SIDE NOTE: Most hiking and topo maps label Big Baldy at the end of a hiking trail at 9209 feet. This is the high point on the ridge and not the granite dome with all of the climbs. The real Big Baldy is about a mile south along the ridge from the high point.
There are two ways to get to Big Baldy from the Generals Highway, which is usually closed during winter snowfall. please call (559)565-3341 (press 1, 1) for up to date road conditions.
1) A few miles north of the Montecito Lodge is the Big Baldy trailhead. The trail rises gently for a couple miles to the high point at Big Baldy Peak (8209 ft). An unmaintained trail goes roughly one more mile south to Big Baldy, the dome.
2) (preferred route, but seasonally closed road) From the Generals Highway, between the Big Baldy trailhead and the Stony Creek Lodge, take Road 14S29 west. There is a sign that reads "National Forest Organizational Camps, San Joaquin Far Horizons." Follow the main road and signs for about two and a half miles until a split. Go right up the hill (14S33) and take the most used road until you reach a radio/cell phone tower. From the tower hike up to the ridge and then follow it south about ½ mile.
To access the climbs do not walk all the way out on the summit but instead descend from the ridge along the base of the east or west face, depending on your destination. For south face routes the walk along the west face is longer but less technical while the walk along the east face is shorter but class 3. A walk off is necessary for most climbs though some have bolted anchors.
Big Baldy is a dome just inside the border of Kings Canyon National Park. If you don't mind a snowy approach you can climb Big Baldy just about year-round as most of the climbs face south or west. No matter the season, the view from the 8,169 foot summit is an amazing panorama of the great western divide and the nearby Chimney Rocks.
Big Baldy rarely has climbers so you will probably be sharing the rock with a few lizards and birds. The rock quality is excellent and the climbs are mostly cracks of all difficulties with some clean knob and slab routes thrown in. The rock is fantastic but some of the cracks have lichen or moss from lack of traffic and many of the bolts are sketchy. These will likely both improve if you and your friends start climbing there!
The history of Big Baldy, as with many places in SEKI, is patchy due to the fact that many routes were put up by people on short visits or working seasonally in and around the park. Because of this I have done my best to track down information to present it here but there are likely gaps. Please let me know of any additions or corrections that will improve the guide.