Mount Baring 8-4-2013
I hiked in with Automahn to barclay lake at 830 am Sunday to meet colin for an attempt at Mount Baring's summit. We hoped to find a scramble route/bootpath up to the West ridge from the lake, but had no luck. After a few unsuccessful attempts we decided to head back to trailhead. Here we followed the old road where it continues past the outhouse and then up the creekside trail on the right less than half mile in. Colin's dog Cooper was pretty tired from their trip up Mount townsend Saturday, but Automahn was fresh from two and a half weeks of rest.
The trail is at it's steepest right away. The first relief came 2000 feet up where is it trail crests the ridge. After about a mile of gentle up and downs, the steep climb continues for a few hundred more feet to a saddle with a clear view of both summits and the gully between them. Dense canopy allowed only the occasional peek at the surrounding peaks. We were running low on time due to our late start and so we agreed upon a 5 o'clock turnaround time regardless of whether we had reached the summit.
Several isolated snow fields remained in the talus-filled gully, the lowest provided a small melt pool wehere we stopped on the way down to filter a couple liters. A few bootpaths came and went on each side of the gully, but some of the huge boulders near the bottom forced both dogs to do some route-finding of their own. The sun-cupped snow made perfect steps for my giant legs. In 40 short minutes we were standing at the top of the gully in the main saddle.
Both dogs required help on several short sections of the scramble, which had plenty of available relief from the insane NW exposure. We reached the summit 20 minutes before our turnaround time. The view was spectacular, besides a slight haze to the west. I was surprised when I couldn't find a place from which Barclay Lake was visible due to the extreme vertical drop off below.
A cluster of dark thunder clouds was moving southwest from near the Monte Cristo group. We watched several lightning strikes and saw a forest fire start near Excelsior mountain. The summit register is in need of a replacement container and a new notebook which is nearly full. We hurried down after a snack hoping to avoid too much hiking by headlamp.
Cooper's paws were getting a bit raw from all the scrambling, and after descending about 1000 feet with him on his shoulders, we decided to tuck him into Colins pack. We made it back to trailhead just over 4 hours after leaving the summit as the last bit of sunlight faded away.
5 hours up, 3 hours down
~12 miles round trip
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