Backdrop Peak and Baker Peak

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Steve learns the joy of ridgewalks between Backdrop and Baker Peaks.

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Steve and I had been trying to get out together for a few weeks, but the stars had not aligned. But this weekend looked better. We made big plans, then had to bolster each other's courage as the weather prediction deteriorated: Saturday: 30% chance of precip. Sunday: 70%

But Steve arrived at 6am and we were off for Hailey Coffee and their fabulous breakfast burritos. We didn't need coffee- I think Steve had been up all night brewing an enormous thermos full.

We got to the trailhead and things were a little gray, a little moist feeling, a little--let's say--humid. But we were committed and started up. It didn't take long to get to Baker Lake and a great view of our objective, the ridge on the left in the picture below.

Smoke

Smoke

As we started up the ridge, we got a great view of Baker Lake, above. Look, a little blue sky!

It was cool and there was a breeze on the spine of the ridge. We were happy campers. We clambered up the lower talus and finally got to the Class 3 section. Steve enjoyed the focus and challenge of the rock until one savagely bit him on the shin. He bled like a stuck pig until we found a flat spot to dress the wound. His bloody sock looked dreadful, but he said his leg didn't hurt.

Class 3
We continued up the ridge past the huge tower. Tower

Then as the ridge flattened and the summit came into sight, Steve, who had been sandbagging me, sprinted past. Shades of Edward Whymper.

But after a fine lunch of those aforementioned breakfast burritos, all was forgiven.

Backdrop Peak summit

From there, we headed south for Baker Peak along the adjoining ridgeline. There was a fair amount of up-and-down involved, but it was quite beautiful and not bad going. We hit the saddle and only had another 700' to climb.

Ridge alk
The top of Baker Peak is quite interesting. There are several mounds of talus, seemingly randomly distributed across the broad top. Each one is perhaps 20-25 feet high. I'm a (very) amateur geology buff, but I have no clue as to what formed this terrain.
Shale

At any rate, one of the lumps is obviously taller. There we found the summit register: a mason jar. Gently prizing it from its hiding place in the rock, we found that only one group had signed in the last year, and they about a week before us.

Steve cringed at getting a summit shot with a BSU logo in it (make a duck sound here for Steve) but I was trying to impress Julie.

Snowyside

Just to our west, this peak impressed us. I did not know what it was until I checked Topo at home. Doh! we should have known, it's "Big Peak"!

We noted an obvious trail moving up its eastern flank, but the trail does not appear on the map. Hmmmm.

Upper mountain

We stayed on the summit for quite a while enjoying the lack of precipitation, then headed back down to the saddle. From there, we dropped down and made a flattish traverse across the benches leading back to Baker Lake. Very pretty basin, and easy traveling.

When we got back to the car, it was a little later than planned, and we had a long drive ahead of us to Josephus Lake and our Sunday climb.

Upper mountain

Mr. Natural Home | 2009 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski