Mount Baldy


By: Mary McMannes



The weather was blustery on Friday, and it was cold and bone-chilling on Saturday, but on Sunday (the day chosen for Mac's memorial climb), skies were blue, and we hiked in tee-shirts. Somehow I felt Mac must have had something to do with this. Approximately sixty or more climbers and notable leaders gathered at Manker Flats as Doug Mantle greeted one and all. The hikers took off for Mt. Baldy (Mt. San Antonio) via the Ski Hut trail while others chose various routes to the top. Bob Hicks, Byron Prinzmetal, Betty McRuer (Mac's wife) walked up the road to the Notch. Frank Dobos and Rich Gnagy led riders up the ski lift to the Devil's Backbone to gain the summit. There were even the die-hards who led a hike from the Village (Laura Joseph, Pat Arredondo, Ron Hudson, Kathy Rich). Once convening on top, photos were taken and everyone simply enjoyed one another as Mac would have wanted us to do. Great thanks to the sweeps who showed great patience in bringing up the rear - Tina and Tom Bowman (ski but stretch), Mike Manchester, Ed Lubin, and Gene Mauk. Many opted to take the ski lift down to Harwood Lodge (and thanks to Nick and company for discounting the tickets), where we continued our commemoration of Duane by eating and drinking, while stories were spun bringing us both laughter and a few tears. Doug, always the brilliant emcee, was there to jog our memories for more stories or simply to give a cheery hug when emotions took our words away. Many thanks to Lara McRuer, Betty McRuer, Steve and Rosemary Harsey, and Armando for orchestrating the potluck and serving the food. Overseer Richard Booth and his fiancée, Jeannie, made us forever indebted for their kindness in staying three extra hours beyond their usual duties. Mac's favorite "in-town peak" was Baldy, and he was proud to show off Harwood Lodge to newcomers climbing the peak for the first time.

Long-time leader, Joe Young, so aptly described Duane's life-time contribution to the Sierra Club, "The entire framework of outings leadership practiced by the Sierra Club would not be what it is today without Duane McRuer. He personally developed and articulated most of the concepts we take for granted today in the areas of leadership and safety. This is a legacy of which Duane and all of us can be proud."

Thanks to all who climbed the summit, and later shared anecdotes, food, and personal comments about this unforgettable and wonderful friend, Duane McRuer. I am sure his spirit was there with us smiling that great Mac smile when he was amused and pleased.

DPS Archives Index | Desert Peaks Section