Baker County High Point Trip Report

Red Mountain (9,560+ ft)

Date: July 24, 2002
Author: Adam Helman

This report serves as an addendum to the report by Ken Jones.

The approach to the trailhead is as Ken described.

About two miles up the trail you drop a hundred feet into a meadow and, among other things in your viewshed, encounter an unmarked split in the trail (which by now is merely a path one foot wide that is almost completely overgrown by vegetation). Take the right fork - the left fork takes you into the drainage basin west of the correct trail. The right fork takes you, some one-half mile later, up a few switchbacks and thence along the 7,800 ft contour of Cornucopia Pk to your east.

If you mistakenly end up in the drainage basin, locate the obvious slope to your east and head directly up it. Eventually you will intersect the correct trail as it heads north towards Crater Lake at the 7,800 ft level (this is what I did).

After perhaps seven miles from the trailhead you begin a descent to Crater Lake with Red Mountain to your northeast. As you climb east up the west talus slope of Red Mountain towards the ridgeline just of the summit proper, you must be very careful where you intersect the ridge:

If you are too far south (as I was), you will encounter class 3-4 cliff formations to your north along the ridge that block your progress to the summit. I had to downclimb and traverse north along the talus until sufficiently north to have bypassed these formations.

If you climb talus slopes directly for the summit then you will needlessly encounter steep talus and class 3 climbing even before joining the south ridge.

In selecting your route up the talus, try as best you can to head for a point on the ridge that is south of the two major "bumps" on the ridge (these are readily climbed over with some exposure) ... and yet north of the smaller "bumps" on the ridge that represent the class 3-4 formations noted above. Such a point may correspond to the 9,200 ft contour as suggested by Ken Jones.

While at the summit, to the northwest one sees Sacajawea Peak of Wallowa County amongst many nearby worthy summits.

Given the net gain of 3,150 ft; a drop from 8,000 to 7,500 ft along the trail prior to the off-trail portion; and perhaps 150 ft of drop in and around the meadow when two miles out, the total elevation gain is some 3,150 + 2*(500 + 150) = 4,450 ft.