Merchant Peak


Alpine Scramble - Merchant Peak

A classic, gnarly North Cascades alpine scramble with a little of everything -- some unavoidable loose rock (though not nearly as much as people complain about), some really splendid sporty scrambling rock, some snow, some alpine meadows, some blocky summit rock, stunning views of the overhanging north wall of Baring and a centrally-located situation to feast the eyes on everything between Rainier and Baker.

  • Sat, Aug 6, 2016
  • Seattle Alpine Scrambling
  • Scrambling
  • Adults, Singles, 20-30 Somethings
  • Strenuous 4, Technical 5
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 6.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,900 ft

Meet at the Baring Store on US Highway 2 at 7:00 am.  If you're not sure of this location, email the leader.  Basically, once you've reached the long straightaway with the BNSF tracks running just to the left of the highway (heading EB) and you can see Baring Peak looming up ahead to your left, look for my battered silver-grey PT Cruiser parked along the right side of the highway.  We'll drive from the store to the TH and plan to get started not much later than 7:30 am.

The current forecast is for a slight chance of rain.  I don't regard this as a serious risk of bad weather at this point in the season, but any cloud cover will hopefully keep things cool.  The main and side canyons get shade in the morning, but the high alpine meadows and upper route are fully exposed to the sun, which also beats down on the descent through the canyons during the afternoon, so some cloud cover will help avoid dehydration.  We will bring water filter/pumps to keep hydrated during the day.  Participants should ignore the many scurrilous online reports slurring the canyons for their loose rock -- yes, there are a couple of places where some loose rock and scree is unavoidable where care will be used, but the canyon is also a playground of excellent fun and firm scramble rock.  This will be a skill-builder for those not yet accustomed to finding the sound rock amid the scree!


Merchant Peak

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

  • The Ten Essentials
  • Helmet
  • Mountaineering Boots
  • Ice Axe -- Probably not needed, but please bring it to the TH
  • Downclimbing gear (locking 'biner, prusik/klemheist cord loop, harness or diaper harness of tied sling material)
  • Bring rain outerwear just in case, but otherwise bring light extra layers, not winter or expedition weight layers, gloves, etc. -- it's summer in the PNW, folks!
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