The McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

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Guy
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The McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by Guy » September 17th, 2012, 4:41 pm

We began this hike at the Mazama trailhead as one of my goals for this year was to hike all the trails that went through the Dollar Lake Fire & this was the last on the list. This report though is about the off trail route we took from the McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur.

Along for the day were Chiyoko, Eric & our trail running friend Mikio who was visiting from out of town & had to put up with our slow pace!

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Mikio has run 2 hundred mile races so far this Summer & last week paced another runner for 65 miles, it hadn't slowed him down much!

At the Timberline Loop we set off towards the junction with the McNeil trail & then followed it up to the point where it heads back West towards the Shelter. There is a side trail here that goes down to the creek on the left side. We then followed the creek for a short time before making our way over & up a hill which is the beginning of the unnamed ridge between the McNeil & Vista Ridges.

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Once here we could see that there actually was a boot path to this location coming up from Cairn Basin but our goal had been to find a route from the McNeil trail.

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From here the Hike was a ridge walk up to about 7000' or so.

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Walking along the ridge with McNeil ridge to our right.

To our left was Ladd Creek and while there where places where a crossing would have been possible it certainly would not have been easy or without danger & so we stayed on the ridge until we were above Ladd Creek. Beside the walk along this ridge offered great views in all directions.

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We then began our crossing over to Barrett Spur, this involved 2 snow crossings & a scramble over a river of rock!

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Coming off the ridge.

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The first snow crossing.

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To infinity & beyond :)

Once we reached the rocky area between the 2 snow fields we also had to climb a little higher to get above the steep part of the second snow field.

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Mikio waiting for us again!

We began the second snow field crossing at our high point for the day about 7300'

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The second crossing.

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The second crossing.

It was here in the middle of the second snow field at about 7300' that we ran into something that surprised us, 2 sets of elk or deer prints heading in the same direction we were, towards Barrett Spur, they were coming from even higher up on the mountain! Had these Elk also crossed over from the McNeil side?

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We then noticed a second set of prints, parallel to the first set of two but about 30' over, at first we thought they were a dogs but there were no human prints to go with them. They were difficult to get a good photo of but this is what they looked like.

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So do we have a Cougar following 2 deer or elk across the snow or something more mundane? All sets of prints went to the same place & left the snow field at the North end of Barrett Spur.

We stopped for Lunch at the little green Oasis just down from Barrett Spur at the end of the Snow Field.

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It was time for some jump shots in the mountain air :D ...

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After lunch we hiked down the moraine on the East side of Ladd Creek. Our plan was to see if would could spot any suitable crossing points but there really are not any safe places to cross the Ladd before you reach the Timberline trail.

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Decending on the East side of Ladd Creek.

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This was about the best option for a crossing before the Timberline trail but we didn't think it was worth the risk.

Once back at the Timberline trail we hiked through Cairn Basin & back to the Mazama trail junction.

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There is a little pond next to the Mazama trail junction that is a great spot to take reflection photos of Hood in. Not this time though, the pond had become a 2' puddle!

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Mikio decided he needed to put in a few more miles & so while we hiked the 4 miles back down the Mazama trail to our car he ran to Ramona Falls then on down to the trailhead & out to the Lolo Pass Road were we would meet him on our drive out, he got there 10 minutes before we did!

It was a great day to be out on the mountain & we covered some new territory too.

The Mazama trail by the way is in pristine condition, those Mazamans know how to take care of a trail.. It's the only tail on Hood where the brush isn't just hacked back, it's pruned! The Rhododendrons on the side of the trail could be in somebodies garden :) ...

Stats: 12.5 miles & 4025' of EG.

Lots more photos here & a map below:

Last edited by Guy on September 19th, 2012, 9:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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retired jerry
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Re: McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by retired jerry » September 17th, 2012, 5:04 pm

Nice

I love tromping around up there

When I've got to the top of that ridge, I didn't feel like crossing over to Barret - too steep with loose rock - looks like you found a route though - I'll have to go up there again

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Guy
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Re: McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by Guy » September 17th, 2012, 5:47 pm

Jerry the upper crossing was easier than we expected it to be, in fact I think the last section of the ridge walk where it gets very narrow & is falling off on both sides is more dangerous. The trick is to go high enough on the second snow crossing so that you are off the steep slope should you slip. I think it's probably at it's easiest now.

I love that ridge walk, I think I'm going to label it Ladd Ridge unless someone here already has a name for it.
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retired jerry
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Re: McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by retired jerry » September 17th, 2012, 6:10 pm

Somebody calls it Gladd ridge - between Gleasen and Ladd glaciers

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Peder
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Re: McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by Peder » September 17th, 2012, 6:38 pm

Mikio decided he needed to put in a few more miles & so while we hiked the 4 miles back down the Mazama trail to our car he ran to Ramona Falls then on down to the trailhead & out to the Lolo Pass Road were we would meet him on our drive out, he got there 10 minutes before we did!
Obviously he was not carrying a case of Pinot Grigio for you!

That is a great loop - I have been considering something similar for a while. One day I will follow your footsteps on this one!

I love the jumping shots - everybody really gets airborne!
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Eric Peterson
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Re: McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by Eric Peterson » September 17th, 2012, 7:04 pm

Mikio looks like a Power Ranger in his jumping pictures!

Great hike idea Guy!

And TJ's is still out of the Contadino PG Vivace! :(

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Guy
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Re: McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by Guy » September 18th, 2012, 6:50 pm

Obviously he was not carrying a case of Pinot Grigio for you!
Haha, I should of thought of that before hand Peder!

Jerry, Gladd Ridge it is!

& EP if they ever get that Contadino PG Vivace in stock again & there is some left on the shelf after you buy yours shoot me a text message will you!

Cheers.
Last edited by Guy on September 18th, 2012, 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Splintercat
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Re: McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by Splintercat » September 18th, 2012, 6:58 pm

Excellent report, Guy! Thanks for posting!

Tom :)

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Excursionista
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Re: McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by Excursionista » September 18th, 2012, 11:44 pm

Great TR. The high alpine shots, especially "To Infinity and Beyond," are priceless. Holy. Smokes.

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bobcat
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Re: The McNeil Trail to Barrett Spur Crossing - 09/16/12

Post by bobcat » September 20th, 2012, 3:29 pm

Ditto to the comments about your pictures. A great outing!

It looks like cougar going the same way as deer if not following the deer. I've seen this a couple of times - the cat may be stalking, but also everyone just found the easiest way across the ridge - like minds think alike!

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