Ascent of Mazatzal Peak on 2018-04-04
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Wednesday, April 4, 2018|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||7903 ft / 2408 m|
Ascent Trip ReportTrip reports indicate that most people suffer through some brutal brush climbing Mazatzal. The south side via the Y-bar trail has a dense manzanita bushwhack, and suicide ridge has an extended off-trail bushwhack interrupted by cliff bands. However, I found a route from the north side from the Barnhardt Trail that was excellent, and I found myself enjoying most of the hike. The only caveat is that it is longer in total mileage.
It was relatively cool in the morning when I started, but it was clear that it would warm up quickly. I made quick time up the well-maintained Barnhardt Trail. Since it is on the north side of the mountain, much of it is well shaded making for a pleasant ascent. Eventually, it tops out and begins a rolling traverse through dense manzanita forest. The north ridge is readily visible from the trail and appears deceptively open due to a recent fire. It would later turn out that much of the open area visible from the trail is in fact filled with some very thorny trees.
I debated going all the way to the base of the north ridge where Dennis Poulin left the trail. However, I passed a fairly wide wash and suspected that this could get me through the brush below and up to the open upper slopes. This turned out to be a great route choice! I love talus hopping and the dry creek was both wide and easy to follow. As I started to get higher the canyon walls were coming in and there was some concern that I might run into an impassable dry-fall if I tried to take it all the way to the upper plateau. So, I left it and took a smaller dry tributary directly up to the ridge. This was ok but less good than the main wash. I actually had to duck under some trees.
As I got higher, the surrounding terrain opened up and it was easy to take deer paths up to the top of the ridge. There was plenty of hopping over downed trees. There was one short section of manzanita, but otherwise, it was very easy to make it to the summit proper. The register was completely full, so I improvised a provisional one. Hopefully, someone will bring a new register before too long.
For the descent, I decided to take Poulin's route, so that I could compare it to mine. I bailed on it pretty quickly. The north ridge is now choked out with very thorny trees, and I was getting cut up. I much preferred my relatively brush-free path. The only other route that I would suggest someone explore is taking the main wash all the way up to the plateau on Suicide Ridge. It's possible that there is no dry-fall or that it can be bypassed easily enough.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||3933 ft / 1198 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||3933 ft / 1198 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||13.7 mi / 22 km|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble|
| Gear Used:||Ski Poles|
| Weather:||Hot, Breezy, Clear|
| Gain on way in:||3780 ft / 1152 m|
| Gain Breakdown:||Net: 3706 ft / 1129 m; Extra: 74 ft / 22m|
| Loss on way in:||74 ft / 22 m|
| Distance:||6.6 mi / 10.6 km|
| Route:||Barnhardt Trail/North Ridge|
| Start Trailhead:||Barnhardt TH 4197 ft / 1279 m|
| Time:||2 Hours 48 Minutes|
| Loss on way out:||3859 ft / 1176 m|
| Loss Breakdown:||Net: 3706 ft / 1129 m; Extra: 153 ft / 46m|
| Gain on way out:||153 ft / 46 m|
| Distance:||7.1 mi / 11.4 km|
| Route:||Barnhardt Trail/North Ridge|
| End Trailhead:||Barnhardt TH 4197 ft / 1279 m|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
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Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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