Ascent of Baring Mountain on 2017-04-29

Climber: Connor McEntee

Date:Saturday, April 29, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Baring Mountain
    Elevation:6125 ft / 1866 m

Ascent Trip Report

We had seen a successful trip report from the week prior and the NW facing gulley was attractive since it would reduce the risk of a wet slide. In retrospect due to this heavy snow year, we hit the peak at the wrong time. I would recommend 2-3 weeks from now or a few weeks earlier. Snow conditions up high were still very much winter conditions with deep and steep unconsolidated snow, which made it very slow going. Getting to the ridge through the forest is likely the crux of the climb and it was downright treacherous. For around 200 vertical feet we encountered 6 inches of slushy snow covering mossy rocks and loose hillside with a tree self-belay as the only means through. In a few weeks, the route up to the ridge should be entirely snow free and the snow higher up should start consolidating, and a few weeks earlier the snow going up to the ridge would be deeper and more stable.

Anyway, we started early in order to avoid forecasted mid-afternoon precipitation and to try and reach avy-prone slopes before they had much time to thaw. The climber's route is easy to find off the road behind the outhouse. It was straightforward albeit steep until we hit the snow. Following the boot path was not problematic until we reached a point where the direct ascent is blocked by looming cliffs. The booth path in the snow split with one route going east and the other west around the cliffs. We mistakenly chose the more trampled path that traversed west. It goes off route into difficult and slick terrain. We found an avy chute and kicked steps up that until we could traverse back over across exposed rocks to more mellow snow slopes that joined the established climber's route.

The ridge walk was mellow a nice break with nice consolidated snow the entire way. When the ridge cliffs out, the route drops down on the south side to go up a drainage that connects to the NW gully. We followed the flagging but dropped down a little more than necessary as we discovered on the way back. By this time it was around 10 and the snow was softening, so we put on snowshoes and kicked steps up the steep slopes. This put us out near the gulley. We did not encounter any cornice problems getting into the gulley. We quickly assessed snow conditions and were both comfortable that avy conditions were low. There is plenty of debris in the gully from snow sloughing off trees and the rocks of the south peak. However, we saw no signs of instability in the gulley itself.

Ascending the gully was easy but tiring. Even with snowshoes, I was postholing above my ankles. From the notch, we climbed out over a 30' snow step with several sections of 75+ degree loose snow. We carried anchors and a rope but did not use them. We were able to kick in steps and plunge our ice axes in for a self-belay. There were a few wind scoured sections on the slopes leading to the summit, but for the most part, the snow was even deeper and unconsolidated than in the gully.

We stayed on the summit only long enough to eat something before we started the descent to beat the change in weather. The descent to the ridge was uneventful, and there were a few decent glissades down low. The descent from the ridge to the parking lot was challenging even more so considering how tired we were. We followed an established boot path quite a ways. Some sections were sketchy as there weren't trees to grab hold of. Eventually, the trail disappeared at the snowline. The boot path was clearly from a week or so earlier when the snow line was lower. Unfortunately, we didn't find the dirt climbers trail and ended up on a vertical bushwack descending over a few 10' cliffs. By this point, there were plenty of sturdy trees, so it was manageable but the climber's trail would have been nicer. A little bit after reaching the car, it started to drizzle.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4525 ft / 1378 m
    Extra Gain:340 ft / 103 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.8 mi / 14.2 km
    Route:West Ridge/Gulley
    Trailhead:Barclay Lake TH  2280 ft / 694 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 54 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 
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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