Yesterday MM & I tackled another peak on our list - Mt. Baring. The steepness of the trail is legendary, so I just had to find out for myself how bad it was, plus it sounded like the views from the top were pretty good.
We set out early from Issy & made our way up to hwy. 2 & then over to the "town" of Baring, where we turned onto FR 6024. We took it to its end @ the TH for Barclay Lk., where 2 other cars were parked. The trail to Barclay Lk. is flat & easy. The trail to Baring is not.
From the parking area, 2 trails take off in an easterly direction - the higher one on the right is for Baring. We took the higher trail past a box toilet, over some blowdowns, & then turned right uphill at a small steep rock gully. Our flat trail was now over. There is a trail paralleling the creek on the right, & it crosses to the left side in short order.
Not far up the trail, MM slipped on some small roots & then impaled his shin on a nasty spikey root thing. Some cursing & groaning ensued & I realized it must've been pretty bad so I came back down the trail to him. He had a nasty gouge in his left shin that looked deep enough to warrant stitches. We sat down & applied some 1st aid & discussed whether we should continue w/the hike or go to a doctor. After a few minutes the bleeding was under control & MM said it didn't hurt nearly as bad, & told me he was fine w/continuing up. He kept an eye on it & changed the bandage a few times as necessary.
The trail continues up relentlessly, aided by ribbons tied to the trees. We stopped about halfway up for a quick snack, meanwhile a solo hiker made his way up. We chatted for a bit - he was coming back to finish off the summit after he had taken people from Wisconsin up the trail last Saturday in the rain & the summit was too socked in to make it worth completing. Baring didn't seem like the best trail to take people on from the flatlands of Wisconsin, but hey who am I to judge. The solo hiker continued on up while we finished our snack; we would not see him again until the rock gully.
After gaining ~ 1,700' in 0.4 mi., we finally reached the ridge. The look on MM's face said it all:
Once on the ridge, the trail makes a 90 degree turn to the east, following the spine of the ridge for ~ 1 mi. There are small ups & downs & the trail is very pleasant, making for a nice break before the next steep section. We saw some mushrooms along the way.
Eventually the trail drops a bit to the south side of the ridge to avoid some cliffs, then starts climbing very steeply again through the forest to reach the rock gully. There are a couple of confusing places where there are multiple trails but overall the flagging is still good. When in doubt, just go UP. This section of up is, thankfully, shorter & slightly better than that 1st section. Before too long we reached the gully.
We picked our way over the rocks to the start of the incline; the 2nd 1/2 of the gully is steeper than the 1st but never too bad. About halfway up we ran into the solo hiker coming back down from the summit & chatted a bit w/him again.
In a little while we reached the top of the gully, where there is a worse gully going down on the other side.
From the saddle, the route turns north up over some rocks, through some small trees & heather, & again over rocks. There is some exposure, but never too bad or for very long. The route goes underneath the summit on the west side & then swings back to it at the very end. The last part is a bit airy, especially to the north & east. We looked around for a summit register but couldn't find one; the solo hiker said he couldn't find it either.
The views were great in all directions, though a bit hazy on this day. The peaks we could see are too long to list, & when we stood @ the edge of the lower north end of the summit, we could peer directly down to Barclay Lk. ~ 3,700' below. I got my boot shot from the summit, MM got his from the north end over the lake. I got close enough to see the lk. but wasn't going to sit on the rock @ the very edge of the cliff!
We didn't stay long @ the summit, as there were only a few hrs. of daylight left & we were not sure how much faster we'd be for the descent. We snapped our pics, had a quick snack, & made our way down. Not long after leaving the summit, I smacked my knee pretty hard into a rock hidden by some heather. Thankfully it wasn't nearly as bad as MM's injury.
The last part of the lower steep section was by headlamp - not a fun trail in the dark but nevertheless we made it down w/o incident. Then on to La Hacienda in Gold Bar for a well-earned margarita.
-------------- Home is where the hiking is.
"Peaks that have come and gone four times should halt a man in his steps." -- William O. Douglas
Joined: 01 Aug 2004 Posts: 3318 | TRs | Pics Location: Bellevue, WA
Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:05 pm
You know, this is one of many peaks that has only a reference marker left on the summit and no benchmark. Vesper Peak was another. I like how you both take great photos but with completely different perspectives. It's nice to see your trip report from two sets of eyes rather than just one!
-------------- Footprints on the sands of time will never be made sitting down.
Joined: 15 Jul 2008 Posts: 365 | TRs | Pics Location: San Diego
Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:03 pm
My GPS had poor reception and was wandering a lot in that area, so I don't have an accurate GPS route. The one below is redrawn. The distance stated is straight line distance. Sorry for the confusion. The trail twists and turns, but mostly it heads straight up, so maybe it's not that much longer. Does anyone know how long that part of the trail is? Here is a topo and a close up of the section in question.
-------------- Slow down, take notice, savor the moment, appreciate the world around you and everything that you have.
Joined: 13 Jul 2007 Posts: 1237 | TRs | Pics Location: at the bottom of the map
Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:49 am
Bloated Chipmunk wrote:
After gaining ~ 1,700' in 0.4 mi., we finally reached the ridge.
Uh... That would be over an 80% grade, which would make it steep 5th class dirt.
OK, I'm confused. I thought "grade" was measured relative to 100 percent which is gaining one mile vertically for every one mile in the horizontal direction. So 100 percent grade is a 45 degree slope. 80 percent grade would be what, 36 or 38 degrees or so? Definitely steep (most folks see a 45 degree slope and it looks near vertical to them), but I don't believe a slope of 38 degrees would actually be 5th class, just a steep ass slope.
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