Register Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 34.28890°N / 117.6458°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike/Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Walk-up
Sign the Climber's Log


Manker Flat trailhead. Take the service road to San Antonio Falls to access the Sierra Club Hut trail that folks use to go to the Sierra Club Hut and climb up to Mt. Baldy.

Route Description

Author: Mike Zimmerman
Date: June 27, 2004 2:50 PM
Follow the San Antonio Ski Hut Trail route as if you are heading up to the Ski Hut. When you take the turn off to the left off of the fire road, head up the trail that goes to the Sierra Club Ski Hut. Look for a rusted register box on the right side of the trail. You will notice that the trail makes a sharp turn towards the north as you hike up from the register box, travel up the trail approximately 40 meters past the register box. There is a use trail that goes up to the right, follow this up onto the ridge.

This is the ridge that you will follow all the way up and is the SE Ridge, called Register Ridge, that goes up toward the summit of Mt. Harwood. Stay on the ridge, which is pretty steep, and keep climbing up. You will come to a distinct flat spot, about 3/8 of a mile below the Baldy Notch Trail. There is also an outcrop of rocks here that one can turn to the right or left to get around, or scrmble directly through which would be class 3. From here, this is the steepest part of the route in which you gain about 800 feet in a quarter of a mile. Eventually, the climb up the SE Ridge meets the Baldy Notch Trail, just SE of the summit of Mt. Harwood. Turn left on the trail and head west toward the summit of Mt. Baldy.

The elevation gain is the same as the San Antonio Ski Hut Trail and the distance is probably about the same. I recommend the San Antonio Ski Hut Trail, which has a sign along the way down that says Baldy Bowl Trail, for a descent route.

This is a strenuous varation to climb Baldy, it has some nice views on both sides of the ridge and if you want some solitude from the weekend crowds, this is a good option. If you do this climb after all of the snow has melted, bring plenty of water, since there are no water sources until you get down to the SA Ski Hut, where there is a small run-off stream.

Essential Gear

Ice ax and crampons may be necessary during the winter and early spring. There may be a couple of steep spots where a short, light rope could be useful, if the snow is hard or icy for a snow belay. There are plenty of live trees to use for anchors on the ridge, if necessary. Snow shoes may be necessary depending on snow conditions, but the route may be too steep to use these, but they can be useful when one gets to the Devil's Backbone Trail to the summit of Mt. Baldy. During times of no snow, good sturdy hiking boots are recommended along with plenty of water. Trekking poles are recommended, if one likes using those for when one gets to the trail at the end of the route.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-5 of 5

hikinedd - May 23, 2007 5:44 pm - Hasn't voted

Register Ridge Trail

The other name for this approach is the Harwood Trail. Though the hike matches the gain of the Ski Hut route, it's about a mile shorter. But the section from where the trail forks off the Ski Hut Trail to where it meets up with the Devil's Backbone Trail climbs 2500' in one mile! Its steepness is why, though shorter, this route is really no faster. It is, however, one of the prettiest ways up Baldy. Additional note: the beginning of this trail is much more pronounced and obvious than it used to be.

Sam Page

Sam Page - Sep 4, 2009 12:44 am - Hasn't voted

Descending: a cautionary note

I've descended Register Ridge twice, and each time I made the same mistake: I left the Devil's Backbone trail too early and wound up traversing steep, loose, and generally unpleasant (even in retrospect) terrain. The first time I never made it all the way over to the ridge and simply descended a miserable gully until I landed in a dustheap on the Ski Hut trail. The second time I traversed a surprisingly (and again, unpleasantly) long way until finally intersecting Register Ridge. I couldn't believe how far over it actually was. Since I have botched the descent twice (making the same exact mistake each time), I do not know the best place to leave the Devil's Backbone trail. Instead, I would recommend being very careful about not leaving the trail until you are actually on Register Ridge proper.


hikinedd - Jan 28, 2010 12:57 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Descending: a cautionary note

I enjoy climbing this route, but have never had the desire to descend it -- a bit too steep. Besides, there are several better ways back to Manker: the Ski Hut Trail, Devil's Backbone or just scree ski down the Bowl.


royanderson - Mar 17, 2013 8:10 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Descending: a cautionary note

I enjoy descending this route. The scenery is great, there are no crowds on the weekend, and it is certainly not boring coming down. It also helps work out some different muscles. In terms of finding the route down, the trail is now visible when there is no snow. If you are looking up the most direct little jaunt to Mount Harwood from Devil’s Backbone you will notice it has no vegetation and then, a little farther down Devil’s Backbone going away from Baldy vegetation starts. Turn a corner below the vegetation and the trail will be off to the right, there being a nice sort of sitting rock to the left of the trail at the turn off point.


spapagiannis - Sep 22, 2014 8:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Conditions

I always enjoy this route, both on ascent and decent. One of my favorites for mountaineering conditioning. It's definitely not a route for the casual hiker though. It's also shocking how dead quiet it is even on the busy weekends. I love it. Most recently decided to take on the Class 3 crag instead of bypassing it. A whole lot of fun even if only about 15-20 ft, was the highlight of the entire trip! I wish there was more Class 3 on this route, in fact. Though I've learned of some other sustain Class 3 climbs in the Baldy vicinity that I may spend my time. As of Sept 2014: The bottom 1/3 of this route is 50 degree (momentary up to 60 degrees) and in pretty rotten condition right now, lot of foot slippage even with good-traction boots and careful footwork, requires occasion hands and climbing over a few obstacles - I'd say this section is Class 2-ish right now. This section can feel demoralizing the first time on this route, but after the ridge levels off to more solid ground, the additional 2/3 of the way are strenuous and rolling Class 1 but not QUITE so precarious. Register Ridge on descent... totally different story! But fun. And challenging both mentally and physically. Poles highly suggested. It's fun, but expect to take slow careful steps or find yourself accidentally scree skiing. Junction to it from Devils' Backbone is easy to spot on descent right now if you know to look for a use trail on the right - not sure how it compares to the reports from earlier years. A tip I learned from someone outside of SP for route-finding issues, hopefully will help those who have had trouble on the route: On ascent, when in doubt about the trail, stay just barely to the left of the ridge crest - on descent, the opposite (as in, stay the right since it's all in reverse now).

Viewing: 1-5 of 5



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