Old Baldy by Tiffany Mountain in Okanogan National Forest / 老鮑爾迪

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Old Baldy is a high point above Baldy Pass south of the notable Tiffany Mountain. At the same time, it shares a ridgeline with northern neighbors Mount McCay and Clark Peak. Best of all, the north ridge gives the shortest route to reach the summit in just one mile.

Final scramble on Old Baldy
Final scramble on Old Baldy

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Old Baldy at a Glance

Access: Baldy Pass (NF-37)
Round Trip: 2.1 miles

Elevation Range: 6367′-7844′
Gear: 
none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Palmer Lake in the AM

It was our fourth time going through Toats Coulee. Yet I haven’t seen Palmer Lake up close. So before we left for Old Baldy, we drove north a short way to check out the lake. Several places by the shore provided excellent views.

The water was just as serene as I saw it the day before. There were several public boat launches and a strip of the residential area along the east rim. It was surreal to see both Chopaka Mountain and Hurley Peak from below.

Palmer Lake north view
Palmer Lake north view

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Baldy Pass via Conconully

The plan was to drive up to the pass via Winthrop. But Google Maps routed me through Conconully. I still don’t trust the map tool on these remote service roads. I was also uncertain about the roadway conditions.

But the drive ended up being relatively smooth, the typical bumpy backcountry road. It took us an extra half hour because Google Maps was a bit too optimistic. Nonetheless, taking an unfamiliar path makes me feel adventurous.

Old Baldy from Baldy Pass
Old Baldy from Baldy Pass

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Old Baldy North Ridge

We started the trip right off the pass. A group of two (Josh and Karen?) also came up and began hiking right before us. There was a barbwire fence in front of what looked like the old trailhead.

Later we scrambled a bit before seeing a trail. So the five of us, including the party of two, followed it for a short while. Soon, the path dwindled under the tree debris from the 2006 Tripod Complex Fire.

Looking back at Baldy Pass
Looking back at Baldy Pass

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Final Scramble on Old Baldy

The couple of cairns we saw led to nowhere. Then we parted ways with the other group and started scrambling up the steep slopes. From below, I saw cliffs and buttresses east for the crest. So we went a bit to the west.

Later we made our way east above the cliffs. Then up higher, we stayed on the edge of the snow through the rocks and sandy paths. The terrain flattened in the last 200′. So we traversed the snowfield up to the old fire lookout.

Tiffany Mountain group
Tiffany Mountain group

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Old Baldy Summit Views

Besides the remaining snow on the north side, the region was pretty dry. But the taller peaks to the west still had a considerable amount of it. Again, starting above 6000′ made the nearby mountains look like rolling hills.

The near 8000′ peaks in the Tiffany Mountain group looked less exciting from here as well. But most of the dramatic high points were west of Chewuch River. They included Sherman Peak and Big Craggy Peak.

Star Peak, Courtney Peak, Oval Peak
Star Peak, Courtney Peak, Oval Peak

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Outro

The two people later came up, and then we chatted during the entire visit. The best part was seeing a glider flew over the hills at one point. It was one of the shortest trips we’ve done this year. Two whopping miles roundtrip!

Last month we went home via North Cascades Highway. So this time, we took the scenic way east by Columbia River. Beforehand, we stopped at one of my favorite ice cream places–Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe!

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

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