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#1128235 - 08/15/14 11:52 AM [TR] Olympic National Park - Bailey Range Traverse + Carrie, Pulitzer, Olympus 7/28/2014
timmy_t Offline

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 153
TRs: 22 Photos: 566
Loc: Mount Vernon
Trip: Olympic National Park - Bailey Range Traverse + Carrie, Pulitzer, Olympus

Date: 7/28 - 8/3/2014

Trip Report:
My brother and two friends and I hiked the Bailey Range traverse in Olympic National Park recently. We did a loop trip in 7 days, and we climbed Mts Carrie, Pulitzer, and all three summits of Olympus along the way. Instead of dropping a car at the Hoh River trailhead for the exit we climbed back up to the High Divide via the Hoh Lake trail, then hiked back to the Sol Duc trailhead to our car. This entailed an annoying 4200'+ of elevation gain on the last day but it was cool to make a loop out of the hike.

Here's our approximate route (in yellow) and camping spots (the red dots)

My wife and 6-month old son and my friend's wife hiked with us a bit beyond Sol Duc Falls to see us off.

We camped the first night at Sol Duc Park, as there were (predictably) no spots available anywhere on the High Divide, and we didn't leave early enough to make it to Boston Charlie's. Here we're passing Heart Lake just below the High Divide on the morning of day 2 of the trip.

Junction with the High Divide trail where it heads out toward the Bailey Range

Descending the Catwalk. It's funny that it has such notoriety, because there are many sketchier sections of trail over the next day or two -- steep, loose, unsavory gully crossings on both sides of 11 Bull Basin, for example.

We saw a couple mountain goats during our lunch break at Boston Charlie's Camp

We missed the supposed way trail up Mt Carrie, but we dropped packs after traversing halfway around the peak and scrambled up to the summit. Here's the summit ridge, looking back toward the High Divide. Two of us followed the rocky ridge and two of us stayed low and crossed the snowfields.

On the way down from the summit we saw a herd of mountain goats cooling off on a snow patch

Much of the rest of the day was steep sidehilling through beautiful wildflower meadows

Here's sunset from our campsite in Eleven Bull Basin (notice the silhouetted guy in the top right). We could see down the Hoh to the Pacific, very cool

The third morning we had more steep sidehilling, more unfun gully crossings, and some steep downclimbing

This was a tiring day. Even with maps, route descriptions, warnings, and GPS, we managed to drop into the Cream Lake Vortex. Next time we will definitely stay high, or possibly go around via the back side of Stephen Peak. We had lunch near the wide inflow to Cream Lake, and Kevin found these antlers near the lake

We took a very quick dip in Cream Lake; it was COLD!, wow

After skirting the lake and following a small stream we located the gully that led toward Ferry Basin and followed it up, then traversed right to a beautiful campsite near a waterfall that fed Lake Billy Everett. This was my second-favorite campsite of the trip (after the eventual Camp Pan). We saw a black bear near the lake, the second bear sighting of the trip.

The mosquitoes at the lake were thick

So the next morning we fled the Lake Billy Everett scene

We climbed above the lake on easy benches toward Upper Ferry Basin. Here Brennan is hiking past a tarn beneath Mt Pulitzer. Just above this spot we ran into a party of two who were on a 12-day trip from Dosewallips to the Sol Duc, the only people we saw on the traverse besides a group camped at Boston Charlie's.

We dropped packs and scrambled up Mt Pulitzer. Here's Ferry Basin from the top, with Stephen Peak (above Cream Lake) in the background and Mt Carrie on the left

Near the Mt Pulitzer saddle, with Olympus in the background: we're trying to figure out where we came from, and where we should have gone, on the Cream Lake section

Kevin surveys the Goldie River Valley area from Mt Pulitzer

Most of day 4 was spent on easy up-and-down snow and rock travel along the spine of the Bailey Range, with amazing views in all directions

We made camp below Bear Pass and above Dodwell-Rixon Pass that night

The next morning, day 5, we dropped into the Queets Basin

Once we started traversing beneath cliffs the route was very difficult to follow, and very bushwhacky. We were crawling on all fours beneath slide alder, then scrambling up a very steep wooded hillside trying to find our way to the Humes Glacier. I wonder if it's possible to stay low and follow the river up? At any rate, eventually we took a snack break in this "beautiful hidden basin" (guidebook description) before dropping to the headwall beneath the Humes

We had lunch here, at the Humes Glacier terminus

Then we climbed the right side of the Humes up to Blizzard Pass

And dropped 600 feet down to the spectacularly-situated Camp Pan

This is the Hoh Glacier from Camp Pan, and the headwaters of the Hoh River

From Camp Pan Brennan looks up toward Mt Olympus with the Hoh Glacier below

Hoh Glacier cracks

These snowy ledges are the descent route from Camp Pan down to the Hoh Glacier

The next morning (day 6) we woke up @4:30am to this Camp Pan sunrise

The sunrise a few minutes later

We roped up (finally) and headed out on the very gentle Hoh Glacier. After a little crevasse maze section we topped out on the Hoh Glacier near the Middle and East summits of Olympus

We dropped packs and scrambled up the East Peak of Mt Olympus (Erik is singing Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker": "Your love is like a tidal wave", in case you were wondering)

From the East Peak summit we saw these two 3-person rope teams on the Snow Dome far below

We hiked back down the loose rock and snow to our packs and made our way up and over the top of Mt Olympus' Middle Peak. The downclimb from this summit features very steep, very loose rock, and it was very unpleasant. We did it one at a time.

We stopped to melt snow on the upper Blue Glacier, then headed toward the true summit, the West Peak. The other 2 parties had arrived shortly before us so we had to wait our turn on the summit rocks.

Brennan, Kevin, Tim, and Erik on the summit of Mt Olympus

We still had a long way to descend but we enjoyed the perfect weather on the summit, and Erik brought along a summit orange which he shared. Here's the Blue Glacier's icefall on our descent from the Snow Dome

Crossing the Blue Glacier was strange, with moulins and noisy running water just beneath the surface of the ice

Finally back on real trail, at the moraine trail above Glacier Meadows

We dropped all the way to a small campsite on the Hoh River a couple miles above Lewis Meadow, reaching camp @8pm. The next morning (day 7) we turned right at the junction up to Hoh Lake, where Brennan hugged this tree.

4000' of climbing later we had lunch and a swim at Hoh Lake

We crested the High Divide above Hoh Lake, then headed back into the forest and out to our car at the Sol Duc trailhead. The only casualty was Kev's hiking boot: the sole started separating from the boot on day 2, so we used some cord, sleeping pad repair glue, and duct tape to keep it together.

Thanks for reading!

Edited by timmy_t (08/18/14 02:41 PM)

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#1128251 - 08/16/14 06:34 AM Re: [TR] Olympic National Park - Bailey Range Traverse + Carrie, Pulitzer, Olympus 7/28/2014 [Re: timmy_t]
Bigtree Offline
addicted to

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 456
TRs: 10 Photos: 12
Great TR. I was atop Mt. Olympus last Sunday and was wondering about alternate rtes to the long plod up the Hoh.

#1128260 - 08/16/14 01:37 PM Re: [TR] Olympic National Park - Bailey Range Traverse + Carrie, Pulitzer, Olympus 7/28/2014 [Re: timmy_t]
Fairweather Offline

Registered: 06/14/01
Posts: 8916
TRs: 37 Photos: 148
The ultimate Olympic loop, IMO. Thanks for sharing your trip. The photos are very very nice as well; what kind of camera did you take?

I have a week off (finally) in mid-September and your TR might make me change my plans.

#1128264 - 08/16/14 02:46 PM Re: [TR] Olympic National Park - Bailey Range Traverse + Carrie, Pulitzer, Olympus 7/28/2014 [Re: Fairweather]
timmy_t Offline

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 153
TRs: 22 Photos: 566
Loc: Mount Vernon
I took an Olympus (ha!, of course) OM-D E-M5 and a few good prime lenses.

Edited by timmy_t (08/16/14 02:47 PM)


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