Began at Barclay Lake trailhead, took standard South Gully route up Merchant. Reached the summit early in the morning and with extra energy devised a scheme to make a traverse over to Mt. Townsend with the intent of climbing it then descending into the Eagle Creek basin and then over and down to Barclay Lake and do a big loop.
I came to the pass near the E Peak and descended down the gully Beckey mentions as a possible route from Eagle Lake. This gully drops steeply into the S Fork Trout Creek basin. This was very difficult as everything was loose and it became a little dangerous in some spots. I ended up having to follow the gully all the way down to the very bottom to a large rock field because there was no way to escape out of it. I then boulder-hopped to the Merchant-Townsend pass and started heading up the ridge which quickly turned into a nasty brush tangle.
Eventually I broke out onto some high rock slabs and then the ridge line. It was a very nice ridge walk with great views all around. I scrambled up to the top of Townsend and was the first one to sign the register since May which was surprising. I backtracked to halfway on the ridge, then began descending towards Eagle Lake down the large granite slabs. This was a little time consuming but overall not too difficult. There was quite a bushwack for the last few hundred feet to the lake and I got lucky and found somewhat of a path.
At the cabin I ran into some hikers and got directions to the trail which goes a little ways through Paradise Meadows then heads uphill to Stone Lake, then descends a gully all the way down directly to Barclay Lake. I arrived back at the car exhausted having traveled I figure around 10 miles with lots of ups and downs. All this took almost 11 hours.
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