My hiking buddy and I revisited the Bailey end of July.. it was a celebration of sorts. Ten years ago we undertook the Bailey traverse Sol Duc to Quinault.. we both wanted to return but neither of us had any great desire to experience the 11 Bull basin gullies so much again... so we decided to come up the 'escape route'... Lol.. some escape route...
The last 7 miles up to Whiskey Bend as you know are closed due to a washout.. so instead of hiking 14 additional miles.. we decided to bike them.. The bike up including the by-pass and some pushing our bikes up hill wasn't ideal.. but the down upon return made it all worth it.
FYI.. at the time the only water between the Elwha and Dodger Pt is a nice little flow at 4400 ft.. not sure if it is still flowing now.. so plan accordingly. There is good water in the gully at Crisler's ladder.. and good water at the far end of Scott Ludden saddle.. then nothing but a sketchy tarn until snow fields at the top of the last ridge up to Ferry.
The way trail is in deteriorating condition in stretches but no issues. The drop off into the gully at Hanging rock and the way down is a semi ball buster.. steep and loose.. Crisler's ladder is cool and gets all the pub.. but the decent to here the traverse beyond and the ascension up to SL saddle is what this stretch is all about. We somehow lost the trail and went up the gully to the saddle.. it is do-able but is a bigger pia than not losing the trail.. which is on climbers left at the gully. The down here on return was so much easier because from above the trail was obvious. This same is true regarding the route up to the ridge above SL saddle.. From there is just a pleasant hike along the ridge before dropping down a bit prior to a steep accent up to the shoulder of Ferry... the last 60 or so ft up to Ferry is an extremely exposed very steep ascent/descent. Since the route was not obvious to us.. we decided to bag it and made camp just below it.
most are my photos.. some are Dave's
my bullet proof McHale pack and my old trusty Pivot
the suspension bridge over the Elwha
northern half of the Bailey.. Ferry to Carrie with Ludden on left and Olympus behind
Ferry and the last section of ridge of the accent
tarn beneath Dodger Pt
way trail under construction until WWII
Mt Scott at Hanging Rock
the way forward is downward
me beginning the decent from HR
looking up the gully while taking a break at Crisler's ladder
Scott Ludden saddle
ascend ridge to notch
on ridge looking towards Ferry
Mt Scott again with SL saddle below left of center
the last steep ridge up to Ferry
snow patch.. camp
Mt Pulitzer as clouds spill over the Bailey and begin to fill the valleys below
I got up about as high as my camp shoes could take me
little Pulitzer glacier.. ascended 10 years prior.. that was such an awesome trip
boots going on to start back.. good perspective on how steep that last 60 ft up is
tread down off the ridge
coming up from Crisler's ladder to Hanging rock
another.. with the rock hanging upper right
tarn beneath Dodger Pt was our next camp
Long Ridge and Hurricane Ridge
entire stand of trees that long ago were infected with tumors
Thanks meck.. The trail up past Dodger Pt is in really good shape with only a handful of semi nasty blow downs.. most are just step overs.. and the Long ridge trail is such a consistent grade up over the length of the trail.. and.. everyone should experience the fun stretch from hanging Rock to SL saddle! Actually.. earning it a bit makes the experience better...
My partner on this trip also sports a McHale... He actually got his first. Far and away the best most comfortable pack I've ever used.. It allowed me to haul 55 lbs (camera gear) thru the Northern Pickets a couple yrs ago...
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