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snowman

Bailey Range Traverse

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Does anybody have any info on the bailey range traverse in the olympics? Is this a worthy trek? Is there any good peaks to scramble up on the Way?

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One of my climbing buddies did the traverse a few weeks ago with his wife and two kids (track stars). Their main focus was to get thru in 4 days, south to north and get to Sol Duc hot springs. Weather and visibility were generally poor. Solitude factor vey high. They didn't see anyone during the middle two days. Although they didn't see any bears he said they could smell them more than once! He deemed it worthy, his wife said "never again". I loaned him my GPS and he said it was indispensible along with his map for figuring out where they were in the fog. Hope you get more replies as I am interested in doing this next year and Ed is a bit of a sandbagger.

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I did the traverse back in 95(?) and found it to be exceptionally beautiful. I wouldn't do it in a hurry. Its long and steep at places. The scenery is spectacular, though, It runs along the divide just above the Ho and across the valley from Olympus. It skirts some pretty summits. It generally does not gain or lose a ton of altitude, it runs along an endless traverse. Take your time and climb some of the peaks. I base-camped on several and did 1/2 day summits. Mt. Carrie is great. Several other scrambles further east. The description in the Olympic Trail Guide appendix is incredibly sketchy but it all comes together.

Water may be an issue, this time of year, I did it in August and ended up drinking a lot of tarn-melt (translate: goat piss) Bring a filter.

One of my favorite all time backpacks. Most worthy!

[This message has been edited by aws (edited 10-05-2001).]

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This is a pretty old thread here but I wanted to resurrect it to ask this question of those :

 

How many days is does it reasonably take to do the Bailey traverse in August? I have heard 4 or 5 days.

 

Also - What alpine gear would you suggest having at that time of the year?

 

I am in the very initial stages of planning a trip out there and would appreciate feedback from those of you who have doen it. Thanks wave.gif

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Hello,

 

I did it a few times, and would be glad to give you some informations.

 

What do you mean by 4/5 days?

on the bailey range only?

including on trail approach/exit?

including transportation to trailhead?

 

count between 2 or 4 days between Cat Walk and Queets Basin, depending on how fast you go, and how precise you are at route finding (fog might be more challenging). Then half a day to go down the Elwah snow finger (again, route finding and bushwaking might delay you). But don't forget to add the on trail stuff! (I can't calculate it because there's so much possibilities).

 

You can make it shorter using the Dodger Point entrance (or exit..).

 

For alpine gear, I would recommend an ice axe and it's use knowledge for the crossing between Mount Ferry and Queets basin, and the Elwah snow finger of course (can be tricky depending on the snow condition).

Crampoons are advisable too, but if you are very experienced at snow travel, and feel you could do without, it's possible, but again you should be very used to travel on steep hard snow with a big backpack without crampons. (I don't know your mountaineering skills, so...)

 

No rope needed.

 

Compass, maps, and you can add an altimeter, in case of fog it could be helpful.

 

Be prepared to some delay in case of route finding problem (fog, etc...)

(extra day of food)

 

For the rest the usual cross country backpacking gear, as light as possible.

 

 

don't hesitate to ask if you need more details.

 

 

Best regards,

 

 

Laurent.

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I did the bailey range traverse 2 summer ago in late September. One of the most fantastic high country traverses around!! Did not see anyone for 7 full days.

 

We did it in 7 days...It could be done in 5 but why rush? Once your on the crest of the range, you will never want to leave. There is lengthly 18 mile trail hike out the north fork Quinalt after decending the Elwah snow finger at the end of the traverse.

 

We caried an ice ax and we were glad we had it. No need for crampons or other technical gear.

 

I will say that navigation is key on this trip as it's not always obvious especially comming and leaving cream lake. I've been told that you can bypass cream lake by staying high..I would reccomend this if you can.

 

The Elwah snow finger is tricky...be careful and take your time going down it. I would agree with GABIOT that a half day and maybe more should be devoted to getting down the finger safely and not missing the climbers path back to the elwah trail.

 

Have fun and shoot me an email if you want more info or pics amir.i.erez@intel.com

 

CHEERS!

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Thanks for the info Gaboit and Erez. I unfortunatly have a finite window to do the trip in. I can start on a Sunday but have plane tickets to go to Alaska the following Friday evening. Maybe it would be best to save the Bailey Range for a time when I didn't have to worry about the time table too much.

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I too have done the Bailey many times, with a few variations. I agree with all above...4-5 days is minimal, especially if the weather goes bad or you get lost (not that there's anything wrong with that). If you knew what you were doing, had been there before, you could see a lot in 4-5 days, but with it being the 1st time, you just do not have enough time.

 

Regarding Cream Lake...just say no. The worn path runs around the ridge line, turns left, and the just fades into nothing. Prior to the huge avalanche a few years ago, it was merely an ugly 2-3 hour bushwhack to the lake from where the route dissappears. Last summer I ran into three guys coming down from Mt Carrie who were doing the Peggy Goldman "scramble your way along the Bailey Range" who were planning on going to Cream lake and the scrambling Stephen Pk the next day. I tried to talk them into going via Stephen lake, but they did not know where that was. I instead (and so should you) went over the ridge to Stephen lake, soaked in a nice warmish tarn that night, and then took 45 minutes to scramble up Stephen Pk on our way to Ferry basin. Never saw their name in the register. Two days later, at the saddle between Pullitzer and Ferry, ran into a couple who had seen the three guys the day before. According to the couple, apparently these three missed Cream lake, might have made it to a lower lake, but were in fact on their way BACK out, dragging ass, looking like they had been beaten. Ms Goldman does a great disservice by telling people to go to Cream lake. I've never seen the avalanched area personally, but did speak with a friend who tried it about 3 years ago. It was unpleasant before the avalanche, and is much worse now.

 

My favorite version is Soleduc to Soleduc, via the Catwalk, the Bailey range, over to upper Queets basin, to the Humes glacier, thence Hoh glacier on Olympus, traverse all three summits, the down to the Hoh, up to Hoh lake, back down to Soleduc. It's one of the best alpine traverses anywhere.

 

Let me know if you need any other specific info. The Elwah snow finger is also a nice trip as well, needs no ropes (which are needed if you do Olympus)

 

Tom wave.gif

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Tom...good info...We went down to cream lake and as you mention it was a horrible bushwack to a lake with no view and the a climb all the way back up to the crest. If I did it again I would go over to Stephen as you say. The full soleduck to soleduck version over Olympus is on my list for sure! Was there a weight issue carrying technical gear over the entire distance?

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hello,

 

it is true that the access to Cream lake has no trail, and might goes below the tree line, but then that's part of the fun! It is a "historical" part of the Bailey range, and very typical of the Olympics. So I would not declare it unpleasant at all.

 

apart from that, about the traverse of Olympus connected to the Bailey range, there is a weight issue for the technical gear: you absolutly need it: (ice axe, crampoon, rope, harness, rescue gear for glacier travel), but it will depends on how much you can carry. If you think you'll have a too heavy backpack, then goes for light equipment: you can save a lot of weight with light ice axe (air tech racing grivel), crampoon (camp XLC470), rope(light 50m 8.1mm rope for two, a 30m could go maybe), harness (XLH130 camp), and the usual backpacking light stuff. But usual equipment works also, it really depends on one capacity to carry a big backpack...

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So, if we want to avoid Cream Lake altogether, what would be the best route? Would we start at Carrie and stay high to Stephen Lake? or would follow the main contour to Eleven Bull Basin and then climb to the ridge above Stephen Lake?

 

And then beyond Stephen Lake, should we stay high and go above the glacier or traverse the north side of Stephen Peak?

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OK, so I am sold on skipping Cream Lake. My maps don't label Stephen Lake. I am assuming that is the lake that is a bit north west of Stephen Peak. Does that sound right?

 

Also, I wanted to seek some opinions. Lets say I entered in from the Soleduck and wanted to exit out the Elwah valley. If I went all the way down the traverse to Mount Barnes, would you suggest returning to Lake Mills via the Elwha snow finger and hiking the whole river, or backtracking a bit and exiting the range via Dodger Point?

 

Thanks for all the advice. wave.gif

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OK, so I am sold on skipping Cream Lake. My maps don't label Stephen Lake. I am assuming that is the lake that is a bit north west of Stephen Peak. Does that sound right?

 

 

Some people call that Stephan Lake. It was called Crisler lake for years, before anyone called it Stephan. Don't know who changed it to that name. You won't find either name on a map. The cream lake route is just fine, don't know why so many oppose it, except that it is a lower route.

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