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Bailey Range 1

The Bailey Range Traverse

Cas­cade Tra­vers­es, such as the Ptarmi­gan, are well-known adven­tures. But deep in the heart of the Olympic Moun­tains is one of Wash­ing­ton’s most elu­sive tra­vers­es — the Bai­ley Range Tra­verse and a grand finale of Mount Olym­pus. Read MM guide Bri­an Mueller’s sto­ry below and find out why its one of his favorite trips.

Over the dates of July 16 – 24 last sum­mer, a cou­ple lucky Moun­tain Mad­ness guests enjoyed the won­ders of the fan­tas­tic Bai­ley Range Tra­verse. This high tra­verse through Olympic Nation­al Park is rugged, remote, and involves a wide vari­ety of dif­fer­ent skills. Com­bine this with a bit of luck, hav­ing no rain, and a fan­tas­tic time was had on the tra­verse includ­ing 4.5 days with­out see­ing anoth­er person. 

Much like the Ptarmi­gan and Iso­la­tion Tra­vers­es, where there are oppor­tu­ni­ties to climb some peaks along the way, the Bai­ley Range Tra­verse has some climbs along the way, cul­mi­nat­ing with the crown jew­el, Mount Olym­pus. On the way some of the high­lights of the trip were sum­mit­ing Mount Car­rie, which was a Class 3 scram­ble up the ridge from our sec­ond nights camp, Boston Char­lie. Up until this point on the trip the clouds had kept us from views, how­ev­er while climb­ing the peak we poked above the clouds, and found some phe­nom­e­nal views.

Bailey Range 3
Bailey Range 2

A favorite sec­tion of the route how­ev­er, comes after camp­ing at Cream Lake. The pre­vi­ous day is hard earned trav­el across some chal­leng­ing ter­rain, and you are now in the heart of the Bai­ley Range. This sec­tion trav­els over heather and inter­spersed game trails through alpine lakes and mead­ows, as you make your way to Lone Tree Pass. This area gives you a sense of the scale and rugged­ness of some of the Olympics with a 2000’ drop from camp down to the Goldie drainage.

As we round­ed the tra­verse and made our way towards Mount Olym­pus and the Humes Glac­i­er, evi­dence of glac­i­er reces­sion was abun­dant when the map showed we were on the glac­i­er but had some final shenani­gans to actu­al­ly reach it! From here it was smooth sail­ing through on glac­i­ers and rock scram­bling to one of the more spec­tac­u­lar camps a per­son can vis­it, Camp Pan, locat­ed on a rocky prow over­look­ing the Hoh Glacier.

Bailey range 5
Bailey Range 4

From here its glac­i­er trav­el inter­spersed with rocky scram­bling, steep snow, and rock climb­ing to reach the sum­mit of the West Peak of Mount Olym­pus, where we were for­tu­nate to be star­ing in the dis­tance at the Pacif­ic Ocean and Van­cou­ver Island. 

All in all, this is a fan­tas­tic expe­ri­ence, in a rugged area. If you are con­sid­er­ing this trip, pre­pare your­self for a rugged expe­ri­ence, but know it is one of this guides favorite Mad­ness trips.

Bailey Range 6