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16E Mount San Antonio

Location: San Bernardino County, California

Named after Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231), a Franciscan and a Doctor of the Church. He is revered as protector Saint against infertility, and is the patron Saint of the poor, of Padua, and of Portugal. He was the most famous of the followers of St. Francis and is credited with many miracles. It is believed that this peak name was given by Antonio Marfa Lugo (1778-1860), possibly on the Saint's feast day-June 13 (1841). The Lugo's were an illustrious local Californio family. Antonio's father, Francisco, was with the Rivera y Moncada expedition (1774), and stood guard at the founding of el pueblo de los Angeles (1781). During Antonio's administration as Alcalde, the pueblo grew slowly from a twin of the small Gabrieleño Indian village of Yang na that it displaced, to a fiesty hamlet numbering 1,250 souls that was frequently at odds with either Monterey or Mexico City (1840). LA's first college, Saint Vincents (now Loyola-Marymount), began with Antonio's son, Vicente. Later, Antonio's daughter Maria would marry Stephen C. Foster, the first American Mayor (1847). The Lugo's were so prolific that many of today's Angelenos claim them as ancestors. Antonio Lugo, born at Mission, San Antonio de Padua in Monterey, and was christened there by Saint Junipero Serra (1713-84), always felt a closeness with his namesake and certainly had many examples of this name all about him. For example, a ship named San Antonio bore the first contingent of the sea division of the Sacred Expedition that colonized Alta California (1769). Lugo also named one of his holdings after the Saint: the 29,513 acre (Mexican Land Grant) Rancho San Antonio (1810), which was located southeast of and adjacent to el pueblo. The Lugo home is still standing in present day Bell-Gardens, which itself was named after Major Horace Bell (1830-1918), whose name was also given to a number of other Southland communities.

Earlier Indian names for Mount San Antonio were fortunately recorded. A Serrano Indian legend survives that tells of the arrival of their ancestors upon this peak from somewhere to the North-they followed the pure white eagle of their Land God, who perched on this summit, whereupon they settled here (ca.600). The Serrano variously knew it as Jóaka'j, Juáka', Joakaits, and Hesakkopa'. The Gabrieleño called it Juáka'j, and Hifá'do'.. The Luiseño knew it as Hifá'doyah. The Cauhilla called it as Hifá'doga. It was a place where Mountain Sheep were hunted, and this would definitely give it a sacred connotation since these animals were held in considerable reverence.

This peak is first cited as San Antonio in the Los Angeles Southern Vineyard (1858).

First known ascent was accomplished by members of the Wheeler Survey, via Lytle Creek-their leader, topographical assistant Louis Nell, calculated the elevation to be 10,191 feet which is only 127 feet off the current reading (1878). At about this time American miners renamed this summit Old Baldy because of its barren appearance above its tree line-this is first mentioned in the Los Angeles Star (1871).

There was a flurry of activity when gold was discovered just below Baldy Notch by F. L. Riche, and it was sporadically extracted by placer mining (1869-73, 1878-79), and by hydraulic methods (1882-95).

William B. Dewey made an ascent and noted plenty of bear tracks but no human trails to the top (1882). In those days this area teemed with Deer, Big Horn Sheep, Grizzly Bear and Mountain Lion. Dewey later served as a guide for a popular vacation spot of the day called "Stoddard's Resort", and then opened his own "Baldy Summit lnn"-so named because it was only 80 feet below the summit--climbers know this is not exactly the best place for a resort and as luck would have it, a gale soon blew it off the summit. Dewey eventually made 133 ascents of this peak. Charles Francis Saunders in his Southern Sierras of California (1923) observed that "if you have anything of the Californian in you, you mark [San Antonio] for the objective of an outing sometime". Perhaps because of this advice, Baldy became the most climbed mountain in Southern California by the 1920's.

A main cross-mountain Indian trail passed over adjacent "Baldy Notch" connecting the Los Angeles basin with the desert, this later became the "Old Baldy wagon trail" which was widened into an automobile road by Los Angeles County (1930).

The Sierra Club dedicated the Angeles Chapter Lodge (1930) on the slope of this peak and named it after the first woman President of the Club, Aurilia Squire Harwood (ca. 1860-1928).

Access for hikers was eased further when the Bear Flats Trail and the legendary Devil's Backbone Trail (both of which had been hacked out fifty years earlier) were reworked and made safer (1937).

The first ski ascent was made by George 0. Bauwens (1922), who seeking to improve access these slopes in winter, later helped found the Sierra Club Ski Mountaineers (1934).

The sms built the first "Baldy Ski HuT" (1935), which burned down but was immediately rebuilt (1936).

The first commercial ski-lift was built to Baldy Notch (1952).

Variant names include: Baldy, Old Baldy (San Bernardino N.F., 1943), Old Baldy Peak (Army Mapping Service, 1952), San Antonia Peak, San Antonio Peak (Rand McNally), San Antonio Mountain (USGS, 1931), and even the Supreme Summit of the Sierra Madre (Drury, 1935).

Sam Fink still holds the HPS record for the most ascents of this summit.

Name first appears on the Whitney California Geological Survey Report (1878).

Name officially accepted by USBGN (1961).

Peak was on the original 1946 HPS Peak List. Weldon Heald climbed this peak in 1928.


Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club
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Updated 25-February-2003