Ascent of Mazatzal Peak on 2018-04-04

Climber: Connor McEntee

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mazatzal Peak
    Elevation:7903 ft / 2408 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trip 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
Ascent Statistics
    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
Descent Statistics
    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

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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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