Bald Eagle Peak North Ridge by Silver Eagle Peak / 白頭鷹峯

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Bald Eagle Peak and the neighboring Silver Eagle Peak form the dramatic landscape above the famous Necklace Valley. Its distinct feature is incredibly stunning when viewed from the north. Despite the unpleasant approach, the north ridge provides the least challenging and direct way to reach the peak.

One step closer to Bald Eagle Peak
One step closer to Bald Eagle Peak

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Bald Eagle Peak at a Glance

Access: Foss River Road @ mile 5.2
Round Trip: 6.6 miles
Elevation Range: 1280′-6259′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, ice ax, crampons
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

The Preface

Yesterday we came upon the washed-out bridge on Thunder Creek Trail. After a few attempts to ford the creek, we had no choice but to turn around. But I wanted to make the best use on the final day of the long weekend. So we sought out Bald Eagle Peak close to home.

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Bald Eagle Peak North Ridge

While many scrambles involve some road walk or trail hike or both, this peak had neither. Just after crossing the bridge over East Fork Foss River, I parked on the side of Foss River Road. Then the pup and I crossed the road and immediately dove into the forest.

Puzzlr on nwhikers.net has shared a detailed report with a generous amount of information. However, the southbound traverse on the extensive north ridge felt like forever. Despite having sufficient data, a good deal of route finding was necessary to keep on track.

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Open Forest Through to 4500′

Many down trees strewed the forest bed from the car up to 2600′. However, it was still pretty comfortable to weave our way through the massive debris. But yes, it soon became annoying as terrain slowly steepened.

Later we entered the old forest as down trees dwindled. The vegetation here was a mixture between the old and the new. We’d sometimes bypass dense brush and piles of down trees from the west. But for the most part, we were able to travel on the crest.

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Bald Eagle Peak Brush Fight

As mentioned in other reports, the brushiest section took place between 4500′ and 5200′. It also happened to be pointier with steep drop-offs on both sides. Despite fighting through small trees continuously, it was more comfortable to try and stay on the crest.

Meanwhile, swarms of mosquitoes came out and joined us as we tried going through the 700′ of dense brush. They were so irritating that I finally used bug spray for the first time this season. We started seeing snow patches throughout this part as well.

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The 5400′ Outcrops

Later the views widened as the nearby peaks began to take shape. Up until now, Silver Eagle Peak to the west has been the main attraction. But at last, the first sighting of today’s goal, Bald Eagle Peak, came at Point 5267. Mount Hinman and Mount Daniel were at the top of the valley.

By then, there was more snow east of the ridgeline. But the crest was largely dry and rocky. In some places, it was much more manageable to move through the east side to avoid minor outcrops. Later at 5400′, we came upon a cliff wall straight ahead.

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Bald Eagle Peak Outcrops Crux

I put on crampons and a helmet here. Then we veered left and dropped into a small gully to bypass the cliffs. With sufficient snow on northern slopes, we made a rising traverse into the upper basin. Then we used one of the several steep slopes to go back up the ridge at 6100′.

A short stroll along the ridgeline, and we were at the reported outcrops below the top. I left the snowshoes behind, and we continued with just my ice ax and microspikes. Then I tested the exposed ledge on the west as I moved while the pup followed me.

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Bald Eagle Peak Summit Views

On the other side of the outcrops was more steep snow. But we bypassed most of it in a shallow moat. Ice ax and microspikes came in handy in the final 20′ up through small trees. The snow-free summit had one big snowfield on the east edge.

Bald Eagle Peak was an excellent place to see Foss River Valley. Despite low clouds, views of the hundreds of peaks in Alpine Lakes Wilderness were still grand. But big mountains like Mount Daniel, Summit Chief Mountain, and Chimney Rock had slowly faded into the mist.

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Outro

As always, it took less than half the time to make our way down the long ridgeline. But in reverse, the 700′ brushy area went by in the blink of an eye!

Thanks for another safe outing
Thanks for another safe outing

See more trip photos here.

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