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Hesman
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PostFri Feb 23, 2007 10:12 am 
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Has anyone done any peak bagging/climbing, cross country travel or traverses in the Burke Range in the Olympics? I have a Mountaineers magazine in book format from the early 80's and there was a trip report in there by Robert L. Wood that described a trip he led to the area and it seemed pretty interesting. He wrote that it's rarely visited by people and its very remote and hard to get too.

I figure that some day when I'm feeling really ambitious  biggrin.gif I'll go there and was wondering if anyone had been there and had any suggestions.
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l
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PostFri Feb 23, 2007 6:07 pm 
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That's terra incognita up there - in other words 'Larry' territory. He'd probably call it an old school hike, a euphemism providing quick solutions for the life-weary.

Ascending the Mt. Norton ridge from the Elwha Trail is the easiest entrance. A good exit is much harder. Swinging over to Pyrites or even Fire Creek and down the Quinault is an option. You could also climb over Mount Taylor and exit via Low Divide and thus end where you began (Whiskey Bend). It's a very rugged hike no matter which route you choose.

BTW, if I was given the chance to build one more trail in the Olys, it would be to connect Enchanted Valley with the Elwha.
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Sabahsboy
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PostFri Feb 23, 2007 7:34 pm 
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I know of one person that did solo across via Quinault/Norton and to Low Divide.  I never did get to see the photos, though.  Same fellow accompanied recreation of the Press Expedition across Olys.  I could almost taste the desire to get atop the Burke Range.  Never did it.  Nuts.
I alternated North Shore of Lake Chelan with Enchanted Valley for a May hike for a number of years.  One is almost guaranteed to be wet, the other, dry.  Had a favorite tree at E. Valley for camp; Flick Creek Shelter or lakeshore for the Chelan trips.
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Dane
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PostFri Feb 23, 2007 9:32 pm 
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The Burke Range has been on my list for couple years now, and will likely remain there for several more years before I actually do it. It looks like an amazing, solitary, wild place.

Shacknasty: I agree completely...a connection from the Enchanted Valley to the Elwha would make for a lot of opportunities for extended trips and allow several big loops. I'm guessing the terrain is too rugged for a trail, but something heading up from the Enchanted Valley into the Burke Range and from there either crossing over to Martin's Park and Low Divide or else going along the ridge north of Crystal Lakes and the down the the Elwha is what I imagine.

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Without judgement what would we do? We would be forced to look at ourselves...

-Death
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mtnmouse
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PostSat Feb 24, 2007 7:20 pm 
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A friend and I went up that ridge between Delabarre and Buckinghorse several years ago to explore the area.  We left the trail somewhere north of Chicago camp and headed up.  Soon we hit a trail, or what we thought was a trail.  It was so well made and easy to follow we were wondering, did someone build a trail up here years ago?  Then it would dead end, only to start further on again and so forth.  Obviously it was an elk trail, and there are several outstanding elk trails all along that ridge.  So easy to travel on.  We returned the same way.

On another trip we left low divide, past martins lakes, towards Mt taylor.  Rather than go over Taylor which we heard was difficult, we dropped all the way down into the Rustler creek.  Followed easy elk trails all the way back up to bretherton pass.  We then headed towards Chimney peak, and turned north, dropping into the Godkin.  The upper Godkin is entirely dry, a subterrainian creek under the boulders, not to be seen.  Eventually the creek surfaces, and we climbed out of it a bit to the east, and ended up at Wilder.

A couple of friends of mine headed up into the Burkes somehow, I forget where, but what I do remember is they decended to the south into Enchanted valley, pushing their packs over cliffs and ledges, and down climbing.  It sounded awefull, and probably was.  Truely a remote part of the Olympics, and seldom visited.
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Luc
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PostTue Aug 26, 2008 9:41 am 
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HJT wrote:
Has anyone done any peak bagging/climbing, cross country travel or traverses in the Burke Range in the Olympics? I have a Mountaineers magazine in book format from the early 80's and there was a trip report in there by Robert L. Wood that described a trip he led to the area and it seemed pretty interesting. He wrote that it's rarely visited by people and its very remote and hard to get too.

I figure that some day when I'm feeling really ambitious  biggrin.gif I'll go there and was wondering if anyone had been there and had any suggestions.

I'm feeling ambitious, and i have the time off.  I've plotted the route(s) using word of mouth, photo records, views from martins park, and pieced together routes from the Oly's Climbers Guide.  The only stretch that seems iffy is the Chimney Peak spot.  So far, i'll be doing it solo if the weather holds up and the signs from here on out are thumbs up.  Any more info would be appreciated, esp photos of the Chimney Peak area.  I have 10 days.  Muncaster to either Norton or Sentinal then out.

Dane, sent you a PM.

Gimme the hidden details folks, sans poo-poo.

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RichP
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PostTue Aug 26, 2008 10:08 am 
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I think goforth, who is a member of this forum, has been in this area.
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Luc
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PostTue Aug 26, 2008 10:16 am 
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pm sent

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GNGSTR
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Sabahsboy
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PostTue Aug 26, 2008 10:42 am 
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Luc, a friend of mine solo'd the crossing many years ago and found it challenging though very doable.  He was a big guy...might be more challenging for us "lesser folks" of stature under 6 feet.  The route is up from the beautiful, elk grazed meadows that have alder cover like a park setting.  Someone in NW Hikers may have done this trip....good luck....it probably is the finest wilderness in Olympic NP.  Eventually, you should end up at Low Divide.

I am envious of your adventure.
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Luc
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PostTue Aug 26, 2008 11:13 am 
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thanks for the wishes.  i am about 5'10"
do you mention height because of small pitches?

i don't intend to carry climbing equipment as my experience in technical climbing is dated/rusty, and all routes (can) stay at 3 or below.

and to end up at low divide would mean a bailout because of weather or terrain problems.  i hope to make it all the way, but i won't let my optimism  put me in unnecc danger.

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GNGSTR
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Trailhead
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PostTue Aug 26, 2008 12:09 pm 
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My wife and I are headed in there this weekend!  Not quite sure which way we'll go in yet, especially after reading these posts.  I really was considering running the ridge between N Fork and E Fork Quinault from the river confluence.  Looks doable and I imagine there would be a game trail along it.  We have about 10 days.  Our plan is to explore the Muncaster Basin area and bag a few peaks.  I am also trying to break off my love affair with the Bailey Range route!

Luc - when are you going?
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Luc
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PostTue Aug 26, 2008 12:40 pm 
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i am planning on doing this Sept 7th thru the 17th.

how have you designed your route?

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GNGSTR
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silence
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PostTue Aug 26, 2008 12:56 pm 
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WOW ... most intriguing .. i'll be waitin with bated breath ..

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. Bob Dylan
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Sabahsboy
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PostWed Aug 27, 2008 1:31 pm 
Burke Range crossings planned
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Cannot wait until I see the many fine photos that will crop up on this thread proving that the Burke Range is one very fine place!

Re: personal stature....my friend found scrambling and carrying heavy packs far easier than myself, thus I was never considered for accomanying such a venture.  I am just 5'-7", down from a whopping 5'-10" of youth....goes to show how aging wears a body down (too much long distance running).

Being of few words, the old friend never expanded on his adventure and did not carry a camera.  In fact, I really have no proof but hear say that he actually accomplished the feat.  At a later date, he was invited and traveled with the anniversary team recreating the Press Expedition crossing.  The weather was pretty good for that winter trip and only one soaker was engaged, albeit cold as an Antarctic monkey's nut during a windy blow in summer (winter, down there).
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Bright River
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PostWed Aug 27, 2008 9:20 pm 
Burke Range , 1977
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My husband and I did the Burke Range in 1977, we started the trip with Bob Wood as a MOuntaineering Outing, and then split off on our own at  the north side of Mt Andersen when Bob decided to bail.  The following is the start of a story about this adventure that I began writing this winter:

BURKE RANGE TRAVERSE or CONSIDER THAT CRASHED AIRPLANE TO PROVIDE A CERTAIN SOMETHING FOR YOUR NEXT CLIMBING ADVENTURE.

Early on, I found that I wanted to stay out in the backcountry for as long as I could , and wander around climbing.  The only people that seemed to be interested in this sort of activity were people with a penchant for climbing traverses. In 1971, I did my first "traverse", The Ptarmigan, in a weekend and I was hooked. Well, this was long ago in an era when climbing destinations were not choosen by height alone.

Still, trying to find enough climbers to fill my summer with traverses was difficult, and I often  went to the Olympics to wander the trails and high basins when I could not find a partner. The Olympics were one of my favorite climbing destinations: it had beautiful and abundant meadows, lots of wildlife, ridgewalks, and rarely climbed peaks, which were quite varied and interesting. With Bob Wood, I did the Bailey range traverse three times, exiting 3 different ways - out through Rodwell-Dixson Pass and down the Elwha, out through Dodger Point, and over the top of Mt.  Olympus. Eventually, I had covered most of the climbing areas in the Olympics. But I had long had my eyes on a high ridge which rose steeply 5,000 feet above the Enchanted Valley of the Quinault. This ridge included two nice named peaks- Crystal and Chimney and about 3 more unnamed peaks.  I had never known anybody to mention it, let alone somebody with ambition to climb in the area.  All my efforts to muster a partner had failed.

When Bob Wood scheduled a Mountaineers climbing outing in 1977 -" A Traverse of the Burke Range, Olympics", I was mystified that a whole range existed in my favorite tramping grounds and I was unaware of its presence.  I called Bob and found out that the "Burke Range" was or included the The Crystal-Chimney Ridge.  I  immediately signed myself and my husband up for the outing.

Now lest you think that climbing in the Olymics is just a ho-hum activity, and below the realm of real climbing - that everything in the Olympics is just a stroll, I have found myself in the thick of more nasties too many time not to be a little wary here.  This trip included every nastie in the Olympics that I had encountered and a few more.  The beautiful and  mild rolling and lush meadows that seem to adorn various of the ridgetops,  are connected to U shaped valleys that offer anastomosing complex drainage patterns that leave you wondering what direction you are actually going, Vegetation thick enough to lead one walking on branches dangling over cliffs, water courses that are vertical square shaped troughs,  cliff faces with seemingly no rock in them at all, gullys that appear out of nowhere and are always counter to the direction you are traveling, parched dry hillsides in the midst of water that is unreachable, and a climate of its own that in large part means fog and rain.......


Fast summary: 4 days of rain, 2 clear, then 4 days of rain. Started on the Dosewallips.  we climbed : Wellesley, then Sentinel in the rain, traversed south from Sentinel to a camp on Silt creek below the Eel Glacier.  This is where Bob Wood decided to Bail, and three of us Husband M, JW and myself) continued on to the Burke range.   We finallly had a clear day as the 3 of us  traversed below the west Peak of Andersen and the top of the Hayes drainage near Watterson.  Here we encountered the remains of a crashed airplane.  My husband being a fighter pilot was muttering about it being a F so and so - there were not many large pieces.  I saw a small cone shaped cylinder  of metal and picked it up and was examining it, when my husband said "Oh!" - came tripping over, inserted one finger in the end and slowly teased out a white silk tail parachute strung with 1/2 inch yellow webbing.  I would have been less surprised if he had pulled a live white rabbit from the thing.  It had been perfectly folded inside and looked like it had never seen the light of day; However it was dated and 20 years old.
Before I realized what was happening, husband was cutting webbing from the diaphanous silk, and displaying his scavenger tendencies.  There was little time, we were crossing our fourth basin and wanted to get in a climb of Crystal, so we did not linger .

We had a late climb of crystal and were unable to examine the profusion of quartz crystals that littered the s slope, getting to Crystal Lake at dusk.  Up early the next morning, and climbed Watterson, BiCentenial (copper box put there on the first ascent the year before, has a large flage and leather bound copies of the constitution and the bill of rights), the Chimney- Ran the ridge SW.  Made the mistake of deciding not to follow our ridge route back and dropped north toward Crystal Lake.  We ended up dropping all the way down to Godkin Creek and then made a desparate dash to get back Crystal Lake hoping not to bivouac.   It was dark when we topped out and there was an icey snowfield only about 50 feet accross but ice.  We put on crampons and eventually pulled into camp VERY tired.  Windy and gusty and rain the next morning.  And then really WINDY - popped our tent and then ripped it before we could fight in down.  Spent the day in a small tent of the other guy , vibrating and buffeted by the wind.  None of us were dry, hadn't been from the first day.

Finally we got the tent repaired enough to use it, and camped over a cliff behind a screen of cedar - the rain and fog was blowing straight up the cliff.  Descended to a col, and JW wanted to go staight down the drainage, and I was very against it ( I was going to traverse the basin south and use an East spur - better than what we did.  But JW said tht he had done this route when they climbed Centenial the year before and it was fine - he did not mention that at that time it was completely covered with snow).

Almost immediately we were in one tight after another - zig zagging back and forth between the two forks of Andersen Creek, and using up the Crashed airplane webbing for long dangerous rappels over rubble and gravel cliffs( two full length ropes).  We almost never had a good anchor - pretty intense stuff.  Raining all the time.  At nightfall, we were bivouaced at the point between the two forks of the creek, desparately thirsty and licking rain off blueberry leaves ( no water all day).  We leveled a little Marmot mound, draped the tent over it, and crawled in for the night.  Got to the Andersen PAss trail the next day and exited over  the pass to Dosewallips TH.

Did another traverse yers later Piro's Spire, Diamond, Andersen and La Crosse

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..-and rest thee by many brooks and hearthsides without misgiving.  Rise free from care before the dawn and seek adventures.  Let the noon find thee by other lakes, and the night overtake thee everywhere at home. HDT
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