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[TR] Graywolf Ridge to Walkinshaw - Standard 07/16/2023


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Trip: Graywolf Ridge to Walkinshaw - Standard

Trip Date: 07/16/2023

Trip Report:

When it looks like a hot and hazy weekend, I often catch myself looking west to the Olympics.  If the Cascades are baking and smokey, the Olympics can often be a good deal cooler and clearer.  Such was the case a couple weekends ago when I was casting about for solo trip options for a couple days.  After reviewing a too warm (for me) forecast for the North Cascades, I settled on a traverse of Graywolf ridge to Walkinshaw.  My brother, @ZakG , signed on last minute, gear considerations and meeting time discussed, and we met early on a Saturday to catch the Edmonds ferry to Kingston.


The hike up to Baldy was uneventful, if steep, warm and muggy.  We lunched on the lower false summit and headed up to the true summit for mug shots and a gander at the route ahead





We had only seen a couple people so far on the trip and we headed off into solitude to the top of Graywolf


For whatever reason, the USGS marker on Graywolf looked immaculate and solid gold, despite being placed in 1930??!


And then it was off to South Graywolf, and our bivy for the night.  Strangely, we couldn't find any flowing water below the large snowfields on the peak, and had to scrounge slushy water from a depression near the base of one.  Water is an issue on this ridge!


We arrived on the summit of South Graywolf in the late afternoon and settled in for a beautiful evening.  Great flat summit for a bivy, but no shelter and no water nearby.





The night was clear and relatively calm, with no snaffles.  We awoke to another beautiful day, though it promised to be warm.  Off we headed to Walkinshaw.




We stopped at the col south of South Graywolf to drop our overnight gear.  Lo and behold we ran into a soloist, Derek, from Longview, WA.  I'm not sure who was more surprised.  And so, being neighborly, Derek offered to join forces with us to keep rockfall under control.  We had a great time getting to know each other, while conferring over the best way upwards.  It was a bit steeper than any of us were expecting but never really severe.  There was maybe one small section of 4th class low down on the face, but mostly it was reasonable, if exposed, Cl. 3 ground.  The rock was solid, for the Olympics, but a helmet was definitely warranted.  Within an hour or so, we found ourselves on top.



Anybody know who these "Truckers" are who placed this register


Cool peak history in there...


And great views into the Needles


After almost an hour on top we carefully retraced our steps down the peak and back to our gear.  We bid Derek adieu as he headed up South Graywolf, and we hammered the knees down to the Royal Basin trail.  No brush on the descent from the South Graywolf-Walkinshaw col (if you are on the right path), but plenty of hard dirt and cemented scree- we were glad to be down that slope and onto the unexpectedly pleasant trail.  I had forgotten how nice it is!




And then, the usual- chips, beer, change of clothes at the car, followed by battling the masses back to the busy Puget lowlands. 2 hour ferry wait!  But a pleasant weekend all around....




Gear Notes:
Boots, poles, helmet, maybe ice axe and crampons early season

Approach Notes:
Baldy trail up and Royal Basin trail out
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Love it @JasonG !  I was up in the Silver Lake/Tull canyon area with Kiba that weekend.  Crazy amount of cars at the Dungeness trailhead.  Great job finding were they (mostly) aren’t! 

I’m ready to test my shoulder out btw.

<edit> I’m mixing up my weekends. This was when Kiba and I where up by Marmot pass! 😂

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Sweet!   Done that route twice now, just love rambling around that ridge.  Cool bivy up there where you can watch the sunset and sunrise from your bag.  

we were up past Camp Handy over 4th of July weekend on our first backpacking trip with baby.  I was actually surprised how not crowded it was that weekend.

Edited by OlympicMtnBoy
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