Third time, not a charm!
I've yet to have any views from this summit, but such are the disappointments of the PNW peakbagger.
It is not possible to drive all the way to the Barclay lk trailhead yet. Many downed trees have been cut, and a few others can be driven around. The last one can be driven under and soon after the snow starts. We parked before reaching the snow - opting to walk the 1/4 or 1/2 mile to the trailhead rather than screwing around with the snow, which would be quite soft in the afternoon. Snow on the road varies from bare on the sides to 6-8 inches deep in places. If you opt to try your luck and drive rather than walk, be aware there are downed trees across the road partly camoflaged by snow cover.
Snow on the route begins about halfway to the ridge and does not ease in route finding. We actually overshot the gully that gains the ridge, but were able to gain it a little further west. This error was easily corrected on the descent. I had forgotten how steep this route to the ridge is, and it is even worse on the descent which is compounded by slipyslidy snow, wet roots, etc.
The ridge is about 50% snow free right now. Dropping down to the south side of the west ridge is almost completely snow covered. The traverse to the notch is steep, and I wouldn't be too excited about doing it if the snow was rock hard. As it was, I wore crampons (not necessary - esp. in the afternoon when the snow had softened up) while Guiran and Dallas got by carefully with ice axes only.
I ended up just wearing crampons all the way to the summit, although they were not necessary - I was just too lazy to take them off. Guiran and Dallas donned snowshoes at the notch, which they removed at the col, and booted to the summit. The "wall of snow" above the col didn't seem at steep as I've seen it in the past, but soft snow conditions made it a non issue anyway.
We spent very little time on the summit, as it was windy and snowing and views were non-existent
The glissade from the col to the basin was nice, but postholing from the basin to the notch was not nice although it was entertaining to watch grown men crawling on hands and knees to avoid postholing. Did I mention that we HAD snowshoes with us? That laziness thing again. I asked permission to film this escapade, but permission was denied- Boo!
Sorry, I tried. It was VERY funny though!
The descent was steep and horrible and muddy (very) and hard on the ol' knees. I don't think I'll be back anytime soon.
There were two other cars parked with ours upon our return. One belonged to a fellow who was walking his dogs up the road, and the other belonged to a couple having lunch. They had attempted to reach Barclay lake, but didn't quite make it. I'm not sure if they said a bridge was out, or if they lost the trail under snow after a bridge. Anyway, I hope this information is useful to someone.
about 6mi. r/t
3,900 ft. gain
8am to 4(or was it 5?)pm
I'm impressed that you all made it up Baring at all, given the poor weather. The photo of Baring south peak expresses well the murky shadowy look of peaks looming out of the clouds.
So, between your using crampons on some parts where you didn't need them, and the guys not using snowshoes when they did need them, does that average out to everybody using foot gear the right amount of the time? Or the opposite?
-------------- “As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
I belive that these things (action vs inaction) tend to strive towards some sort of balance, so I would suggest that, in the end, a delicate balance was somehow achieved at the expense of overall efficiency!
There is, sadly for all those who might wish to see it, no video of me staggering uphill on hands and knees, cursing the snow and the weight of the snowshoes on my back.
From what I understand from Dicey, the weather we had was pretty typical for Mt. Baring. I had thought it was mostly the volcanoes that attracted their own weather systems, but Baring spent the entire day in the clouds while Merchant and Gunn enjoyed open skies.
I'd like to go back soon and climb Merchant while there's still some snow cover. Maybe someone should organize a trip?
Did this last June for the first, and quite possibly last, time. That steep, muddy approach up the "trail" is one of the less desirable approaches in the area. The last bit from the col is kinda fun, though. No views for us either.
But Gunn Peak is one of the BEST trips in the area in summer when the snow is all gone--great variety, views, and terrain.
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