Old SC Seat!

San Antonio Ski Hut's 70th Anniversary Celebration

December 2007

Mark Goebel

(Reprint from the Southern Sierran)

Seventy years is a long time for a little hut to survive in the harsh, alpine climate on Mt. San Antonio (Baldy) at 8200'. With every board and nail carried up on someone's back, Baldy Hut, built by the Ski Mountaineers in 1936 and rebuilt in 1937 after it burned, has survived violent winds, floods, avalanches, forest fire, and vandalism. Still a popular destination year round, the Hut exists today because over the years there has been a dedicated cadre of individuals seeing to its repair and maintenance.

On August 12th, sixty-one friends-of-the-Hut, young and old, gathered on a warm afternoon at Harwood Lodge to celebrate the Hut's 70th anniversary. Current Hut Chair, Gil Estrada, and Work Party Coordinator, Bahram Manahedgi, provided initial remarks and introductions, followed by historical stories about the Hut told by Glen Dawson, Bud Halley, and John Wedberg.

Glen, now 93, a founding member of the Ski Mountaineers, told how his father, then president of the Sierra Club, invited the skiers to join the Sierra Club as its third Section, thus enabling them to obtain a Forest Service building permit for the Hut. Bud, now in his eighties, described the challenge of carrying 12-foot boards and heavy bags of nails up to the building site. John, who has hiked to the Hut over 700 times, spoke of his involvement with the Hut beginning in the early 1950s, and how he has seen the number of hikers on the Hut trail increase dramatically over the years. John with his ensemble "For the Love of Swing" also entertained the gathering with their music.

Other attendees included: Jim Powers, former Hut manager for many years, now residing in Arizona; and Walt Davie, who installed the Hut's solar powered lighting system, and videoed the anniversary celebration.

Following dinner, Reiner Stenzel projected a collection of historical photographs of the Hut, and Wolfgang Lert's delightful 1936 film, "The Original Mugelhupf Movie", showing Wolfgang and other Ski Mountaineer members hiking to the Hut and skiing on Mt Baldy.

The Hut's 70th anniversary also marks the beginning of fund raising to replace the Hut's ageing roof. Many individual donations have been received, including outdoor gear donated by Adventure-16 that was auctioned at the Hut celebration. Additional funds are still needed. Any Angeles Chapter Groups or Sections making a donation will receive a gift certificate for a free scheduled weekend stay at the Hut for their members. Please send donations payable & addressed to: Sierra Club - San Antonio Account, P.O. Box 641145, Los Angeles, CA 90064. For questions or additional information , contact Bahram Manahedgi bahram3@earthlink.net.

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