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.