Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mount Baring, Cascades, WA

Location: Mount Baring, WA
Route: NW Ridge
Type: Scramble
Time required: Half a day

Mount Baring was plan D.  It certainly wasn't plan A.  I left Pullman, WA Fridat afternoon planning on climbing in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area just outside of picturesque Leavenworth, WA.  Unfortunately, wildfires in Wanatchee and along Icicle Road (the road to the trailhead for Mt. Stuart, Colchuck and Dragontail Peaks) prevented us from doing plan A or B.

Plan C was some scrambling in the Glacier Peak Wilderness up the Chiwawa River Road north of Lake Wanatchee.  That didn't pan out either.  Wildfires.

Plan D drive over Stevens Pass and scramble up a lesser peak like Baring.  Mount Baring took us 5 hours- 3 hours up, 2 hours down.  We hiked up the steep "trail" to the ridge in the fog.  The fog thinned and allowed views occasionally, but not for long.  Once on the ridge, we moved east towards the summit.  The trail follows the ridge and then drops down and climbs back up to the ridge, avoiding a rocky section.


The fog continued and so did we. We scrambled up the rocky scree (snow couloir in the spring) and up the south side of Mount Baring.  We reached the summit at 11 am in thick fog.  After 30 minutes of waiting for the clouds to blow through, we descended slightly disappointed.  We drove a long way to not even get a descent view.

Lesson learned:  Check for wildfires before summer and fall trips.