Forum Index > Trip Reports > 2022/07/31 - Baring, Due North!
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ngie
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ngie
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PostSun Jul 31, 2022 10:49 pm 
My original plan to climb Little Tahoma fell through due to both members feeling a bit low energy for a high heat technical glacier/rock climb, so I checked in with some folks about heading up to Baring today! Given that South Baring is also on a list (yeah... peak bagger sillarity) and after reading some reports, I hoped to summit both today and rappel down South Baring to the common trail and walk out.

I frantically scrambled for documents the night before describing South Baring. I found some scattered around NWHikers and other forums, but the information was a bit sparse. The real data of value I found was that parties seemed to agree that rappelling twice down 50m+ rope was the way to go. I don't have a 50m rope, so I brought my 60m x 8mm rope up along with my rap gear.

Today was a later start than I was hoping since the weather was so ridiculously melty at my home. 80įF+ nights suck--thank goodness a low pressure system is coming in to cool us down. I thought I was going to be late, but it turns out I was close enough to being on-time that the rest of the group met up at Barclay Lake and departed around 07:30.

I'd never been up this trail before, so I chuckled a bit to myself that it started right behind the trailhead privy and wasn't properly signed. Oh, silly climbers! It followed an old roadbed for a while, then pushed up right through the woods, crossing a trickle of a stream, then pushing up a dusty steep climber's trail.

I realize others have likely emphasized this in the past, but I didn't realize how steep and how much of a beast this trail was: it was like Snoqualmie Mountain or Eldorado (Roush Basin approach) on steroids: very little flat areas, lots of class 2 rock/root scrambling, with a veggie belay finish to round out the whole thing. Definitely a calf burner on the way up and a quad burner on the way down.

There were some folks heading up with BASE jumping gear in large packs. They laughed at me for carrying the obvious extra weight (rope), but I was hopeful it'd come in handy. It was the last time we saw the jumpers all day.

We made really good time, taking some short breaks every so many switchbacks. It was quite the walk/scrabble. There were some loose roots and loose boulders that gave way when we stepped on them in spots, so we needed to be careful and test before committing to veggie belays or steps.

We finally got up to the lower ridge, took a longer break, and chatted about hiking/climbing stuff. After our break we continued the traverse along the lower ridge toward the col/gully that was the west base of North and South Baring. This section was a bit dicey because of the dry pine needles and narrow trail bed (it was a few inches in areas). Thankfully the duff was chewed up enough that it was easier to scramble up than Lux though smile.gif.

Our group got up to the boulder field which was the gateway to the basin/peak saddles. The scale of the boulder field and the distance to the saddle was humbling, as many peaks I've encountered have been, but we took the traverse through the boulder field one step at a time.

The first section had huge boulders (semi-truck cab sized), but there was a bootpath in areas that we could follow, along with smaller boulders we could hop along. At the back of the basin there was some snow present. It seemed a bit iffy at first, but after testing it out a bit, it looked really solid (yay Cascade Concrete!). We went up the patchy snow fields, then started walking up towards the saddle.

There were a bit of loose boulders in this section, but they were generally easy to pick out (not moss covered; smaller/standalone, etc) and there were switchbacks on both the left and right sides of the gully that we could leverage up to the saddle. The final little push (100' or so?) was nice big solid heather/alpine steps.

Getting up to the saddle, we got a first view of Daniel, Lynch, and Hinman. It was really neat seeing a different perspective of the Baring/Skykomish and Skykomish watershed. Doing a 180į, we were pointed more towards Index, Gold Bar, etc and the other portion of the Skykomish watershed, but the view was obscured a bit by haze and smoke from the Kamloops, BC wildfire which had migrated south of the border.

The next section required a little initial engaged class 3 scrambling, but the holds were solid and the heather steps after it were nice. Once we got to the upper portion of the ridge, we went looker's left (west-side) up the ridge. One group went up a less aggressive upward route, whereas I went with another person up a slightly more aggressive route with more large heather steps. Our groups converged at the base of the upper boulder field and proceeded up to the lower face. One group elected to take the northwest ridge class 2 walk around, whereas another 3 of us decided to do a slightly more exposed and technical scramble route up the south face. It felt like class 3 with some mild exposure, but the steps/holds were solid so we scrambled up with confidence to the summit proper. The views of the entire skyline was absolutely fantastic: Koma Kulshan, the Monte Cristo group, Dakobed, Stuart range, Daniel, Hinman, South fork/Middlefork Snoqualmie (Garfield was on fleek!!), and Index/Persis stood tall and proud. It was a great view.

Getting a good view of South Baring, I realized that today wasn't a terribly great day to do a south peak summit attempt: there were a lot of exposed boulders and there was very little snow along the route (not what I had hoped for). Plus it was late in the day and heating up, so I knew it would be a struggle fest at best that would end late, and at worst could be an unwise/dangerous endeavor to undertake.

Given that it was the middle of the day though and the rock was starting to heat up, we couldn't really fritter around the summit (unfortunately), so we all started down and went down the northwest ridge class 2 route.

When we got to the boulder field, the majority of the folks scrambled down the boulder fields with hands, but I scrambled down with poles with another scrambler. It was nice scrambling down large chocked boulders for once (dang Bulger chossfests!). I took my time, hopping from boulder to boulder, in an almost meditative way.
I got down to the snow fields, poked around, and did some fun bootskiing in my approach boots. The snow was primo Cascade Concrete (just a bit of corn) with no postholing--it was fantastic. I got down to the bottom of the field, found a shaded boulder, took off my pack, and sat up against the boulder (it was so hot on the boulder field). The remainder of the boulder field/gully looked so long and distant from where I sat.

The party rejoined, rested for a bit, then pushed on towards the forested ridge, hopping on large boulders (I love breakdancing/stemming on them biggrin.gif..). The shade was a wonderful respite.

Getting down the first section through the forest was a bit gnarly: the steep dry duff made for slick, hard to traverse terrain. Three in the party put on microspikes (me included) and we all got out our poles for the descent. It was slow going, but we got to the traverse eventually after some funtastic ups and downs.

Sadly, the day really heated up and we all running out of water: I ran out of water at the boulder field and others in our party had either gotten close or run out of water. This made the descent kind of gnarly (combined with the hot temps and dusty trail). A bunch of veggie belaying and down climbing ensued in sections to get back down to the forest floor. Once I hit the creek that we passed before heading up, I filtered a few liters of water and drank them on the spot.

The temps when we got back to the car was around the mid-80s, which seems insane for a higher trailhead.

Thereís blue tat at the base of one of the trees (in the shadows). Itís hard to make out because itís a lower resolution image and the contrast isnít turned up.
Thereís blue tat at the base of one of the trees (in the shadows). Itís hard to make out because itís a lower resolution image and the contrast isnít turned up.
Another larger view of the standard initial route up South Baring (traces the vegetation to the right of the crack I think..).
Another larger view of the standard initial route up South Baring (traces the vegetation to the right of the crack I think..).


kite, ALW Hiker, neek, Tom, Cyclopath, wallorcrawl, Theboywhocriedroute, awilsondc
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KascadeFlat
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KascadeFlat
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PostMon Aug 01, 2022 1:35 pm 
Baring is such a fun climb! I love the ridge section after you finish the muddy root climb before you start up the talus field.

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For a good time call: 1-800-SLD-ALDR.

ngie
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostMon Aug 01, 2022 9:59 pm 
Thanks, your lengthy description brings back a lot of memories as I read it. Only did it once, never wanted to go back!

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Mid Fork Rocks ē flickr

ngie
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Justus S.
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Justus S.
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PostTue Aug 02, 2022 9:11 pm 
Baring is a nice visit. I especially liked looking down on the lake. We did both summits... not alot of info on south... even my TR is sparse. It's been awhile, but I think we carried a 30m for a handline on the way down. I think its difficulty depends on conditions. I don't think you can go wrong with 60m and rap gear.

ngie
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ngie
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ngie
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PostThu Aug 04, 2022 12:05 pm 
Justus S. wrote:
I think its difficulty depends on conditions. I don't think you can go wrong with 60m and rap gear.

Good to know smile.gif!

puzzlr wrote:

Thanks, your lengthy description brings back a lot of memories as I read it. Only did it once, never wanted to go back!

I'm waiting for my short-term memory to fade enough to make the next attempt seem less daunting biggrin.gif.

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