Ascent of Townsend Mountain on 2014-01-04

Climber: Chad Straub

Others in Party:Maverick (K9)
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, January 4, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Townsend Mountain
    Elevation:5936 ft / 1809 m

Ascent Trip Report

We arrived at an empty Barclay Lake Trailhead at 6:30 on Saturday morning. A few inches of snow had been rutted out for the last mile of the road. Microspikes were helpful from the get go on the mostly snowy-covered trail. About 4 inches of ice covered most of Barclay Lake. Maverick was a little spooked by the creaking ice as we watched Mount Baring emerge from the fog.

I was surprised to stumble upon a group of 4 camping at one of the larger sites along the shore. I exchanged pleasantries with the only awake camper before continuing up the trail. A bootpath to Eagle Lake picks up at the end of the official trail however a few inches of snow made it hard to find, so we turned North when the trail disappeared then made our way through trees and talus on the East of the main drainage from Stone Lake.

As we climbed, alpenglow dawned on Baring and Grotto Mountain rose into view, a crescent moon above it. We bushwhacked through snowy brush and over tons of downed trees before finding relief in a few talus fields with just enough snow to allow safe travel for Maverick. Part of Merchant Peak and Mount Townsend poked over the trees before we reached Stone Lake. 2-3 feet of snow covered Paradise Meadow. We crossed dozens of small (rabbit) tracks and several small creeks en route to the North side of Eagle Lake.

Colin suggested heading for the low saddle between Merchant Peak and Townsend but ideal surface snow and a desire to stay in the sun convinced me to head up slope a bit early. My microspikes lost traction about 500' below the ridge when the snow reduced to a depth of only a few inches atop icy rock. I reached into my bag to switch to crampons and remembered that I had left them on the shoe rack at home. Oh well, we descended a couple hundred feet then traversed West to better surface conditions. Once atop the ridge I took in the views for a moment before heading full speed toward the summit being careful to keep maverick away from overhanging cornices.

The wind picked up as we neared the top. Maverick waited in the saddle while I made a short snow scramble to the summit. I didn't bother digging for a register before returning to the nearest false summit for lunch. After tons of pictures we made our way West down the ridge to the first spot with a rock free path below, then made the slowest glissade ever back to Paradise Meadow. We retraced our steps through the snow and dropped back below Stone Lake as Baring's shadow crept up the South face of Mount Townsend. The campers at Barclay Lake had been replaced by another group when we returned past the site.

10.5 miles round trip
4500' elevation gain
11 hours car-to-car

pics, video and route map @
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5091 ft / 1551 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5091 ft / 1551 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.3 mi / 16.6 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4391 ft / 1338 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3691 ft / 1125 m; Extra: 700 ft / 213m
    Loss on way in:700 ft / 213 m
    Distance:6.1 mi / 9.8 km
    Route:Eagle Lake? West Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Barclay Lake TH  2245 ft / 684 m
    Time:8 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4391 ft / 1338 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3691 ft / 1125 m; Extra: 700 ft / 213m
    Gain on way out:700 ft / 213 m
    Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
    Route:South Face Glissade
    End Trailhead:Barclay Lake TH  2245 ft / 684 m
    Time:3 Hours 15 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Chad Straub
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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