All photos from this trip can be found here.
NOTE: This isn’t the same Bald Mountain south of Mountain Loop Highway via Walt Bailey Trail through Cutthroat Lakes (East Peak) or via Ashland Lakes (West Peak). Those are much more relaxing and enjoyable.
A huge road washout two miles in from Mountain Loop Highway forced us having to hike two miles to the starting point. A mile and half past the washout there was a section of the road covered in rocks that had been let loose from the slopes above. Getting from road to base of northeast ridge was harder than imagined, super brushy and hard to find an entry point.
Brush and down trees on this mountain certainly made up for the lacking in elevation. At one point we fell into the trap of a large alder swatch. After trying to press forward for a half hour and didn’t get very far, we painstakingly retreated but found a better way around the swatch west of ridge crest. Most of the time we were able to stay on the crest, exception several places where it was necessary to get on the west side because of the sheer drop-off on the east.
Just as I had read in the reports, the final hundred feet was crux of the climb with a fair amount of expose. Pup and I traversed above east face on ledges while staying as close to the crest gendarmes as possible. As impressive as the slabby east face was, it’d be deadly to take a fall here. Final scramble past the ledges to summit was done lots of veggie belay.
Being on a short mountain certainly made everything around it seem much taller and much more impressive. Views to the east and the north were great, White Mountain and Three Fingers definitely stole the show. Not much to see past Devils Peak to the east or to the south past Long Mountain.
We made it back down the mountain at sunset and road hiked two miles back to the car.