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

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Old Baldy is a high point above Baldy Pass south of the notable Tiffany Mountain. At the same time, it shares a pass with its northern neighbors, Mount McCay and Clark Peak. The north ridge offers the quickest way to the top in a 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 through Toats Coulee, and I had yet to see 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 as serene as I had seen it the day before. Several public boat launches and a residential area lined the east rim. It was surreal to see both Chopaka Mountain and Hurley Peak now 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 had routed me through Conconully. I didn’t trust the map in these emote places and was uncertain about the conditions.

But the drive turned out smooth, the typical bumpy backcountry road. It took us an extra half hour because Google Maps was somewhat optimistic. Nonetheless, taking a new path I always feel adventurous.

Old Baldy from Baldy Pass
Old Baldy from Baldy Pass

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Old Baldy North Ridge

We started walking from the pass after a long and rocky drive. A group of two (Josh and Karen?) showed up shortly after and began hiking before us. There was a barbwire fence in front of the old trailhead.

We scrambled a bit before seeing a trail. Then 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 few cairns we saw led to nowhere. Soon, we started scrambling up the steep slopes after parting ways with the two. I saw cliffs and buttresses east of the crest from below, so we stayed closer west.

Soon, we were above the cliffs. Then we hugged the edge of the snow through the rocks and sandy paths. The terrain flattened in the last 200′, where we walked across the snowfield up to the old fire lookout.

Tiffany Mountain group
Tiffany Mountain group

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Old Baldy Summit Views

Besides the leftover snow on the north side, the area was pretty dry. In contrast, taller peaks to the west still had a considerable amount. But starting above 6000′ had made the nearby places look like rolling hills.

The near 8000′ peaks in the Tiffany Mountain group looked less exciting from here. But most of the dramatic high points were west of Chewuch River, including 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 showed up later, and we chatted the entire time. The highlight of the trip was seeing a glider over the hills. But it was one of the shortest trips we’ve done this year, with two whopping miles roundtrip!

Last month we drove home via North Cascades Highway. So this time, we took the scenic way east by the Columbia River. But beforehand, we stopped at my favorite ice cream place out here–Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

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