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rubywrangler
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 12:48 am 
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Switched out my usual high route guidebook (Routes & Rocks) for the OMCG. The general plan was to link Lillian Ridge with the Low-Lillian-Cameron traverse and then loop back to Obstruction Point by some nondirect route. All new territory for me! And despite some smoke mucking up the views, it was a gorgeous loop.

The Cameron moraine caught my interest in RAW-dad's report from last month, so my initial idea was to climb Mt Cameron via the west ridge, then backtrack to the false summit that connects with "cloudy pass", drop down to the moraine via the pass, then head out via Cedar lake and Deer Ridge.  But as soon as I saw the false summit from the ridge, I knew I couldn't get to the pass that way, so Plan A was out.

Plan B was to go up and over Mt Cameron, down the ridge to Lost peak and pass, then loop around to Lost Basin and go out via Cameron basin and Grand Pass/valley.  That would've worked according to my research, but I got sketched out about crossing a steep but shallow gully a little ways past the summit of Cameron.

So, impromptu Plan C: I bailed off the ridge a bit past the summit and scree-skiied down to the tarns in Lost basin. Climbed Lost peak the following day (Saturday) via Lost pass, then hiked up and over Cameron pass to Cameron basin, down Cameron Creek, and up to the tarn at 6000' south of Grand Pass. Hiked out early Sunday through Grand Valley. Home with time to spare before watching the Steelers get embarrassed by the Patriots  bawl.gif

A little more route detail and photos:

Day 1:  Followed bootpath (mostly) from Obstruction Point over Moose mountain to Low pass. From the pass, followed bootpath and cairns into the Lillian River valley.  Once in the valley, I picked up the old trail (I assume, it was very well defined) which seems to be a bit higher up than the recommended route in previous reports and the OMCG. I'd like to see a map of this trail but haven't been able to find one. After awhile, the trail dead-ended in a talus field and I had to do a little shwacking to get on the low route, but didn't have any real trouble working my way to the outlet stream and then up to the lake.  The one permit for Lillian was reserved so after a long break, I headed up and over the saddle and traversed on old trail to the tarn at ~5750 to camp.

moose
moose
lillian river valley
lillian river valley
meadow beneath lake lillian
meadow beneath lake lillian
lillian & mccartney
lillian & mccartney
mccartney & moon
mccartney & moon
looking back to lillian
looking back to lillian
looking south from the saddle
looking south from the saddle
5750 tarn and mt claywood
5750 tarn and mt claywood
smoky olympus
smoky olympus

Day 2:  Headed southeast, following the ridge to Cameron Pass. The views are gorgeous, but it got smokier as the day went on. The trail is variously obvious, faint and nonexistent in places. I stayed at ~6200-6300 per the excellent description provided previously by AncientAmbler. My feet were unhappy with all the sidehilling so I took a break at Cameron Pass to adjust my (new, not broken-in) shoes.

5750 tarn
5750 tarn
yay trail!
yay trail!
cameron from the notch north of pt 6450
cameron from the notch north of pt 6450
brief break from sidehilling
brief break from sidehilling
anderson
anderson

From Cameron Pass, I headed up the ridge to Mt. Cameron. I think the easiest route to the true summit is to go almost all the way to the top of the false summit and then around - not below it. Summit views to the east/south/west were very hazy due to the Mt Dana fire. The Cameron glacier looked sad. Lost basin looked inviting. I went about ten minutes further along the ridge and came to the gully I wasn't interested in crossing. Luckily I could see that the slope eased up not far below, so I strapped on my gaiters and skiied down.

cameron basin
cameron basin
lost basin and smoky haze beyond
lost basin and smoky haze beyond
true summit center, behind false summit
true summit center, behind false summit
camera unable to focus due to smoky haze
camera unable to focus due to smoky haze
cameron glacier
cameron glacier
cameron moraine
cameron moraine
scree slopes to lost basin
scree slopes to lost basin
looking back up to cameron (false summit center, true summit just right of false summit)
looking back up to cameron (false summit center, true summit just right of false summit)
lost & tarn
lost & tarn

It was roughly happy hour so I fixed a backcountry margarita and went to soak my feet in the tarn. While I was lounging, a very healthy looking bear wandered up to the lake. I gave it a "hey bear" and it took off up the slope and over the ridge, but hung around the general area until I left the next day. The upper tarn and Lost peak put on a beautiful golden hour show. Saw zero people.

bear buddy on the ridge
bear buddy on the ridge
lost peak and tarn and camp
lost peak and tarn and camp
golden hour
golden hour

Day 3: Said good morning and goodbye to my bear friend who was back on the slope above the upper tarn. Dropped down to the lower Lost tarn, then worked my way around the massive talus field of Lost peak to pick up the trail to Lost pass at ~5700'. Hiked up the ridge from the pass to the base of the summit block, which was a very short class 3 scramble. Really great views of Thousand acre meadows, Hayden pass area peaks, and Mt Anderson from the summit!

lost peak talus bonanza
lost peak talus bonanza
lost pass
lost pass
ridge to lost peak from the pass
ridge to lost peak from the pass
lost summit
lost summit
ridge from lost summit block
ridge from lost summit block
lost river valley
lost river valley
pano view across the dosewallips
pano view across the dosewallips
lost summit, cameron beyond
lost summit, cameron beyond
looking toward hayden pass
looking toward hayden pass
thousand acre meadow & anderson
thousand acre meadow & anderson

Took trail back through Lost basin and up to Cameron Pass, then down into Cameron basin. Stopped for lunch at a bivy spot just above the huge meadow in the lower basin, what a stunning spot. One of my favorite views of the trip. Continued down trail following Cameron Creek.  It was 4:15 when I reached the turnoff for Grand Pass trail and I didn't really have a definitive campsite in mind, but I still had a few hours of daylight and thought I might be able to find a flat spot where the USGS map shows a glacier remnant just south of Grand pass. That turned out to be correct. Great views, but a terrifying place to sleep in a crazy lightning storm! This was the only spot on the whole trip where I had cell service, and I checked the NOAA forecast but don't recall any mention of lightning. I did note a 80-90% chance of rain on Sunday morning, so planned for an early start. Saw zero people.

pano looking SW from below cam pass
pano looking SW from below cam pass
wiggly trail to cam basin
wiggly trail to cam basin
cam basin
cam basin
cam basin
cam basin
grand pass tarn camp
grand pass tarn camp
view across the cameron creek valley from camp
view across the cameron creek valley from camp

Day 4: Woke up to miraculously dry conditions, so packed up quickly and was hiking by 7am.  It was a beautiful morning at Grand Pass and upper Grand Valley! Finally ran into other humans near Moose lake. Despite the forecast, I stayed dry until I was within sight of the parking lot!

grand pass view
grand pass view
grand pass tarn
grand pass tarn
descending to grand valley, moose
descending to grand valley, moose
grand valley
grand valley

~28 miles and 12k ft of gain
More photos
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RAW-dad
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 6:47 am 
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Nice TR.  up.gif  up.gif
Too bad plan A didn't work out - it's a fun traverse to Cedar Lake.  Here's a pic looking up from the top of the moraine.  Wouldn't want to come down that!

Looking up at Cameron
Looking up at Cameron
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IanB
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 7:59 am 
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Your photos are absolutely amazing!   up.gif

Darn nice trip for a "Plan C"!!   up.gif

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"Forget gaining a little knowledge about a lot and strive to learn a lot about a little."    - Harvey Manning
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Hesman
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 8:40 am 
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Nice looking pics and hike.  agree.gif

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You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss
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cascadetraverser
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 10:22 am 
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Nice linkage of cool place to cool place!  up.gif
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reststep
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 3:39 pm 
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Thank you for the report and pictures to some of my favorite places in the Olympic Mountains.

How bad was the thunder storm where you were? Did you consider bailing out to a lower elevation campsite?

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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rubywrangler
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 7:03 pm 
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RAW-dad wrote:
Too bad plan A didn't work out - it's a fun traverse to Cedar Lake

I hope to do it sometime! But will probably go in the same direction you did.

reststep wrote:
How bad was the thunder storm where you were? Did you consider bailing out to a lower elevation campsite?

The lighting was nearly continuous but there was no thunder and no rain and the lighting didn't seem to be striking the ground.  I did consider moving but it was a long way down to flat ground  in either direction, and since the storm didn't seem to actually be that close, I decided to stay put.
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RodF
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 12:53 pm 
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Yours was a great plan to bag the best views!  Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos! up.gif

rubywrangler wrote:
But as soon as I saw the false summit from the ridge, I knew I couldn't get to the pass that way, so Plan A was out.

me, too!

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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boomheist
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 7:28 pm 
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"Cloudy Pass" has now been referenced a couple of times by those wandering the Cameron traverse area, which is great. That's what we decided to call that place when Rod and I did that traverse a few years ago. Seems the name has stuck. I am thinking it's time to go back...
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raising3hikers
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 7:46 pm 
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That really looks like a great trip!  Thanks for sharing

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Eric Eames
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Brushbuffalo
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 8:13 am 
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Fabulous trip, Megan!
rubywrangler wrote:
The lighting was nearly continuous but there was no thunder and no rain and the lighting didn't seem to be striking the ground.  I did consider moving but it was a long way down to flat ground  in either direction, and since the storm didn't seem to actually be that close,

Typically  what is imprecisely called ' heat lightning' is  where the source is about 15 or more miles from the observer. The flash is seen ( if within a cloud, called  ' sheet lightning') but the sound (thunder) is not received.*

But that doesn't mean there is no hazard. It also doesn't necessarily warrant immediate remedial action, just  continual observation.

*Many of you know this. The light from lightning gets to an observer essentially instantaneously, while sound takes about 5 seconds to travel one mile. So five seconds from 'flash to crash'  means the source is only a mile away.
If you count 15 seconds from flash to crash, then soon after,  ten seconds, and minutes later just 5 seconds, you'd better  hope you are not on an exposed ridge, summit, open area, or even under a large sap- filled tree that could literally explode in a direct hit by lightning.
Here are some tips about staying safe with lightning around.

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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