Ascent of Big Bald Mountain on 2019-11-06

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Big Bald Mountain
    Elevation:4075 ft / 1242 m

Ascent Trip Report

Lots of discussion about gates open or closed near winter. Today was Nov 6th and the main gate at mile 6 of Rock Creek Road was wide open. It shows as a 4 wheel drive road on the GPS but it is well maintained. An easy 4 wheel drive or even high clearance SUV AWD would have no problem driving to Horsepen Gap. There is one creek crossing but it was not too bad today. I had a rental 2 wheel drive and did not want to risk damage to it and I wanted to "earn" the prominence so I drove up the very easy gravel road to the second gate at elevation around 2420 and decided with the sun going down soon to risk it a bit further uphill. I drove a little further into the actual Wilderness area and parked at a pullout (see GPS track). You could take a 2 wheel further but it gets sketch at the big creek crossing so I am happy with where I parked. A 7 mile RT hike beats an 11 miler which is what they report coming in from Rock Creek Road when that gate is closed at Stanley Gap.

You make great time on the gravel road hiking it is not too steep. I was averaging around 3.5 mph but then when I saw Horsepen Gap ahead, I took a really steep logging road parallel to the road to Horsepen Gap and then found the main ridge and tied some flags and headed up. The briers as reported are there!
Not an enjoyable bushwhack at times but I found it stayed off the main ridge and hiked on the SE slope they were more tolerable or in places you could find gaps and go fast. The ridge itself is covered in briers.

For a mountain called BIG BALD it is anything but that. I presume it was logged and bald at one time but not now. a Big tree stands near the summit. On the way back I went directly to the saddle to go claim Horsepen Mountain. See TR and return

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1808 ft / 550 m
    Total Elevation Loss:865 ft / 263 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.3 mi / 6.8 km
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Stream Ford
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1773 ft / 540 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1598 ft / 488 m; Extra: 175 ft / 53m
    Loss on way in:175 ft / 53 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:4 wheel drive road to Horsepen Gap to bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:See GPS  2477 ft / 754 m
    Time:1 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:690 ft / 210 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 655 ft / 200 m; Extra: 35 ft / 10m
    Gain on way out:35 ft / 10 m
    Distance:0.5 mi / 0.8 km
    Route:see GPS track
    End Trailhead:saddle between peaks  3420 ft / 1042 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Big Bald GA

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Big Bald Mountain2019-11-06 a1808 ft / 551 m
2Horsepen Knob2019-11-06 b315 ft / 96 m
3Stanley Gap Point 27312019-11-06 c311 ft / 95 m
5Rocky Mountain2019-11-071223 ft / 373 m
10Talona Mountain2019-11-07 b780 ft / 238 m
Total Trip Gain: 4437 ft / 1353 m    Total Trip Loss: 1195 ft / 364 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by William Musser
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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