Off Trail: Dosewallips to Deception Basin

Breaking camp and heading down the pass I was greeted by a group of hikers. They were surprised to see me in the backcountry so minimally. After talking with them for a bit and giving a full gear shakedown I was back to walking again. Really don't mind answering people’s questions while out and about. That is the same way I learned, by asking people with the knowledge.

I reached the spot where I would be leaving the designated trail. Feeling a bit of butterflies as this was my first real off trail section of the year. Off I went, saying goodbye to a perfectly good trail and traversing my way around the second tallest peak in the Olympic Mountains. I had no real beta on the route - nothing but an old description from the Olympic Mountain Climbers Guide. Come to find out, years of avalanches make the path not so fun to travel.

Dosewallips trail
I would follow the Dosewallips downstream for awhile, then leave the trail for a hellish bushwhack in between the mountains pictured. Mount Deception, Mount Mystery and Little Mystery (left to right). Doesn't look to bad from here? Thats what I thought too!

deception creek
Here I am bushwhacking up the Deception Creek drainage. Trying to follow Route II of Mount Mystery in the Olympic Mountain Climbers Guide. Staying away from the main drainage, always trying to keep it in my hearing but ascending high as possible to avoid thick bushwhacking.
deception creek

Starts out in thick berry bushes, followed by blow downs, followed by steep treebelay side hilling, add more blow downs until you get into a big meadow under Mount Deception. Then steep sidehilling on loose rockfall from the mountain, add sections of heavy slide alder, more treebelay, followed by groves of devils club, then slide alder, treebelay, baby crawling and devils club all together. Once you get tired of trying to stay high, you drop down and try to walk in the creek itself, which is engulfed in more slide alder and huge boulders that fell from Deception at one time, literally monkey climbing on slide alder to stay out of the rapids.

deception creek

 Eventually you will get tired of that and try to stay high again. Huge very loose rock fields, mean very tender foot stepping as to avoid dropping a rock on your barefeet.
gunsight pass
This is looking up to 'Gunsight Pass' from the flank of Deception. This is little known as a climbers route in between Mount Mystery and Little Mystery. If I didn't know any better, I'd say the slide alder has taken over that side of the drainage as well. Only a fool would be in terrain like this.
Deception creek
Traversing around Mount Deception.
deception creek
Looking back towards the Dosewallips Valley from which I came. Walking across that very loose boulder field was not very fun.  
Deception basin
After six hours of complete hell, I arose through the mist to find this site. A completely flat and open alpine basin. A perfect paradise.
Mount Mystery
Standing below Mount Mystery. Energy drained, I was ready for a hot meal and cool bath in the glacier outfeed. Dinner entertainment would be Olympic Marmots wrestling at the foot of Mystery Glacier.
Hal Foss Peak
The next morning I arose to views of Hal Foss Peak
Mount Deception
Doing my pre-breakfast yoga at the foot of Mystery Glacier. Perfect opportunity to check the climbers route up Mount Deception.
Deception Pass
To the right of the Col is the climbers route to the Upper Royal Basin side. Needed the snow to soften up on the other side of that ridge to descend the steep terrain safely. First I need to burn a few calories and get my butt up there.
Deception basin
Interesting water pattern.
Mount Deception
Climbing straight up steep scree on the shoulder of Deception.
Deception Basin
Climbing straight up steep scree on the shoulder of Deception. I was treated to this picturesque 180 degree view of Fricaba, Hal Foss, Mystery & Deception (left to right).
Upper Royal Basin
Then the second 180. Deception to the Needles and Upper Royal Basin. I would pick up a trail down there. First had to descend lots of steep and icy snow.  
Deception Pass
Very minimal mountaineer footwear.
Upper royal basin
Here I met some nice day hikers coming in from Royal Lake. Startling them, they asked, “Where did you come from?” I kindly replied, “Dosewallips, from over that Col.” They immediately looked at my like I was nuts. From there I kicked it into 'hiker mode'. Would need to walk the nine miles back to the trailhead and then hitch out in order to catch a bus from town to my resupply. Some nice people ended up grabbing me and dropping me off at the bus. In exchange for the lift I told them stories from my journey. They wished me the best while graciously helping me with my bag at the station.

Part of the 'Walking through the Seasons' Trail Series

Updated by Barefoot Jake in July 2015