There are a number of routes to the top of Mt. Mara. We have done 2 of them this year already and we will be doing 2 more of them this year. One of the more difficult ones is up the east slopes of the mountain.
Access has become more difficult. The road that went behind the now-empty Agricultural Research Station is now gated and signed, part of the gravel pit operation, so there is really no route from below. The best approach is now through the Barren Hills (the western part of Batchelor Hills). Either way is a long steady climb up sagebrush and grass covered open slopes.
The east flank is mostly treeless up to about the 710 m level (2330 feet) when a few ponderosa pine and douglas firs can be found on north-facing slopes and in gullies. Some older standing snags can still be spotted in the lower open slopes on the way up.
In the last kilometer, the slopes become are very steep. We followed game trails past several interesting lava flows, avoiding the cliffs and rockbands. The highest part of Mara Mountain overlooks its eastern slopes.
Below us were the Barren Hills and Batchelor Ridge. Behind them, from left to right are Strawberry Hill, the Dome Hills, Harper Mountain, Mt. Peter, Mt. Paul, the South Thompson River Valley, and the hills above Juniper Ridge and Rose Hill.
There are no trails past the Barren Hills so anyone who wants to do this has to put his/her head down and just start climbing. It will be a hard route, but the rewards are a hike on remote slopes and fine views of our valley.