After are fiasco of bushwhacking on our Lemah Mountain attempt Sat and Sunday we decided to salvage Labor Day and go for day scramble of Bald Mountain on the Mountain Loop Highway. There are several different Bald Mountains in WA and two on the Mountain loop Highway. We had our sights on the Bald Mountain near Cutthroat Lakes sometimes referred to at the East Peak.

The approach begins at the little traveled Walk Whitman Trail. The day was cloudy and the leaves wet from the weekend rain. In other words, nice cool weather that Damien and I thoroughly enjoyed after a summer of intense heat! The trail is in pretty good conditions other than it being very very muddy in places. It traverses for about 20 minutes before turning into switchbacks up to the meadows. There are lots of blueberry bushes up here. Normally this would be a great place for forage for the fruit, but the heat this year seems to have destroyed the berry crop. This area is also Known for bear, but we saw none. After a few more creek crossing the trail goes back into the brush and switchbacks up to a slightly higher meadow. After crossing another creek the trail enters a talus field. Watch for cairns here to guide you across (Damien constructed a nice tall one since he deemed one of the carins too short). The trail then switchbacks up through the forest to Cutthroat Lakes.

Here you enter a maze of trails through the lakes. Luckily Bald Mountain can easily be seen to the left. Be basically took as many left turns on the trails as possible and ended up at a dead end in the lower meadow. We decided to would be easiest to go cross country straight up to the left saddle of the mountain and join up with the trail there. It was easy terrain over heather and blueberry to the saddle were we linked up with the obvious trail again. This path goes around the back of the mountain and switchbacks up to the other side of the mountain. When you reach this shoulder turn right off the main trail and follow the thin but clear trail over some rock to the summit block. The path in beaiful through rock towers. Its like being in a sculpture garden! A  class three slabby section leads  to the summit.

The views were very misty when we arrived, but the thick clouds were in constant motions and we had moments of the terrific views. We could see the resivoir below on one side and Cutthroat Lakes below on the other. It a rather beautiful summit ad we stayed for about 30 minutes before heading back down. It was great to top out on something after all the bushwacking we did that weekend!

We followed the Walt Whitman Trail down to the lakes. We had some trouble finding out way back through the maze of trails. We kept finding ourselves at dead ends, but eventually we found the right path and headed back down the switchbacks to the lower meadows. Still no bears on the way out, but beautiful autumn colors abounded!

 

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