We were hoping that by the end of April we'd be able to drive past the sno-park and up the Forest Service road towards the trailhead, but we had no such luck. Starting from Three Lakes TH adds about 2.5 miles to the approach, but your mileage may vary depending on when you leave the road and launch into the wilderness. The road is relative mellow, at a gentle uphill grade, which makes for an easy and quick ski out.
Mount Bailey is a great ski-touring venue for folks new to the sport or those looking for a relaxed afternoon (we didn't even leave the trailhead until noon!). We skinned all the way to the summit, enjoying mellow slopes the entire way. There is a brief section on the west side of the southwest ridge that could be tricky in scoured-conditions but it was in good shape when we made our ascent. The last time we were up Mount Bailey was in the Fall of 2015 and we were able to essentially walk through the "giant hole" on the summit ridge. This Spring, the hole was mostly filled in and surrounded by a bank of snow.
There are a variety of options on the way up including treed areas that offer shelter from the wind and several open ridges that provide views of surrounding peaks and the lightning-rod spire of Mount Thielsen.
Once up top, there are plentiful options for shredding. The east bowl, commonly called the Avalanche Bowl, showcases a number of awesome lines, but the snow on this aspect did not cooperate with our plans.
We eschewed the breakable crust in the east bowl in favor of late afternoon corn on the south aspect of the southeast ridge instead. Fortunately, much of this descent line is gently slopes towards the trailhead and with some careful route planning we never put skins back on. Although it is a bit of a drive for us Portland folks, Mount Bailey is super fun outing that delivers the goods!
- 1.5 liters of water each
- SUUNTO Watches (GPS)
- Skis, AT Boots, Poles
Total Time: 5 hours 22 mins
Total Distance: 9.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,500'
Starting Elevation: 5,400'
Ending Elevation: 8,376'
Andy's Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/953741952
Corie's Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/953726991