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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Baring Mountain, 06/12/10
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Yet
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Post Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:29 pm    Baring Mountain, 06/12/10
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Baring Mountain, 06/12/10
(Mesahchie Mark, Yet and Rufus)


Sometime last week, Mark told me that I wanted to do Baring Mountain. I’m not one to argue, so I said “OK!” Saturday was as beautiful as promised. The Barclay Lake trailhead (TH) was full of cars inhabited by families with kids, dogs, and clowns. Mark and I parked a couple of hundred yards away from the TH and started our adventure a little after 10 am. We skipped Barclay Lake in favor of Baring Mountain. Little did I know what I was in for.


Mark did a very good job forewarning me about the steepness of the trail, even going as far as saying that it was going to be the hardest hike ever for me. I tried to listen, so I was not very surprised when we gained 1800 feet in under a mile. In fact I found that first leg of the hike rather fun!



Veggie belays were in abundance and I felt like Jane as I swung from branch to branch. Woohoo! We gained the ridge in under 1.5 hours, stopping to fuel and hydrate before the next portion of the hike. The ridge run was a welcome relief as we weaved in and out of the trees. But all told, we only gained a net of 100 feet in 40 minutes. This meant there would be a bit of elevation gain on the way back. There was no time to ponder this delightful thought, however, as we were soon swept up the second steep portion of the hike. Mama mia! Instead of mud where I could at least kick steps into, this trail was carpeted with cute little pine needles serving as repellant to any kind of footwear. I mostly crawled on all fours and sometimes tried to grab Mark’s pack when he wasn’t looking so he could carry me all the way up the hill. Mercifully, we completed this level and were then spit out onto the glorious basin.


Snow!!! The gully was a wonder to behold.  Steep and daunting, I nevertheless decided I must trudge on. Onwards and upwards!


The snow was soft and easy to kick steps into. Crampons were not needed, although I donned my microspikes, which were probably not necessary.


We ascended the gully, and reached the notch, where we put on some layers as it has become a bit chilly and windy! We then encountered the crux of the trip: the steep snow pitch where we had to pay admission.


We very carefully negotiated this section especially with both the dog and the wife along (that’s me). After what seemed like hours, we were out of the woods, and into the woods where it was just a quick jaunt to the summit.


Just a little bit later, we were on dry rock and the summit in short order. Smiles could not be suppressed. Especially with the magnificent 360-degree views! Mark went crazy and took a million pics. Can you blame him? smile.gif


Could have lounged up there all day! But we still had to get back down the mountain.

It didn’t take us long to get back to the steep snow pitch, which we now had to downclimb. This was no easy feat for this group. Mark used his ice ax to anchor a hand line, and we used this to descend very slowly and carefully. Mark can go up and down this thing several times with his eyes closed but he was very aware and considerate of the fact that my skill and comfort level were not on par with his, but he loves me anyway. He assisted both me and Rufus off the steep pitch - at the same time. More than once, Rufus thought it would be good technique to step on my head, making it all the more interesting. All the while, I tried to maintain my ice ax into a solid self-belay position as I downclimbed. Sigh. Thanks Rufus. You’re a good dog and I love you, even if you tried to kill me.


Once Rufus and I were down safely at the notch, Mark went back to retrieve his ice ax, re-joining us a short time later. We plunged stepped partway down the gully until I felt comfortable enough to practice my glissading skills. Yay!


We met two campers past the basin; they planned to make the summit the next morning. They sure looked nice and comfy in their sleeping pads, and I wish I could take a nap right then but the thought of a nice warm bed at home kept me going. We still had a ways to go!


So there we were, slipping and sliding on the cute pine needles all over again. Descending this mountain was even harder! But I will skip all the depressing details. The ridge once again was a welcome relief, but as suspected, it did gain quite a bit on the way back. Fast forward to the steep muddy portion again, with the veggie belays. Once I slipped on my butt, I decided that it was no use pretending that I was trying to keep my pants clean. I butt scooted every chance I got. At one point, I could not help but blurt out, “Babe, why didn’t we bring the hiking poles?” Mark, with only a hint of fear in his voice, bravely replied, “I didn’t think about it.” He is such a good man; I decided not to hurt him - at least not until we got out safely.

I practiced a lot of self-restraint and only tried to whine once every 5 minutes. Until finally, I screamed “Is this thing ever going to end??” Five minutes later, we were back on the trail. I could not believe it! But I didn’t question it. I was so happy to see the car!

Now, thinking back on it? I can only remember what a wonderful day it was. Thanks Babe.  smile.gif
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Magellan
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Post Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:39 pm   
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Baring is a true character builder.  Everyone should do it.  Once.  Nice work team S. up.gif  up.gif
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summithound
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Post Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:40 pm   
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Woo hoo! My boot prints going up the right side out of the notch are still there!

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Pain is just weakness leaving the body.
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puzzlr
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Post Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:33 pm   
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Great report Yet. Baring has made others weak in the knees - good job seeing it through and getting down in good humor!
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peltoms
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:16 am   
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Does not sound like your hardest hike ever.  The frequent condition changes kept the drudgery at bay. up.gif

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North Cascade Glacier Climate Project: http://www.nichols.edu/departments/glacier/
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Redwic
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:29 am   
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Too funny! Gimpilator and I did Mount Baring yesterday (6/13). We were the only ones who made the summit. Right before the snowy basin, we encountered the two guys who had a small bivy camp. They never made a summit attempt, after all... Apparently, when they woke up they felt like they still had too much food to eat and alcohol to drink, so no summit attempt was made. I was impressed that the bearded guy said he had summited Mount Rainier 10 different times, from different approaches.

They also said only two people (and one dog) made the summit the previous day. They were talking about you guys! Small world!

Great job. We thought the snow conditions were PERFECT this weekend on Mount Baring... but with this wacky Spring who knows how much longer that will last?
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wildernessed
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:26 am   
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up.gif NIce shots, I'm going to have to tag some of those, on weekdays this summer - fall.

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I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent_Gandhi
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silence
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:39 am   
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awesome you guys .. way to go!

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Dayhike Mike
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:01 am   
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Woohoo! Nice work Yet! (and Mark and Rufus) wink.gif

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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dacker
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:10 am   
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Nice going! I remember that approach to the ridge all too well, but our Baring visit was in August when the gully was talus and not snow. That had it's own issues, but at least we didn't need ice axes.  wink.gif

Didn't you worry about Rufus on that exposed summit? If I took a dog up there, he would probably fall off  eek.gif

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We don't stop hiking because we grow old; we grow old because we stop hiking. --Finis Mitchell
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Redwic
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:20 am   
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Gimpilator and I were wondering two things, which someone else might be able to answer:

It was odd that the USGS marker was not on the summit. We saw no other markers on or around the summit block.

There were several small boards, and one cutoff metal rod, at the summit. I do not recall ever hearing of a fire lookout there. Does anyone else know what purpose these items were originally for?
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Mesahchie Mark
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:33 am   
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dacker wrote:
Didn't you worry about Rufus on that exposed summit? If I took a dog up there, he would probably fall off  eek.gif

We keep Rufus on leash in sketchy areas.  The only time he was off-leash for much time was the glissade down the gulley.

I don't usually repeat hikes, but Baring is certainly worthy.  The snow conditions were about as good as one could ask for.  Rocks well-covered, easy steps, and most important of all - minimal postholing!  It was a truly awesome day, in an awesome setting, with my awesome wife and awesome dog.  (I may be a bit prejudiced here wink.gif)

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Cheers,

Mesahchie Mark
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Malachai Constant
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:34 am   
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Great effort up.gif  up.gif

There was a triangulation point thingy there at one time I believe which could explain the boards.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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The Angry Hiker
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:41 am   
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Thanks for the descriptive report. I think I'll wait until the snow melts before I tackle that one. eyes.gif
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Ingunn
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Post Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:01 am   
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Awesome trip, Rufus Family! up.gif up.gif
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