Forum Index > Trip Reports > Baldy and Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn - 6/17/11
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seattlehikertoo
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seattlehikertoo
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PostMon Jun 20, 2011 2:30 am 
I made an afternoon trip to the Olympics for a hike that I have wanted to do for a long time.  The weather was iffy still, but what else is new.  I took the bright and early 10:30a ferry at over to Kingston, but needed to stop for supplies.  After some last minute work details, slow traffic, and a couple of wrong turns, I made it to the end of FR 2860-120 (elev 3200 ft) where the trail begins by about 2p.  By the time I headed down the boot path to Mueller creek, it must have been 2:15p or so, but I was too scared to look at the time.  This is why you always bring your headlamp no matter what.  As it turns out, I didn't need it, but being pressed for time is no fun on one of the few relatively sunny hiking days I've had during this seldom sunny spring.

The first 250 yards of the hike down the abandoned forest road are not pretty as you pass charred camp fire pits on your way down to Mueller creek (losing 100 ft or so of elev).
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Ugly start to trail with unkept campfires
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Ugly start to trail with unkept campfires
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn:Looking back on Forest road FR 2860-120, and my lonely vehicle.
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn:Looking back on Forest road FR 2860-120, and my lonely vehicle.
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Mueller Creek crossing challenges
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Mueller Creek crossing challenges
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Mueller Creek 1/8 mile in
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Mueller Creek 1/8 mile in

Be prepared to get wet there unless you do some fancy rock hopping (I managed to avoid a foot full of water).  After this you have to watch for a little boot path on your right about .15 miles past the creek.  This is the Maynard Burn trail.  It will follow the road for 100 feet and then head steeply W and then NW up the spine of the ridge leading to PT 6537.  A half mile into the journey, you cross the old road again, where the way up is obvious
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Crossing the road and going straight up c3500.
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Crossing the road and going straight up c3500.

- it just crosses the road around 3500 ft and goes straight up some sand and scree. The trail is steep, but in great shape as there aren't many ankle twisting rocks or roots. I was making great time considering I was in my leather mountaineering boots and carrying snowshoes, spikes, poles, ice axe, etc etc.

At 1.41 miles and 4942 ft, you'll see the National Park Service sign.  The ridge will follow the border to the NP all the way to Baldy.  You will encounter the NPS markings from time to time.  There is still no snow in site.  I finally started seeing minor patches of snow on the trail around 5100, just before the camp at 1.58 mi/5177 ft.  This quickly went to snow cover several feet deep in places by 5400 ft.
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Mt Deception from Maynard Burn trail
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Mt Deception from Maynard Burn trail
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Ridge snow-free in spots c5750. NPS boundary follows ridge.
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Ridge snow-free in spots c5750. NPS boundary follows ridge.
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Plenty of snow at 5400 feet N and NE aspect of ridge. Summer trail may go to right of screen. I  stayed on the spine (center)
Baldy Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn: Plenty of snow at 5400 feet N and NE aspect of ridge. Summer trail may go to right of screen. I  stayed on the spine (center)
Staying on snow and near ridge fastest c5800 ft
Staying on snow and near ridge fastest c5800 ft

I know in the summer, the trail veers off the ridge c5600 ft and peters out, but it was easier to stay on the ridge with the snow.  Plus, the snow was nice and consolidated for some of the best snow travel I've had all spring.  I was able to boot it all the way to Baldy without traction devices.  Even with some route finding and picture snapping, I was at point 6537 in 1:25 or so. It's 2.65 miles and 3500 ft of gain according to my GPS.
Looking S up Royal Basin from Pt6537.
Looking S up Royal Basin from Pt6537.
Looking SW to Grey Wolf Ridge from Pt6537. Baldy summit on the right.
Looking SW to Grey Wolf Ridge from Pt6537. Baldy summit on the right.
Looking ENE to Tyler Pk from Pt 6537
Looking ENE to Tyler Pk from Pt 6537

Baldy summit 25 minutes later after more picture-taking.
Looking back (E) to Pt 6537. Tyler Peak on left.
Looking back (E) to Pt 6537. Tyler Peak on left.
Looking N from the saddle between Pt 6537 and Baldy
Looking N from the saddle between Pt 6537 and Baldy

The ridges are snow free in spots, but staying on the snow was safe in most areas.  There was a good swath of snow-free travel between Pt 6537 and Baldy.  The flowers are coming out so please stay on snow where possible if you go.
Sedum sprouting pink flowers. This is why you should try to stay on the snow as much as possible until trail melts out.
Sedum sprouting pink flowers. This is why you should try to stay on the snow as much as possible until trail melts out.
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 031
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 031
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 034
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 034

You lose about 125 feet of gain in the saddle before regaining that plus another 300 over to the Baldy summit.  The summit will appear to be a rocky outcropping straight up the ridge, but it is actually off to the right of there as you are going up.
Looking SW to Grey Wolf Ridge from Pt6537. Baldy summit on the right.
Looking SW to Grey Wolf Ridge from Pt6537. Baldy summit on the right.

I made it to the summit in 1:45 or so and couldn't stop taking pictures of snowy peaks and interesting skies.  I tried to name all the peaks, but it's late and I am doing this fast.  Please correct any errors.
Looking NW from Baldy Summit
Looking NW from Baldy Summit
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 043
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 043
GreyWolf and Olympus from Baldy
GreyWolf and Olympus from Baldy
Looking SW to Olympus (right of center) from Baldy summit
Looking SW to Olympus (right of center) from Baldy summit
Looking SW to huge slides on Grey Wolf NE aspect with Mt Cameron rising above the corniced NW ridge.
Looking SW to huge slides on Grey Wolf NE aspect with Mt Cameron rising above the corniced NW ridge.
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 071
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 071
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 072
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 072
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 073
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 073
Looking NW from Baldy summit
Looking NW from Baldy summit
Looking N into the Strait of Juan De Fuca from Baldy summit
Looking N into the Strait of Juan De Fuca from Baldy summit
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 081
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 081
Looking N across the Strait of Juan De Fuca from Baldy summit
Looking N across the Strait of Juan De Fuca from Baldy summit
Looking S from Baldy to I'm guessing right to left:Grey Wolf, Clark,Needles,Deception,Mystery,Hal Foss,Fricaba
Looking S from Baldy to I'm guessing right to left:Grey Wolf, Clark,Needles,Deception,Mystery,Hal Foss,Fricaba
Zoom looking S from Baldy into Deception Basin guarded by Fricaba,Hal Foss,Mystery,Deception. The Needles to the right
Zoom looking S from Baldy into Deception Basin guarded by Fricaba,Hal Foss,Mystery,Deception. The Needles to the right
Looking S from Baldy-Zoom of The Needles
Looking S from Baldy-Zoom of The Needles
Zoom looking S from Baldy into Royal Basin guarded by Fricaba,Hal Foss,Mystery,Deception. The Needles to the right
Zoom looking S from Baldy into Royal Basin guarded by Fricaba,Hal Foss,Mystery,Deception. The Needles to the right
Looking S from Baldy to Deception, Clark and The Needles
Looking S from Baldy to Deception, Clark and The Needles
Looking S from Baldy Rt to Royal Basin peaks with Grey Wolf to the right.
Looking S from Baldy Rt to Royal Basin peaks with Grey Wolf to the right.

After spending at least an hour there milling around taking photos and looking for the summit register, I decided I would try Grey Wolf.  The last ridge to the summit looked a bit corniced from Baldy, but it couldn't hurt to check it out, and I figured much of it had backed off the ridge, or there would be a stable enough way without being near the edge of the cornices.  This turned out to be exactly the case.  I dropped 600 ft down steep scree and sand to the saddle,
Heading down from Baldy along the route to Grey Wolf
Heading down from Baldy along the route to Grey Wolf

but naturally, I took a bit of a circuitous route around to the left (SE) side of Pt 6527.  A couple hundred yards of that steep side-hilling sand and scree nonsense forced me back up on the ridge for good.  STAY ON THE RIDGE.  After regaining the ridge, I dropped again into the final saddle before ascending the final ridge.  I ditched the snow shoes on the spine next to the receding 6-foot high wall of snow and donned my ice axe and some microspikes for a little extra protection.  The snow was excellent and I had no trouble reaching the summit.  For some, it might seem a little scary because it's a long slide down into a bowl full of avy debris, but stopping in the event of a slip shouldn't be a problem if you know how to use your ice axe.  Here is a picture of the final approach and summit elev 7218:

Grey Wolf. Looking back on my route
Grey Wolf. Looking back on my route
Grey Wolf summit marker. Fog rolling in.
Grey Wolf summit marker. Fog rolling in.
Looking SW from Grey Wolf over the Grey Wolf drainage
Looking SW from Grey Wolf over the Grey Wolf drainage
Coming down off Grey Wolf
Coming down off Grey Wolf
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 117
BaldyGreyWolf-110617 - 117
Looking NW from saddle below Grey Wolf at I'm guessing Hurricane Ridge (left) and Deer Park (right)
Looking NW from saddle below Grey Wolf at I'm guessing Hurricane Ridge (left) and Deer Park (right)
Looking N into the Strait of Juan De Fuca with 600 feet of sand and scree on Mt Baldy waiting for me (center)
Looking N into the Strait of Juan De Fuca with 600 feet of sand and scree on Mt Baldy waiting for me (center)
Looking SE at Mt Rainier rising between Buckhorn Mt summits from the saddle NW of Greywolf summit
Looking SE at Mt Rainier rising between Buckhorn Mt summits from the saddle NW of Greywolf summit
Route up to Baldy and Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn trail
Route up to Baldy and Grey Wolf via Maynard Burn trail

It took an hour to get over to Grey Wolf from Baldy. I was back at the care by 8:30p

Dist to Pt 6537: 2.65mi, 3500 ft
Dist to Baldy: 3.28mi, 3915 ft
Dist to Grey Wolf 4.74mi, 5100 ft
Round Trip: 9.24mi, 6300 ft (this seems high, but i guess you do lose 1000 each way)
Total time up including and hour for photos and exploring was about 3:45
Total round trip time 6:30

Also, directions wise, here's a little attempt at clarity. From Seattle:
1) Take LEFT (south) on LOUELLA Rd off of Hwy 101 after passing Blyn, and just before the east entrance to Sequim Bay State Park.
2) Go 1 mile to a "T" and take a left. This is PALO ALTO RD
3) Go 5.6 miles and the road becomes gravel/dirt at a fork with a sign with Dungeness Forks Campground pointing RIGHT
. GO RIGHT onto FR 2880. Ignore all signs and turns up to this point.
4) Go 1.8 miles and the road takes a hard right over a bridge the crosses the Dungeness River.
You pass the camp on your right shortly thereafter.
5) In .7 miles, you will come to another turning opportunity. Make sure you stay left here and head south on the main FR which is FR 2870.
6) In another 2.3 miles after climbing steeply and descending steeply, at the next major fork
, stay RIGHT.  The sign neglects to say it, but this is FR 2860.
7) In another 3.9 miles on FR 2860, you come to a sign pointing to the left  for FR 2870, and a sign to the Dungeness Trail - 2 and Tubal Cain Trail - 6. Stay RIGHT here.  There is no sign, but it is FR 2860
8) Go 1.7 miles on FR 2860-120 to the end.

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Phil
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Phil
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PostMon Jun 20, 2011 5:33 am 
seattlehikertoo wrote:
By the time I headed down the boot path to Mueller creek, it must have been 2:15p or so, but I was too scared to look at the time.

lol.gif I like that.  Truthfully I wouldnt have thought that trip could be done so fast.  Great pics, and interesting report!

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Ancient Ambler
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PostMon Jun 20, 2011 6:38 am 
Excellent trip, report and photos.  You obviously made it to the end of the -120 spur road.  I'm assuming the washout is still there, about 3/10 mile in from the main road?  When I looked at it a few weeks ago there was room to get by on the north side of the washout,  but I didn't want to chance it caving in from vehicle weight.  Maybe I was being overly cautious.  Glad you got such a nice day to head up to Gray Wolf, which offers some of the best views in the Olympics.

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iron
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iron
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PostMon Jun 20, 2011 8:55 am 
good stuff. beautiful area! glad you got some sun and warmth. fast times as always.

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seattlehikertoo
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seattlehikertoo
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PostMon Jun 20, 2011 2:48 pm 
Ancient-Your info a while back was very helpful, except I forgot about not getting suckered into side-hilling around Pt6527 after descending from Baldy.

FYI-the road FR 2680-120 is fine now. There are some rocks that have tumbled down onto it within 2 miles from the end, but they are easily passable. FR 2870 looks like it has been recently graded especially as it rises and drops steeply past Dungeness Forks Campground.

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wreamer
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PostMon Jun 20, 2011 4:43 pm 
Thanks for the TR.  Love pic 31 of the Olympic Mountain Cutleaf Synthris, one of 11 endemic plants*  on the Olympic peninsula!

*From Olympic National Park, A Natural History, Revised addition by Tim McNulty University of Washington Press, 2009

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"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."
-Thomas Jefferson-
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RumiDude
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PostMon Jun 20, 2011 5:07 pm 
Cool pics and great TR.  I want to get up there soon.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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seattlehikertoo
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seattlehikertoo
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PostMon Jun 20, 2011 9:01 pm 
Thanks for saving me the time of looking up the name of that purple flower...I am going to stitch some panos when I get a chance...

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Rainie Too!
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PostTue Jun 21, 2011 6:30 am 
Wow! Pretty fast, with that much elevation. Nice to see some bare ground. Looks like a great workout with views. up.gif  up.gif

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