After spending the night in Ontario and seeing my daughter who attends the University of Redlands, I made my way up toward the start of the Climb For Heroes. It was just before 7 am and cars were already parked along the sides of the road as I passed Icehouse Canyon. Yikes! I continued on past Manker Flats and into the parking lot for the ski area. This time I was doing this hike as a member of Team SoCal Hiker, and in fact as one of the group leaders for them. I helped out at the registration table, checking in others and chatting with other Team SoCal’ers. In fact, I finally met Phil Yolo in real life. Finally, the start time was drawing near, so I grabbed my gear from the car. After a few team photos, it was time to start the climb!
I let some of the initial rush head up the trail before heading out myself. The first bit of this climb is a steep section, so I reminded myself not to let the excitement of the event push me to hike faster than I should. Along the route, there are various “camps” we check in at to have our bibs marked and receive our swag tokens.
At the Notch, I took a quick bio-break at the restaurant before continuing up the service road. At the Devil’s Backbone, a small crowd was milling around, so I skipped the photo op with the sign and continued across the ridge. Safety personnel controlled the exposed section to reduce the risk, as well as they fix ropes for those who need a little extra confidence.
I continued pushing onto the summit, enjoying it more this time, but missing my usual hiking buddies. Once I reached High Camp, I took a nice break before the final push to the summit. As I made my way up, we were treated to a flyover from the Condor Squadron.
I continued making my way up, pausing to let my heart rate settle back down. It was here I finally met the “Super Hiking Twins”, Arabella and Matthew. I chatted with their equally impressive parents and the twins some before parting ways.
Finally, the summit came into view! I took my photos at the “Summit Camp” and at the Mt. Baldy plaque. Then I found a nice spot for some lunch and rest. The views were awesome. But soon it was time to head back down.
The descent went smoothly. After grabbing a beer at Camp 3, I continued on down to the Notch. This time I decided to use the chair lift back to the parking lot. With that, my Climb For Heroes was done! Team SoCal hiker raised over $7000 toward The Heroes Project.
THE HEROES PROJECT makes the impossible a reality by empowering our injured community through physical and emotional training, allowing them to explore the farthest reaches of themselves and the world they live in. These expeditions challenge the severely wounded to redefine their personal limits post-injury. The Heroes Project inspires our injured men and women to find purpose, both physically and mentally and ignites others to do the same.