11/7/15: Mt Bailey
This was another one of those, “man alive, I kind of wish it had been harder” (that’s what she said) trips. Bailey was a beautiful, fun climb but I regret carrying my ice axe and crampons all the way to the summit and back on this trip since they never left their secure attachment points on my pack. And by “all the way” I really mean, the entire 5 miles round trip trek through sugary, delectable, I-wish-there-was-more-of-you snow. Winter is slowly making her way to the PNW and I could not be more psyched about it.
Thanks to the magic of 4WD, we were able to shave around 5 miles off the round trip distance. We headed up Road 380 (definitely a high-clearance road) and parked at the base of the Nordic Ski trail that leads to the top of the timberline. The 2.5(ish) miles to the summit led us up nearly 2,500 feet in elevation so the climbing was steep enough in some parts that the trail would not be cruiser without some level of base fitness and familiarity traveling in snow. The tree-lined trail was gorgeous as the sun trickled slowly in- watching snow sparkle in newly risen sunshine is astonishingly beautiful and it blows my mind every. single. time.
The trail was very well-marked and very friendly for skier- I got really excited about coming back to Bailey for my first real SkiMo trip (next month MAYBE!). Andy and I were also kind of psyched to go on a little “adventure” - the topo showed that main climber’s trail leading around to the left side of a massive crater at the base of the “Bailey ridge,” but with my brilliant navigation skills, we found ourselves to its right. Rather than spend an extra 20 minutes strolling back to the main trail, we elected to go mixed-choss’aineering and had some fun cruising over a massive pile of snowy volcanic rock.
The other really neat thing about this climb was that Bailey has a really neat rock formation above the crater- it’s 50% hole in rock, 50% archway and it perfect frames Thielsen and Diamond Lake, making for some rather exceptional photos.
We spent a few minutes snapping photos (glamor shots, if you will) in the rock picture frame before heading up to the summit. Bailey appears to be completely flat from the tree line but once you actually hit the ridge, the summit is easy to find- it is flat but it has a very obvious “high point.” The wind had really picked up at this point so after a few selfies, we headed back down to the archway to eat lunch, out of the chill.
Andy had (hilariously) forgotten ALL of his food so we shared my candy, chips, and trail mix... I had forgotten ALL of my KIND bars (which was horribly depressing). We gazed out over Diamond Lake at Thielsen, glancing back up at Bailey and excitedly chatting about how different the mountains look when you’re climbing them versus when you’re looking at them from across the lake. I somehow had LTE so I sent a few envy-inducing snapchats to my friends and family.
We eventually headed back to the truck, happy and calm after a few hours spent in the snow on a beautiful, sunny Oregon day.