North Baldy (WA)

September 1, 2019


Pend Orielle River / NE Washington, WA

The official name of this peak east of Pend Orielle River valley in NE Washington is not “North Baldy Mountain” but rather just North Baldy. This one also has a forestry service road that runs all the way to the summit. This road is not gated but is very rough on the upper portions that a high clearance 4×4 vehicle is definitely required, at least for the section beyond Pyramid Pass. This was the second objective of the last day of 2019 peak-bagging road trip. Earlier in the morning Adam, Connor and I had driven and hiked to the summit of Snyder Hill.

North Baldy drive-up. GPX DL

The direction of driving to the summit of North Baldy was navigated purely by Google Map app on our phones. As we turned onto gravel roads on the lower slopes I was not expecting much from this rather dull summit. We could see the summit from a lot of places and it looked uninspiring. However, the drier landscape was a welcomed change from the dense vegetation on Snyder Hill and we might actually get some views. The road was in an excellent shape all the way to Pyramid Pass between North Baldy and Grouse Knob and deteriorated after that. Those without a HC 4×4 vehicle are recommended to park at the pass and walk the remaining 5 km or so. Adam has a higher tolerance with rough roads and decided to push further with his Subaru. There was a kid hunter driving extremely slow in a more aggressive vehicle and passing him proved to be a major hassle. The road was rough, narrow and exposed and became very rocky towards the last saddle. I would recommend anyone with any vehicle to park at the last saddle but Adam decided to have more fun off-roading. The last stretch onto the summit was extremely rough with lots of large rocks and steep grade, but Adam’s Subaru made it up like a mad man and without a scratch. I was really impressed by how a Forester can do on such roads. The true highest point required a short walk (on sandals) from the vehicle.

This is that slow jeep that we struggled to pass.

Driving up the road

Single-track service road with the summit of North Baldy ahead

We decided to drive farther than the last col…

Adam and his Subaru pretty much on the summit of North Baldy

This is looking west towards Pend Orielle River

Partial Summit Panorama from North Baldy. Click to view large size.

Partial Summit Panorama from North Baldy. Click to view large size.

Me on the summit of North Baldy

South Baldy not far from here.

Connor and I on the summit of North Baldy. Photo by Adam W.

Another panorama from the summit of North Baldy. Click to view large size.

The drive down was just as rough as the drive up but at least we knew what exactly to expect. We were glad that nobody else was coming up that last stretch as we drove down. The rest of the descent was uneventful. Adam and I dropped Connor off at the start of the gravel road and we parted different ways. By coincidence we found that James Barlow and his family was in the same area. A few text messages later Adam, James and I agreed to do Calispell Peak together and that turned out to be our next objective on this day.