Showing posts with label Bailey Range. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bailey Range. Show all posts

New this Week!

  I was lucky enough to go on a 3 day backpacking trip this week.  After get back and endless hours of editing; ended up putting up several blog posts this week.  Want to recap and let everyone know about this new content.   Hope you had a nice week. -jake

Trip Reports:

Gear Reviews:

Cream Basin
Cream Basin, Bailey Range ONP

Bailey Range Traverse - Walking through the Seasons

Coming off the previous 7 day Olympic adventure, we would have two days to do laundry and pack up 10 days worth of supplies. Food preparation is most dreaded part for me, but it would be nice to have the calories during the strenuous walk ahead.

The Bailey Range is one of the most sacred off trail high routes in Washington State. These mountains create a crescent shape around Mount Olympus. Close enough where you can almost reach out and touch her at times. This dramatic landscape is what you see when peering into the interior from Hurricane Ridge. Home to the Olympic elk during the late season rut and black bear which graze almost around the clock as winter approaches.

This route is not for the faint of heart or for someone who does not like heights. Packing lightweight and keeping everything fixed to your backpack is a must because there are times you need to use all limbs to travel forward. There are key points of navigation, so doing your homework is a must as well as land navigation skills and terrain reading. Basic mountaineering skills are required as one must cross several small glaciers on this walk.

My friends Steve and Liz Thomas would be joining me for this grand adventure of Olympic sized proportions. What life lessons would we learn for the next coming weeks? Before we knew it, we were walking up the Sol Duc drainage on an approach to our Bailey Range Traverse.

Bailey Range Traverse
10 days across the Bailey Range.

Hurricane Ridge Webcam Labeling

  The Hurricane Ridge Webcam is a good modern resource to keep an eye on the Olympic National Park interior.  I often view this on the internet to monitor snowpack, weather patterns or even just to daydream about being out there; during the winter months.  Its amazing how with one click, you can visually transported to your favorite area.  Think we are pretty spoiled this day and age, to have this option.  I don't know how many web visitors these National Park cameras get daily, but I'm sure more hairs than on the head.

  What are you actually looking at?  Most of what you see is actually a section of the Bailey Range.  A series of mountains that run almost the entire length of the Park, from north to south; crecenting Mount Olympus, which sits to the west or behind the range.

Admit it!  How much do you look at this webcam?

hurricane ridge webcam
Labeling the Hurricane Ridge Webcam.  

High Divide Trial - Walking through the Seasons

Beginning of story.

It felt good to relax on the Lateral Moraine, watching the sun go down around Mount Olympus. All the previous days of this adventure had been about walking. For once, I could sit back and enjoy the rewards of my efforts. Ended up seeing a marmot, mountain goat and black bears - including mom and cub.

Once I left the rainforest valley, I got really cooked by the sun from reflection off an abundance of spring snow on the divide.

Glacier Meadows
 Greeted by a fairy tale on the way to the Blue Glacier's lateral moraine. Such a peaceful place.

Hoh River Source - Walking through the Seasons

Beginning of story.

Because of conditions, this area was full of tough decisions. The temperature range in the last 48 hours didn’t come close to the freezing mark. A mountain climber needs the ice to be firm to lessen the risk of breaking through a crevasse and rockfall. Do I keep pushing forward or go with my gut?

West Peak Olympus
Looking toward Five Fingers (no pun) and West Peak (center & right) as a pair of roped up skiers traverse the mountain. It was a warm day on Snow Dome. I started to ascend toward Crystal Pass and a chunk of ice the size of a bus fell off the glacier to my left. Decided at that point I had enough. Climbing to the top was not worth it. Turning around I took a break back on Snow Dome for a photo session.   

Elwha Trail Loop - Dodger Point Primitive Trail in Winter

 Trip Report from 1/4-5/14

 A friend had some time off work and was willing to go on a winter journey.  He has been day hiking with me now for 3 year, but has never done an overnight type trip.  It was time for him to step into the world of backpacking, even tho the conditions weren't what a beginner should really experience.  Temperatures ranged from 19 to 32 degrees through the trip.  Tho it was winter, could not pass up the chance to be in the alpine, the cold weather also made for pristine air quality.  This means no haze in the air for photography!

 This was my first overnight trip for 2014.  I was on a mission to get back to Dodger Point, last time the weather had us pretty much socked-in.  Olympic Mountains have a super low snowpack this year.  Happy to still be able and take advantage of that fact.  Could this mean early alpine season?

Olympic Hot Springs Road
8 miles from my door step, Mount Fitzhenry greats us into the Park. 

Summer (last) Update: Divide to Coast

  Well its late autumn and most the leaves are fallen to the ground in the Olympics.  The elk are done bugling, marmots have retreated into their burrows and most visiting backpackers are back to the 'everyday grid'.  All that is left is breathtaking landscapes, with the occasional song of a bird.  Fresh snow has fallen a few weeks ago and melted away anywhere the sun touches during the short days.  The clock ticks before the deep white stuff falls, sealing the high country in for the season.

  Just hours after the powers that be reopened our National Parks, I rode my bicycle down to WIC and got a Backcountry Permit.  The plan was to spend a few days exploring a small piece of the Bailey Range and then walk west using the Pacific Northwest Trail to the Coast.  I originally started my summer journey back in June by taking the bus to Neah Bay, then walking south on the North Olympic Coast, before heading inland into the Hoh Rainforest on my way up Mount Olympus.  So I thought it would be right to walk from the mountains, back to to the sea and have this be the grand end to the trail series.  Ending in the small coastal town of La Push, catching a bus to Forks and then Port Angeles.  There would be no friends or family at my finish line.  Nor a grand support team to whisk me off, with a congratulation metal.  Just the feeling of personal accomplishment, to walk a custom route I put together in my head last winter.

Note:  All photos and trips reports will be released Winter 2013 in a multi-part series titled 'Walking through the Seasons'. 

Full moon rising over the Bailey Range.

Could this be the end?

  While rain slaps the window of the farm house, can't help but wonder, could this be the end of the Olympic alpine backpacking season?  The heavy wet stuff hasn't stopped falling here in what would seem to be a week.  Can't help not to have bitter sweet feelings.  Especially when the clouds break and I can see lots of white stuff on Mount Angeles.  Originally hoped to get another 2 weeks in the mountains here, but the weather obviously did not like that plan.

  My mind is only left to wander the lily filled meadows, eating my way through berries for far as the eye can see; consuming them till hands are stained with the juices and even walking with herds of bugling Elk, during a autumn storm.  Regrettingly even hanging off the bottom of a Navy Blackhawk Helicopter just by a rope over the mountains.  Memories like these, stick with one for a lifetime.

Note:  All photos and trips reports will be released Winter 2013 in a multi-part series titled 'Walking through the Seasons'. 

washington weather
State of the Olympics, since I came off the trail over a week ago. 

Summer Update: The Bailey Range Traverse

Update:  All photography & video from trip

  Just got off the bus from Lake Quinault.  Ended up doing a 10 day high route of the Olympic National Park from north to south.  My friend Steve, Liz Thomas and I did the off trail traverse from Mount Appleton to Kimta Peak of the Bailey Range.  This would be my 3rd continuous trip out in the last few weeks.  Those who are not familiar with this mountain range and have visited Hurricane Ridge, it runs from left to right in your view; protecting Mount Olympus.  It has some Class II scrambling, few glacier crossings and not the place for someone with a fear of heights.

  We had a mixed bag of weather, starting off in 85+ degree heat for a few days and then turning to autumn like conditions at the end of the route; thunderstorms, lightning and just above freezing rains.  In fact the most sketchy part of the trip was done in the middle of an electrical storm and heavy precipitation.  All that were present, will ever forget that day!

Olympic rock
Alpenglow on Mount Olympus. 

Walking through the Seasons in Olympic

  I had originally planned to walk the PNT this year.  After deep thought; during many rainy days this winter, decided that my ONP bucket list takes priority.  Created a mental catalog of all the places I wanted to visit here in the Olympic Mountains through the years.  Did not want to put this the list off for future years and was a greater personal priority than other options.  Visiting some of these areas for the first time and revisiting a few of my favorites.

Bailey Range
Mount Olympus at sunrise.  Views from camp during my 2012 solo traverse of the Bailey Range.  

Returning to the Bailey Range - 30+ Days in the ONP Section 5

Start at the beginning of story?

  Last year, while backpacking Solo Across the Olympic National Park a nice man picked me up hitchhiking.

  During the 4 hour car ride back to Port Angeles.  We exchanged hiking stories and email addresses.

  Through the year we exchanged several messages and started planning for a late summer adventure into the Bailey Range.

  He expressed that a trip with his wife through Montana and variable weather would leave the dates flexible.

  The last email exchanged a few days before we hit the trailhead expressed that I had just returned from this area on a Solo Trip.

  He was ready to go since the weather window looked really promising.

  I of course was all ready to go back.  This time on a mission to find Autumn color and shoot some video.  Not walking such long days would also allow me time to enjoy some beauty in the heart of the Olympics.

  So off we set with a few days worth of food on our backs.  He being a traditional backpacker with a big load and heavy boots.  Me with a recently field stripped pack which put me at an 8 lbs base weight and minimal Sandals.  My VFF's were also worn for the sections of rock scrambling.

  Together, with one goal: to arrive into the Bailey Range, explore Ferry Basin and go look for Olympic Elk in Cream Basin.

Dodger Point
Last Sunset for the summer of 2012.  The next morning an Autumn frost fell like clockwork.  Views of Stephen Peak, Ruth Peak, Mt. Carrie and the Northern Bailey Range

Solo Bailey Range Traverse - 30+ Days in the ONP Section 4

Start at the beginning of story?

  The Bailey Range Traverse has been on my bucket list for a few years now. In fact, all my trail training for the last 8 months was inspired by it and I used glimpses of it's peaks for motivation while in various locations of the park earlier in the year.

  The goal for this section of the route was to enjoy it's beauty, but to do it in a timely fashion. Secondly, to do it as minimally as possible without compromising my personal safety.

  The only footwear that I wore were my Luna Sandals for most of this route and Vibram Five Finger Seeya which I used for a good section of snow traverse.

  My gear consisted of Gossamer Gear Backpack and Shelter, Sawyer Squeeze Filter screwed onto bottled water container and other small items. The pack came in just over 9 lbs baseweight, by adding ice ax and bear can it was over 12 lbs.

  This traverse crescents around Mt. Olympus and can also be seen all the way across the horizon from the visitor center at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park.

  After leaving the Sol Duc area, the trail turns into a traverse until after you drop down the Elwha Snow Finger. This body of snow is also where the Elwha River starts.


mount olympus
Mt. Olympus from the Catwalk

North Bailey Range Traverse: 30+ Days in the ONP Section 1.a

Note:  This is first of August, during a heavy snow year.  We did not follow the route in the Olympic Mountain Climbers Guide to the letter.  My partner had comfort level issues on the steep snow fields about Mud Lake and the Col on the W. slope of Mount Appleton.  We ended up traversing around these, on a not so fun route following elk trails.

 An idea came to mind while sitting in a winter storm aboard my old Sailboat residence.  Why not set up a summer long route with a 'Thru-Hike' feel in the Olympic National Park?

  So as the storm raged on for the next 48 hours; a route itinerary was established within my physical limitations.  

  Doing most of the routes in 2011 solo I have come to learn my physically and mental limitations.  Knowing that something like this would push both of them to the edge; a self wrote training program went into immediate effect.  

Mount Appleton
Snow covered Mud Lake cuddled into Mount Appleton

Sea to Summit - Olympic National Park

Note:  Total Travel expense - $3

 A friend was coming from out of town for some Backpacking Adventure Time in the Olympic National Park. The original plan was to go into a River Valley for a few days with the hope of seeing Roosevelt Elk and Black Bear.  Keeping an eye on the weather I suggested a better plan.   How about an Epic 'Sea to Summit Weekend'?

sea to summit olympic