Bailey Range Traverse
Olympic National Park
A classic NW high route.
The Bailey Range Traverse is one of the most classic high routes in the Olympic Mountains and the Pacific Northwest. Following a system of ridges that form the crescent shaped Bailey Range, the traverse involves rugged alpine travel, permanent snowfields, crevassed glaciers, exposed scrambling, bushwhacking, tricky route finding, and significant elevation gain/loss.
Those up to the challenge of the Bailey Range Traverse are rewarded with spectacular views, impressive camp locations, endless photo opportunities, and the wilderness adventure of a lifetime.
DAY 1 — SOL DUC TRAILHEAD to THE HIGH DIVIDE
We meet at the Overnight Parking Lot of the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center at 8am for introductions and a gear check. Leaving one of our vehicles here, we then drive 2 hours to the Sol Duc River Trailhead, our starting point. Day 1 we’ll camp somewhere between Heart Lake and the Catwalk.
DAY 2 — CATWALK to MT. FERRY
After crossing the Catwalk, our route predominantly traverses the flanks of Mt. Carrie and Mt. Ruth (lots of sidehilling on this section). We descend to Cream Lake and work our way into Upper Ferry Basin where we make our camp for the night.
DAY 3 — MT. FERRY to QUEETS BASIN
With possible ascents of Mt. Ferry or Mt. Pulitzer to start off the day, we make our way south along what is arguably the most classic section of the route with breathtaking views in all directions, towards Bear Pass. From here we descend into Queets Basin, where we establish our camp for the night.
DAY 4 — QUEETS BASIN to HOH GLACIER (CAMP PAN)
From camp we begin a long traverse towards the Humes Glacier. This is a challenging section with tricky navigation and sections of dense bushwhacking. Once beneath the Humes Glacier, we ascend steep benches onto the glacier and rope up for the ascent to Blizzard Pass. From here it’s short, steep descent to Camp Pan, situated on a rocky outcrop above the Hoh Glacier.
DAY 5 — HOH GLACIER to LEWIS MEADOWS
From Camp Pan we traverse the Hoh Glacier through Glacier Pass, between Mt. Mathias and the East Peak of Mt. Olympus. We descend the Blue Glacier and exit via the moraine, dropping into Glacier Meadows, down to the Hoh River bridge, and into lush rainforest. Our last night we camp at Lewis Meadows.
DAY 6 — LEWIS MEADOWS to HOH RAINFOREST TRAILHEAD
It’s a relatively flat 10 mile cruise along the Hoh River and a well travelled trail back to civilization, a sharp contrast from the majority of the terrain (and lack of people) encountered over the previous 6 days. Our trip concludes with a vehicle shuttle back to the Sol Duc Trailhead.
Previous mountaineering experience is recommended. Other beneficial experience includes backpacking and rock climbing.
This trip involves:
Consecutive big days of rugged, off-trail travel carrying a heavy pack.
Sections of steep, loose, awkward terrain, bushwhacking, and scrambling.
Roped travel on crevassed, glaciated terrain
Climbing on steep snow slopes using an ice axe and crampons
Excellent physical fitness is required for mountaineering. You should be able to hike/climb for 1-2 hours at a stretch, taking 10 minute breaks, for up to 14 hours. You should be able to ascend 3,000′ vertical feet in a day carrying 50 lbs on your back, and 5,000′ in a day carrying 30 lbs on your back.
Physical conditioning should not be underestimated – mountaineering is a strenuous activity.
Guiding and instruction
Group equipment: tents, ropes, stove, fuel, etc.
Overnight permit costs
Use of bear cans
Personal equipment and food
Park entrance fees
Transportation to/from the trailhead
WHERE TO MEET