All pictures by Tony Tellez
Trailhead: Manker Campground, Mt Baldy, CA, 91759, USA
Length: 9 miles, depending on your route
Elevation Gain: 4500 ft.
Difficulty: Very strenuous
Total time: 6-7 hours
Dogs: Not a good idea
Parking: Parking is $5 at the ski lifts. If you out to park at Manker Flats, you’ll need an Adventure Pass which you can find at any sporting goods store or ranger station.
Spend any amount of time with @lazyasshiking and one of the first questions you’ll be asked is “So, have you done Register Ridge yet? When are you doing Register Ridge?”
Register Ridge is a death march up Mt. Baldy where you climb 2750 feet in less than two miles. It is grueling, and it sucks and I don’t know why these people like it so much. Tony, the organizer, posts it every six weeks or so on Lazy Ass Hiking.
After a year of peer pressure and canceling three times, I finally climbed it, and now I never have to do it again, ever.
In order to do Register Ridge you need to be in outstanding physical shape. Or at least the physical shape I’m in, which is that I hike three to four times a week. And like, legitimate hikes, guys. Not strolls up Mt. Rubidoux (sorry, Roobs, you’re just not that difficult). I’m talking like, real womanly hikes that make you pump your fist in the air kind and shout “Suck it, mountain.”
And at least one hike a week up peaks at elevation. I spent the last 5 weeks doing peak climbing before I felt good at attempting this. Actually, “good” is too strong of a word. I just felt like I was less likely to die.
So what I’m saying is, if you’re not doing those kind of hikes, don’t do Register Ridge, mkay?
The hike goes like this:
You start up the fire road by the port-o-potties, say hey to the cute little waterfall, and then connect to the Ski Hut Trail which is further up, on the left hand side. You’ll recognize it by the fact that the sign for the trail is broken in half. Way to go, jerk that broke it.Go up Ski Hut, and not far up, you will see a metal register box on your right. About 25 yards up from that, you’ll see a water run off on the right. Except that’s not a water run off, that’s the Register Ridge Trail. And that’s where the pain begins.
You will spend the next 2 to 2.5 hours Spider Man-ing your way up this trail. It is like scaling a building and it never levels off. I must say, that while it is extremely steep, I never felt worried I would roll off a cliff, just that I might collapse and die.
When you are about .25 miles from the top of the trail, you will begin to see the best sight EVER: heads bobbing along the Devil’s Backbone and you know you have arrived.
From here, you can either connect to the backbone to make your way up to Baldy, OR head up Harwood trail off to the right for extra credit, which I agreed to for some dumb reason.
After sumitting Harwood, we made our own trail back down to the backbone and summitted Baldy which was just the icing on this terrible cake. The some of the group then went to West Baldy- I opted to roll my eyes at them and plop down at the wind shelter.
While technically you can go back the way you came, that would be dumb. I suggest heading your way back down the Devil’s Backbone and stopping off at the Notch. You can then either take the ski lift down from the lodge or walk the 3 miles back down to Manker Flats, like I did, again, due to peer pressure.
Some other notes:
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but this is an extremely strenuous hike. Don’t do it when it’s hot. The group has done it in the snow, as well, but if you do, be careful on the backbone on the way back
Because this is less trafficked than other trails, I am told that this is the best trail if you want to see big horn sheep, which I still haven’t seen, so thanks for nothing, Register Ridge.
I’d suggest parking in the lot at the ski lifts and walking down to the trailhead because you’ll be tired by the end. I didn’t do that and made my friend drive me two tenths of a mile to my car because I was over it #lazyasshiker.