Are you looking for a little known bushwhacking delight on I-90 with open and rewarding views of Mount Rainier and many other summit in the I-90 area. Well Bearscout Peak (listed as Mount Baldy on some maps) is your clear answer. This little known and seldom climbed peak is home to some of the pretty open heather field in the I-90 region. Located between Bear Lake in the south and Scout Lake in the east one would assume that the two lakes help Bearscout get its name. Though the very true summit is partially wooded just to east side of the summit lies steep yet beautiful heather fields that contain great views of the surrounding area. It should be noted that half of the peak is own by the Cedar River Watershed and that trespassing into the watershed may result in possible arrest and fines. It should be noted that Bear Lake is in the watershed and should not be visited for any reason. So when you are on Bearscout Peak keep note of the “No Trespassing Signs” while going up either the eastern or western ridge.
As mentioned Bearscout Peak is a bushwhacking peak. Therefore strong navigation skills as well at bushwhacking skills are required for this mountain. There is no truly established route to the summit of Bearscout Mountain because of the thick vegetation and the few faint boot-path once on the peak quickly die off. Prepare for log walking, devils club, scree and other goodies along the way. By easiest route this peak is Class 2. If you attempt to climb this peak by anyway other than the ridges this peak goes up dramatically in difficulty and you might be holding on for dear life on vege belays. From my experience hit the peak from the western ridge is much easier than hit the peak from the eastern side. The western side is though is still steep and the beautiful heather fields as you get close to the summit can be quiet steep on the western side. One the eastern side by Scout Lake part of the way up on the ridge can contain steep dirt and very heavy vegetation. If going up the eastern side it highly recommend that you access the lowest part of the ridge located to the south of Scout Lake. Try to stay on the scree as much as possible. Any shortcuts here can result in entering quiet brutal terrain including tons of devils club, lose boulder poor footing dirt and slopes up to 60 degrees.
One would not get that interpretation from the start when going the out of commission dirt road that leads a quick one mile toward Bearscout Mountain. From there a sometimes hard to follow boot-path that leads Scout Lake. The boot-path often can be very hard to follow so it is highly recommended that to go on this path slowly. More than once I got off trail using this path. To access the ridge to the west you will have to split from the path in the halfway point between Scout Lake and where the path starts. Prepare lots of falling logs and some devils club along the way. The reward here is though the route up here is easier that from the east.
Get off of Exit 47, the same exit that the more popular trailhead such as Granite Peak are located. Make a right when heading of the ramp. Head down the road roughly 300 yards. Once you run into the T-intersection make a right and head west the road is a dirt road but as of 2011 the road is in very good condition. Stay on the road for roughly a mile. From there make a left onto another well established dirt road. From there take that road roughly 2 miles. You will pass the parking section for Humpback and then another dirt road along the way. The road will head south and be on the eastern side of Hansen Creek for most of the way. Once it crosses Hanson Creek start looking for a well wore dirt road on the left hand side from 100 yards from the creek. The road is only accessible by the strongest of 4X4's and should not be attempted to be driven on.
No Red Tape here. Be prepared though to be sharing the parking with those who practice fire arms in region here. That being said the people I ran into tend to be quiet respectful of hikers.
Camping is legal provided there is no tresspassing of the watershed. It should be noted that there really are not any good places once past the dirt road. There was one descent camping spot at the end of the road.
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