Ascent of Baker Mountain on 2015-07-09

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Cliff Young <1620>; Rod Emmerick
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, July 9, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Baker Mountain
    Elevation:3520 ft / 1072 m

Ascent Trip Report

Cliff Young and Rod Emmerick and I have all wanted to climb this tall mountain for years and there are no trails. We heard that the AMC purchased the rights to the mountain and were going to start building a trail to the summit and we were tired of waiting for a trail and we had all planned over the years many different ways to bushwhack this large mountain so we saved this summer to get it in before it was too late.

I had Cliff and Rod drive up and boat over to Kineo where they climbed Mount Kineo with me and then we planned the trip. They spent the night in the lodge then we boated back over to Rockwood and dropped a car in Greenville. Rod used his 4 wheel drive truck to get us to our designated TH. There are many sub peaks on this mountain and we wanted to tag the true summit so the TH must come from the north.

Notes on the drive. We studied the aerials and our route there was not the best. The route we found back was better. On the way we drove up Lily Bay Road out of Greenville till we found Meadow Brook Road. This is a much faster and nice route to get to Number 4 Mountain than the books that have you go all the way up to Frenchtown Road but it was a rough way to get to Baker. Meadow Brook is well graded road all the way to the TH of Number 4 and the sign at Number 4 said the state was working on improving the trail up to that fire tower. Nice. We then headed north and about 3/4 mile took the first right and found the road that goes east for about 3/4 mile and then there is a meandering rough road that travels south and up the mountain ranges staying just on the east side of Number 4. The road is pretty good until it makes the shape of a duck bill about half the way to Baker and then it becomes a cobble stone and steep road with ruts. It required 4 wheel drive and a slow 5 mph drive for much of the rest of the way to the logging road.

On the aerials you will see a large clear cut area on the north side of Baker between Lily Bay Mountain and Baker. This logging spur road is not too bad to drive up other than the drainage rills. At the top there is plenty of parking and another road that heads toward Lily Bay Mtn. Parking here is about elevation 2520. I walked down slope about to elevation 2470 to make my TH.

The aerials are unclear as to how tall the planted forested area is. The new trees have grown in enough that they are tough to walk through - not as tough as an all out bushwhack and you can find skid roads that are ok but there is a lot of selected thinning in the area and the wasted conifers are everywhere and hard to walk on.
You will find a lot of tape along the south bearing to the summit. Some are blue and very old, some are pink and very fresh and very long; and some are orange and ripped up. Fresh Orange tape was left by our party and only in select places. we followed the skid trail till we reached a place where the skids turned sharply to the left (east) and downhill. Not liking the bearing we began our bushwhack here and headed more southwest. We stumbled into some taping that took us on a very nice and nearly maintained trail that headed upslope very quickly. The problem was we needed to go due south and much of this trail was heading NW.

Enjoying the superb trail condition and following tape we headed up a fresh and nice trail that likely put us in the middle of the wide open saddle between Lily Bay Mountain and Baker at around elevation 2876. Just to the NW is a USGS peak un-named at 3015. We speculate the trail system may have had that or Lily Bay as a target but when we found this well cut trail plunging down slope from the saddle in a western direction, we elected to resume our bushwhack back now to the south aiming for a GPS coordinate between Baker 3419 and Baker peak at 3521. The remaining bushwhack varied from open dead tree vistas, to deep thick mossy carpeted fir, to krummholtz, to very thick firs so close you had to squeeze through them. somewhere along this bushwhack we began crossing back and forth across a blue tape line and a pink line from previous bushwhackers. The blow down was too difficult from the winter abuse to follow either so we just mused at knowing we were crossing many other bushwhackers paths.

We found our coordinate in the Baker saddle between point 3419 and the true peak and it was thick krummholtz. As we approached the true peak from the NW side heading SE we experienced some very thick moss covered ground in thick but bearable spacking until the last 150 feet of vertical to the summit where it got very thick. The summit has little views and a canister to sign in that we could not get the bottom cap off to register. Oh well. Tape of many colors adorn the summit which was covered in blackflies and houseflies. Some decent views off to the east of the AT peaks like West, White Cap, and Gulf Hagus etc....

Our bushwhack line down to the truck was a direct north bearing on the GPS. In doing so, not nice trails encountered anywhere. It was a horrible bushwhack all the way to the truck. It took about 2 hours to get up and it took just as long to go down because of the bad conditions. So much blow-down.We encountered pink and blue tape most of the way although we had to pick our own route because of the blow-down.

Arriving back at the truck, we elected a different way home. We turned right and headed east and took the first road we found which was in good condition. It climbed up the west side of Bluff Mountain and provided nice views. It is not the good road marked on the Gazetteer but a faint trail that is now connected and in great condition. This road eventually dropped us on Frenchtown Road near First Roach Pond. This is a longer way in but a far superior road system to the Baker Bluff Mountain area!

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1150 ft / 350 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1100 ft / 335 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.9 mi / 4.7 km
    Grade/Class:1 and 2
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Overcast
70F and overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1100 ft / 335 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1050 ft / 320 m; Extra: 50 ft / 15m
    Loss on way in:50 ft / 15 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.7 km
    Route:bushwhack through young timber to north slopes
    Start Trailhead:Just below timber skid trail parking on north side  2470 ft / 752 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1050 ft / 320 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1000 ft / 304 m; Extra: 50 ft / 15m
    Gain on way out:50 ft / 15 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 1.9 km
    Route:north bearing back to GPS track and truck
    End Trailhead:truck parked  2520 ft / 768 m

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