Ascent of Bacon Peak on 2019-05-29

Climber: Connor McEntee

Others in Party:Adam Walker -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Josh Lewis -- Trip Report or GPS Track
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bacon Peak
    Elevation:7061 ft / 2152 m

Ascent Trip Report

The timing on Bacon worked out quite well. I believe that this is best done in the late spring, and the east route was probably at its best two weeks prior to our ascent. The challenges are that you want continuous snow up high on the ridge, because it needs to be possible to descend to the large saddle at 4300’. The north side of the ridge has a cliff broken by a dirty gulley that was just almost melted out. On the flip side, the basin was filled with avalanche debris, so too much snow can make the route dangerous as well. There is also an active glacier up high with significant crevasses, but nothing that we crossed had opened up yet. For the approach, I would recommend our descent route over our ascent route. The start is flagged from the logging road, so hopefully, a passable use trail emerges over time.

For our climb, we opted to go mid-week with good weather along with the knowledge that at least one party had climbed it recently confirming that conditions were good. We met at the trailhead the night before. The drive in was better than I was expecting. I scraped a little bit of brush, but amazingly someone is maintaining the logging road. We actually could have easily driven one more switchback to where the road is clearly decommissioned, but it also wasn’t much effort to cover that distance on foot either. The next morning we set out as soon as it was light enough to hike the next day. There was some debate on which bushwhack route to take up to the ridge, and we ultimately settled on Steph Abbeg’s approach. It has the advantage of gaining a little more elevation using the old logging road as well as having less gain to the ridge. I wouldn’t take it again nor would I recommend it even though we found a decent route through the brush. The ridge itself is also a bushwhack, and we added distance by going that way.

We hit snow around 4200’ and it was largely continuous for the rest of the climb. The descent to the saddle at 4300’ required some care, but we didn’t pull out the rope. We had also left open the possibility of fixing the rope that we could ascend it on the way back, but that wasn’t deemed necessary either. The morning had been a little wet with low lying clouds, but the views were finally opening up. The slopes below Electric Butte are impressive but also treacherous. Fortunately, the route up to Bacon takes a hidden gulley that had a moderate angle all the way. Thanks to Josh, we quickly identified the correct gulley. Once we climbed out of the gulley, we were firmly above the clouds and could see Bacon just across the way. It was pretty easy going all the way to the summit. We just had to pick our way across the glacier.

The summit was a little windy, and surprisingly the wind was blowing in from the east. In the distance, we could see storm clouds and resolved to be off the mountain before those got close. Impressive views were had, especially of the Pickets. I scoped out the route from the west and was glad I didn’t come that way. Even though it starts at a much higher elevation, it looked like there was lots of annoying sidehilling around Mount Watson.

After some snacking we began the descent, which was relatively quick all the way back to the partially melted gulley. Some easy exposed climbing put us at the top of the cliffs and the beginning of the long ridge traverse. For our descent, we decided to take Fletcher’s descent route. Up high it was good and took a nice gentle gulley down, but at 3600’ it veered off straight down the slope. A chunk of it was annoyingly brushy and steep, and every few minutes there was some new obstacle to circumvent. However, overall I think it was slightly better than our ascent route especially when factoring in the difference in distances.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:10149 ft / 3092 m
    Total Elevation Loss:10149 ft / 3092 m
    Round-Trip Distance:19.7 mi / 31.7 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Snowshoes
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:8103 ft / 2469 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 6057 ft / 1846 m; Extra: 2046 ft / 623m
    Loss on way in:2046 ft / 623 m
    Distance:12.3 mi / 19.8 km
    Route:East Approach
    Start Trailhead:NF 1064  1004 ft / 306 m
    Time:8 Hours 3 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:8103 ft / 2469 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 6057 ft / 1846 m; Extra: 2046 ft / 623m
    Gain on way out:2046 ft / 623 m
    Distance:7.4 mi / 11.9 km
    Route:East Approach
    End Trailhead:NF 1064  1004 ft / 306 m
    Time:5 Hours 36 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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