Mount Baring/Northwest Ridge


Alpine Scramble - Mount Baring/Northwest Ridge

This spectacular peak in the Wild Sky Wilderness is accessed from the Barclay Lake TH (off US Hwy 2 not much further than the Heybrook Ridge Nav FT) and features a short but steep, strenuous, varied, and gnarly scramble that should be on every scrambler's list!

  • Sat, May 27, 2017
  • Seattle Alpine Scrambling
  • Scrambling
  • 20-30 Somethings, Singles, Adults
  • Strenuous 4, Technical 5
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 8.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,000 ft

We'll meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Baring Store in the little town of Baring, WA, on Hwy 2.  We'll caravan from there out the Barclay Lake road (a left/north turn across the BNSF Railroad tracks from the store).  We will make every effort to start from the actual TH at 8:00 a.m. 

This is a demanding trip, both in terms of the effort required and the skills needed for steep snow and rock scrambling.  But it's a blast!
You can get a good feel for what this hike is like by surveying trip reports and photos for this time of year from the Washington Trails Association site ( or from Summit Posts. 
You start on an abandoned road grade that contours east.  About a quarter to a third of a mile along, a creek comes down to the road from the right/south off the steep flank of the peak's westward-pointing spur.  A rude and crude way-trail heads up this steep forested flank, often the most challenging part of the trip (may be partly snow, this time of year).  Once atop the spur ridge, the party heads east, up and down a way trail that runs right along the ridge crest.  Where the ridge heads up more steeply into cliffs, the route cuts right/south across another steep forested stretch, turning back up right/east under another set of cliffs and following the base of the cliff closely into an open basin. 
The basin narrows into a steep couloir between the main peak (up and left) and the only-slightly lower secondary summit (up and right).  The basin and gully should be snow-filled this time of year (later in the summer it is a steep talus slope filled with large blocky boulders).  At the top of the couloir is a saddle falling away steeply to the east. 
The party then turns left/north up a sometimes steep snow wall that then eases back to a steady snow scramble to the dramatic rocky summit overlooking Barclay Lake, across to Merchant, Townsend, and Gunn Peaks, and still further toward sweeping views of the Central and North Cascades.
But views extend in all directions, with Index off to the Southwest, Daniel-Hinman and the Cascade Summit peaks to the Southeast, and the Puget Sound lowlands and the Olympics down the Skykomish River Valley to the west!
The long steep couloir affords a righteous glissade on the way down! 


Mount Baring/Northwest Ridge

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

  • The Ten Essentials
  • Helmet
  • Mountaineering Boots
  • Ice Axe
  • Crampons (may or may not be needed, but please bring them)
  • Down-climbing kit: locking biner, cord loop, and harness/sling diaper harness.
Trip Reports