Take Stevens Pass Hwy (Hwy 2) to NF-6024. Follow to the end (Lake Barclay Trailhead) to park. To access trail to Baring Mountain, hop over a dirt mound immediately to the right of the registration board and trail to Lake Barclay. Within 50 feet there will be a large boulder to your right. Continue on for 3-4 minutes up this road and look for the trail on your right.
The road is mostly gravel and can be washboarded at certain points. Any car/truck should be fine, just be prepared for some rattling from the road texture! Trailhead parking lot fills up quickly due to popularity of the Lake Barclay Trail.
My climbing partner being out of town for a few weeks, I figured I'd check out something I could do alone in a short period of time. Having seen some pretty spectacular pictures and views from Baring Mountain, I headed off for a quick climb.
Arrived at the trailhead at about 7am. Due to the majority of the climb being in a densely wooded area and that I would be alone on this one, I opted for sunrise as opposed to starting early. The parking lot filled up quickly, with 5 or 6 cars pulling in almost immediately after I did.
I found the trail with relative ease around 7:30 and made great time to the ridge, taking just a little under an hour. Although there are several markings on trees and rocks, both red spray paint and orange ties, most seem to have faded or fallen off their intended location. A trail is fairly obvious for the majority of the ascent to the ridge, but there were several trails scattered about. Use your best judgment and follow the most traveled and it should be a non-issue.
Headed up the woods.
The path on the ridge is foolproof, and I was able to move very quickly as most of it is very easy terrain with a few fallen trees here and there. The trail will dip down the the right then back up a steeper section to access the basin. By this point I was about an hour and 45 minutes in.
I walked/scrambled over the large rocks in the basin and headed up the chute to reach the saddle. No real issues here, but the fog had started picking up significantly by the time I approached the chute. I knew it would be a gamble on the weather being overcast, but I definitely didn't foresee it being as dense as it was (new to WA!). By the time I reached the saddle I had maybe 100 feet.
From the saddle, there is a trail heading up towards the summit that is interrupted by several fields of rock, but always picking up on the other side. This wasn't as obvious going up as it was descending, so I just aimed up and made a straight shot towards the peak over the rock.
Rock field past the saddle, headed to the summit.
I reached the summit at just under 3 hours, having only stopped long enough to cram down a clifbar on the ridge. I had worn my Spantik's to continue breaking them in as I got some nasty blisters coming down Baker a few weeks ago. They were tremendously overkill and heavy but the grip was a definite advantage on the descent.
South Summit fogged up.
Visibility left any kind of view on the summit non-existant. After waiting about 30 minutes and realizing the sun wasn't coming out anytime soon, I cut my losses and headed down (on a sidenote I did have 3G for most of the basin and better cell signal on the summit than I get at my house).
With the heavy fog, the descent got pretty slippery. Going down the chute this time of year your options are wet grass and wet rock. Took it nice and easy and the Spantik's came up big without me having to take a tumble down the rock. The steep section from the basin to the ridge was also very slick, so heads up if you're getting any moisture.
Made it back to the truck by about 1pm. Parking lot and road was slammed and people didn't put a whole lot of thought into the fact there were some decent size vehicles that might have to squeeze by them to get out.
Overall, an enjoyable half day trip. Although some sections can be a little steep, anyone with good endurance should be able to crush it and check out the views on top without breaking. There are a few occasions I had to climb/scramble my way up a bit, but that may have been more in my choice to shoot a straight line than spend time looking for an easier method. Definitely a non-technical climb going up this route, but at the same time it wouldn't be something I'd recommend to someone without good leg endurance as it does gain a decent amount of elevation in a fairly short distance and can be a quad/calf burner at parts.