge Mine 10-7-06
Since I’ve been curious about the Mt Baldy Gold Ridge Mine for many years and also been curious about hiking/scrambling directly up the Baldy creek from the San Antonio Falls to the Sierra Club cabin, I decided to check both out
San Antonio Falls
Gold Ridge Mine
Descended the north ridge of West Baldy to the Buckthorn bushes, had lunch and returned to Manker Flats by the normal Sierra Club cabin trail.
Started from Manker Flats ~7am and hiked up to the San Antonio Falls. Scrambled up the left side of the 1st falls, then ascended the slabs on the right side of the 2nd falls, and after that I forget exactly how I negotiated the next ~dozen waterfalls. I tried to stay as close to the waterfalls as possible and this involved a lot of class 4 scrambling. Since I noticed a lot of deer droppings throughout the canyon, there must be some “easier” ways around the waterfalls by scrambling up the scree slopes on either side of the falls. The last water fall (about ¼ mile south of the Sierra Club cabin) was the worst, as I had to climb up some nasty’ol decomposing San Gabriel rock on the left side of the water fall, yikes! I’m not sure if I could have down climb this section with all the loose rock...
I did bring a 30m x 8mm rope and some slings just in case, but I never used any technical gear. That said the scrambling/climbing in this canyon involves negotiating water polished rock and stinging nettles, climbing wet rock, mossy logs, sometimes decomposing rock, and even some icy spots (odd little microclimates would form ice covered rock, braches, etc. in some areas, strange stuff). Currently there is relatively low water flow in the creek, and is probably the best time to tackle this scramble. But with a high water flow (spring time) this scramble might be much more difficult. Be careful!
About ½ mile below the Sierra Club cabin, the Gold Ridge Mine operated from 1897 to 1907 in the San Antonio creek area. I’m still looking for more info, but here’s one of the better references that I’ve found;
Gold Ridge Mine
Although I didn’t see any mine shaft (and I ain’t never not going in any stinking mine shaft or cave, yuck!) , there were lots of iron “straps” (~2” x ¼”), pipes and one very large iron wheel of some sort that must weigh at least a ton. How the miners got this iron wheel to the mine ~1900 would be one hell of a story. I can’t even imagine how they got it up there (maybe with aerial cables). How ever they did it, those boys were tough! Anyone know how they got these sorts of heavy things up there
After all the fun scrambling up the creek, I finally got to the Sierra Club cabin just before 9am, whew!
Got a quick snack, changed out of the wet socks, and then headed up to Baldy. From Baldy I headed over to West Baldy and then got some strange hankering to check out the north face of West Baldy that leads down to the San Antonio Ridge and look for bighorn sheep (didn’t see any critters all day). I got down to the Buckthorn bushy area at the base of West Baldy and the start/end of the San Antonio ridgeline, had lunch and then turned around and headed back up to West Baldy, back to Baldy and then down the normal Sierra Club cabin trail to Manker Flats for another great day in the mountains with some interesting gold mining history.
Here are some photos