This report describes two trips to Bare Mountain. One with Kelly and the other with my friend Jamie, three months later.
This interesting peak and its adjacent crater appears to be geologically fairly recent. The USGS says it’s about 8,000 years old and the crater was formed when lava came in contact with ground water, forming a “phreatic explosion crater”.
Bare Mountain is very easy to reach, being just 23 miles north of Hwy 14 with all but about 8 miles of the trip on paved roads.
The rocky high point on the north side of the crater rim stands at 4360′ elevation, contrasting with the bottom of the crater at about 3820′ elevation.
On my first trip to the peak, I had no idea what the best route would be. I chose what looked to be the shortest way: a bushwhack, coming in from the west side. This proved more difficult than anticipated, but the foliage provided good handholds. The final 150 feet or so was daunting, but we were committed by then and didn’t want to go all the way back down to try yet another unknown route.
Here’s Kelly, emerging onto the crater rim from the near vertical jungle we’d come through: Still smiling!
We still had a way to go, and it looked to be challenging, to say the least. There wasn’t much of a game trail – perhaps the elk and deer are smart enough not to go places like this.
Here’s Kel, wondering “what am I doing here?!”
There was one fun traverse, but we made it around just fine.
Here’s a close-up of the crater floor, 540 feet below:
We safely made it to the summit and decided to continue heading to the east and found some easy game trails. Reaching the road, we hiked back to the car, glad we survived!
On my next trip to Bare Mountain, three months later, I invited my friend Jamie. There’s a handy gravel road around the south side of the peak so we parked as close as we could get to the low point on the crater rim.
Bare Mountain really is bare on the south side!
We climbed up to the rim and descended a mostly mossy route to the crater floor:
On the way down, we found and used a good game trail: Also, we had a good view of the summit ridge and high point Kel and I climbed a few months earlier.
Approaching the crater floor:
We wandered around, taking in the sights:
On the way out, nice game trail!
This was a fun, albeit short adventure and then we were off to Twin Rocks for some more fun.