Forum Index > Trip Reports > Bailey Range Traverse -> Cameron/Grand - 31 Aug to 4 Sept
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rmottenad
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 5:19 pm 
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My friend and I completed a trip from Sol Duc, through the Bailey Range, down the Elwha, then up and over Hayden/Lost/Cameron/Grand/Moose from Monday to Friday last week. We were blessed with bluebird skies the whole time and met some nice folks along the way. The hike was much harder than I envisioned and the mileage we covered was at times quite humbling!

CalTopo Link

Day 1 - Sol Duc TH to High Divide Ridge
We got on trail around 3PM, lot wasn't too crowded and the trail thinned considerably after Sol Duc Falls. We met some people at Deer Lake, including a guy who was using his wife's trekking pole with fishing gear attached, and he was having some success with it. Ingenious. We kept onward up and around Bogachiel Peak around 7PM (next time I would climb over it as the elev gain loss looks the same). At this point we were running out of light but we found quite a nice established site on the ridge straight S of No Name Lake. We only missed our destination of Cat Basin by like 4 miles! The gear shakedown, car shuttle, and food stops took their toll on our start time.

The only wildlife we saw until the last day (this is from the car near Obstruction Point)

Part of 7 Lakes Basin

Day 2 - High Divide Ridge to Stephen Lake

Our goal today was Ferry Basin about 12 miles away... and we soon realized a recurring theme that map miles are not created equal in the Baileys. We consistently fell behind where we thought we would be, just based on the nature of the terrain! Anyway, the ridge above 7 Lakes and into Cat Basin is great ridge walking and it was special in the morning as the sun began to gain power. As we passed Cat Peak, we met a lone hiker who had a miniscule pack and was hiking very quick. A good chat with him then we crossed the catwalk which was not too problematic, but I think we ended up off the route at a couple points as the moves we made were not for the faint of heart. I tried not to look down.

Olympus from the High Divide

Making the call

After passing Boston Charlie's we were having lunch and came to the realization that it's not a good idea to leave the keys to your "ending" car in your "starting" car or else you may have to call your significant other and have them drive 4 hours to get spares to you  shakehead.gif Luckily we still had a bit of cell service at this point (amazingly after this point we did not have service the rest of the hike until Moose Peak). If we would have discovered this later it would have been a much different story when we finished!

We made our way towards 11 Bull Basin and onward in the afternoon heat, sweating profusely and exercising our right calf muscles extensively. The late afternoon crept up on us and we opted to hike over to Stephen Lake instead of thrashing through Cream Lake basin into the evening. We left the trail at 47.8741, -123.6253, and headed for the tree gap, enjoying the directness of the climbing and gaining altitude at the rate we chose. At the pass (47.8733, -123.6191), we met a couple who were in a party of six, they were heading south and then were going to climb Olympus before heading out the Hoh, I hope they made it!

They, and another group of two guys, camped on the West shore and we camped on some broken rock ledges on the East shore. A quick skinny dip to wash the grime off was all we needed. Speaking of which, a full moon during this trip was seemingly as bright as the sun and my partner actually donned shades when he slept on his back  cool.gif

Looking toward some gullies (the rocky part of the gullies is not the problem, it's the descent into them on loose dirt and gravel. I didn't find them particularly harrowing compared to the catwalk though, but to each their own)

Carrie's flanks

First water for us after Boston Charlie's (47.8850, -123.6474)

11 Bull Basin

North Baileys

Looking up at the route for the morning. We climbed the left 2/3 of this image (the steep scree field is the OMG route)

Perfection. Pass into the Basin is low point left of center.

Stephen Lake

Day 3 - Stephen Lake to Queets Basin
Woke up today with quite a bit of dew on our bags, and fitful sleep due to the moon, but the weather again was perfect. We began our climb up the flanks of Stephen, picking easy lines up the broken hillside until about 5600' at which point we climbed south to make the NE ridge at about 6200' per the OMG. I was very relieved to see easy terrain from the NE ridge all the way to the treed ridge. Then, we worked our way across intermittent snow and rock to gain the ridge trail at 47.8658, -123.5885. We worked along this ridge, moving left and right as it looked like the path might go, but it was easy to lose and we made our own way at times. There is a spiky peak at one point that breaks the ridge and forced us right, at this point we just got off the ridge and moved along either the path or a game trail until we reached and started descending at 47.8567, -123.5763.

Ferry basin is idyllic, as are the two lakes around 5400' above it, and we might two retirees and had a chat, and then met two women coming into that basin as well, and chatted for a while. Big thanks to those girls who advised us that the Childs glacier is not a "go" with out an ax, and that the route below it and up the rock is pretty solid (which it was). The route up from Lone Tree up the snow slope (47.8267, -123.5708) is steep and requires focus; surprisingly I saw no tracks on the snow which I would have expected for those with axes or traction.

The rest of this day was all time and we enjoyed the incredible ridge walking, views of Olympus, and the massive Bear glacier. We summitted Bear Pass Peak and walked the ridge S, then dropped down across Queets Basin to camp near a lake next to Dodwell Rixon Pass. In camp early (5ish) allowed us ample time to dry our dewy bags/pads, skip rocks, and take another swim. Near our site was an outlet which burbled peacefully as the sun set. It was great.

NE Ridge of Stephen (Stephen Lake at left)

Looking down the tree ridge

Obligatory Lone Tree shot

Childs Glacier, we went up center right near the waterfall and worked diagonal left on the black rock. It felt like a staircase as it is very solid, a stark contrast the footing on the rest of the rocky areas

Typical ground cover along the South Baileys

Ferry Basin from just north of Bear Pass Peak

Sunset from camp

Day 4 - Queets Basin to Hayden Pass
Because of our car key debacle, we needed to make it to Obstruction Point by Friday at 4PM so we worked backward and realized we needed to put in a couple big days - today would be about 21 miles to W side of Hayden pass where our permit allowed for camping. The beautiful morning belied the verdant hell that awaited us on our descent down the Elwha River, which was a comedy of errors. First, I tripped and fell on easy walking and sliced open my hand pretty badly which led to a fair amount of bleeding/bandaging/sweating the bandaging off/bleeding cycles. Then, even though user benneke advised me that there was a cairn and flagging on when to find the way path into the forest west of the river, I stubbornly followed the OMG and entered at about 3400' (47.7664, -123.5767). Big mistake, as we ended up climbing sketchy, wet, foliage covered slabby benches to reach a bench on the topo, which led nowhere. If we had stayed on that 3500' contour we would have probably hit the way path eventually but would never have known we were on it. We were forced to admit defeat on that route and downclimbed a small gully to our starting point, which surprisingly wasn't terrible but did claim to top of one of my trekking pole handles.

We found the proper route (47.7640, -123.5744) and ascended through the brush again, this way was marginally better but still led to some hairy gully crossings only made possible by swinging across holding onto slide alder and small evergreens. Advice here is to pack poles that are shorter than your pack, as we needed our hands, and my poles continuously got stuck on low hanging branches. We did manage to keep sight of footprints most of the time (I believe they belonged to those women we met near Ferry Basin), and soon emerged in meadows (47.7640, -123.5744). Good trail met us and we nearly cried from joy. We had wasted a lot of time and were fairly scratched up but were no worse for the wear. This lasted for a while, we bushwacked again to get to where the two rivers meet, and we walked in the river for a while til we got to the trail at 47.7548, -123.5655. We had made it to the superhighway and were happy to know that we'd be on bomber trail for the rest of the trip.

The rest of the day was uneventful. I took a wrong turn and ended up at the Happy Hollow shelter which was really cool and made me wonder the history of it. The climb up to Hayden Pass begins in beautiful open forest, and continues into the burn areas from the Hayden 2016 fire. It was getting late in the day so the heat here was not too much of a concern and offered decent views. We never saw the campsite west of Hayden Pass, so we camped in the rocks on the pass. Surprisingly not a breath of wind this night which was welcome as it was dusty.

Snow near top, easily passable on the N side

The entrance to the way trail

Elwha basin falls. Impressive.

Feel the burn

Day 5 - Hayden Pass to Obstruction Point
After working so hard yesterday we woke up a bit sore but excited for the day's scenery and light packs. These basins (Hayden, Lost, Cameron, Grand) have so many TR's about them I won't elaborate further but it is some of the best walking I've yet had. We saw three bears in the hills atop Lost Pass where we had our breakfast. The hiking was great over all the passes, even though we were getting very tired by the top of Grand Pass and the climbs along Lillian Ridge, we wore tired smiles and marveled at the good weather and enjoyed some conversations with other hikers. We ate lunch atop Moose Peak with out backs against some wind walls, and then made the rest of the way along the ridge to Obstruction Point by 430PM where we encountered day hikers again and thank goodness for social distancing as our musk must have been offensive! Luckily my hiking partner's wife arrived after only a short wait at the trailhead!

Cameron Pass area

Cameron Basin

Cameron Pass

Tired but happy and thinking about dinner
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RAW-dad
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 8:44 pm 
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Nice job! You put in some serious miles through difficult terrain.
The Snowfinger looked pretty sad. frown.gif
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Jaberwock
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 9:02 pm 
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Very nice and great photos! I slept just above you at Hayden (heard you but didnít see you that eve) and passed you in Cameron on the way out smile.gif
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benneke
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 9:47 am 
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Great report, thanks for the shout-out! Those coordinates from the climbers guide should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. Steven Lake looks incredible, I wish we went that way on our trip.
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JonnyQuest
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 1:44 pm 
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Wow, not much left of the snowfinger except for a couple of knuckle bone shards.
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slugsworth
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 2:15 pm 
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Bad@ss Hike!

Well done, what was the total mileage?
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rmottenad
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 5:40 pm 
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Jaberwock - Fun to find out where you were! My buddy and I looked at each other and wondered if you had popped out of a marmot hole in Cameron Basin smile.gif You were moving quick, what was your trip?
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rmottenad
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 5:43 pm 
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slugsworth wrote:
Bad@ss Hike!

Well done, what was the total mileage?

Thanks! Per Caltopo it says about 63 miles or so.
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rmottenad
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 5:44 pm 
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benneke wrote:
Great report, thanks for the shout-out! Those coordinates from the climbers guide should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. Steven Lake looks incredible, I wish we went that way on our trip.

You're welcome thanks again for the route beta smile.gif If not for you we would have probably kept fighting through the jungle!
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rmottenad
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 5:44 pm 
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RAW-dad wrote:
Nice job! You put in some serious miles through difficult terrain.
The Snowfinger looked pretty sad. frown.gif

Thanks RAW dad
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Silas
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 11:39 am 
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I am envious. Two of the best spots in the Olympics in only one trip. Props. Sad to see the snow finger so close to extinction. Glad to see you cranking out those miles. A few weeks ago we saw a few bears in Lost Basin as well. Seems like they like the place. Hella berries.
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mountainflamingo
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 1:09 pm 
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Your experience getting out of the Elwa gully and into the basin sounds similar to ours. We were on the "trail" after the cairn and it just turned into randomly following whatever boot tracks we could find and feeling off trail as we bushwhacked. It was definitely a good feeling to finally get into Elwa Basin...the the schwacking again.
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canadug
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 1:24 pm 
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Awesome report.  Thanks so much.

Once the Can/US border opens I look forward to more exploring in Olympic Nat Park
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rmottenad
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 8:03 pm 
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mountainflamingo wrote:
Your experience getting out of the Elwa gully and into the basin sounds similar to ours. We were on the "trail" after the cairn and it just turned into randomly following whatever boot tracks we could find and feeling off trail as we bushwhacked. It was definitely a good feeling to finally get into Elwa Basin...the the schwacking again.

I'm so happy to hear that our we didn't miss the yellow brick road after all. It sounds like everyone has a similar experience smile.gif But hey if it were easy I think the Baileys would be overrun
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rmottenad
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 8:04 pm 
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canadug wrote:
Awesome report.  Thanks so much.

Once the Can/US border opens I look forward to more exploring in Olympic Nat Park

Thanks for reading our report. I have to admit I've never done any hiking in Canada and I've lived my whole life two hours from the border. We have to get to Jasper or Banff or even around Vancouver at some point!
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