Mount San Antonio

Septempber 1950

By: Jack Bascom


My Most Frightening Hike

My most frightening hike to the top of Baldly was in September, 1950. The register box atop the mountain was made by Kasper Casperson who had made boxes for many of the southern California peaks. In 1949, when I visited Baldy, the box was missing. I found it about a hundred yards down the west side of the mountain. It needed a permanent mounting. So, with a girthend, we went up to establish a permanent mount for the box.

The stand consisted of 1-1/2 inch pipe about 2-1/2 feet long with an adapter plate welded at one end of the pipe. It was set in a concrete base with 3/8 inch steel rods driven in at angles. Each of us carried about 50 pounds of pipe, cement, water, rods, sledge, etc.

It was a fine day when we started, but as we neared the peak, a black cloud settled over it. Just as we reached the top, lightning bolts began to strike. We waited out the thunderstorm under a bush down the south side. The lightning strikes were too close for comfort. There was no time to count seconds between the lightning and the thunder. When it was over, we watched a dozen or more fires from burning trees, especially on the side of Mt Dawson.

One good thing came from the storm. We finished our task without interference from a nosy public. The pipe stand remained for 27 years. Then, on a hike in 1977, I found it gone. I used to think of it as the highest reinforced concrete structure in Los Angeles County. And what happened to the girl who shared the harrowing experience?

She became my wife!


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