Grand Pass, Olympic National Park
August 22 to 24, 2012
Wes Hayward, September 2, 2012.
(Ron Hayward photo. Thanks Ron.)
This is us on the summit. Left-to-right, it's yours truly, Libby,
Bruce, and Ron. But I'm getting ahead of the story. So, let's
start at the beginning.
This map shows our route from the trail head at Obstruction
Point to Grand Pass. Ron organized the trip as something that I could
still handle. ( I suspect that my days of carrying a pack in these
wonderful mountains are numbered. ) This is an unusual trip, for
it begins at fairly high elevation (6100 ft elevation) and then descends
into a valley where lakes are to be found. It then climbs out of
the valley to Grand Pass (6450 ft.) Ron got the necessary camping
permits that would allow us to camp at Moose Lake on the first night and
then at Grand Pass on the second. We still had to stop at Park Headquarters
in Port Angeles to get the official paper work.
This is what we saw as we hopped out of the car. Although the
western peaks were in the clouds, the numerous peaks provided more than
enough views to keep us ecstatic.
We shouldered our packs and hit the trail. It immediately
goes up. But clearly, it can't go up very far.
Once on top of the ridge, we could see down into the cloud filled valleys.
We continued for a couple of miles, eventually reaching a minor
pass at about 6400 ft. We were surprised to see a couple of deer working
their way up the snow field. This trip would evolve into one
with numerous deer sightings.
By now, we can see down into cloud filled
Grand Valley. We headed down. Clearly, the clouds are thin
with little threat.
The hiking was delightful, taking us through meadows and eventually into
Eventually the cloud cover burned away, leaving us with a view down to
Grand Lake. We elected not to descend to Grand Lake. Ron had
visited it in 2011. Although a destination for the anglers, Ron felt
that the scenery was better at Moose Lake. (See Ron's website for
the 2011 hike detail. http://ronhayward.net/
Our first view of Moose Lake.
We examined the nine designated camp sites and picked one at the south
end of the lake. We were visited by several deer as we
were setting up our camp. They were amazingly tame, bordering
on being pests. We had dinner and relaxed in camp for most of the
evening. Ron and I did slip out and explore a bit of the lake, but
I left my camera in my pack back in camp. Ron has some good
lake photos as well as great camp shots on his site at http://ronhayward.net/grandpass12-0
We got up in the morning and headed out. The very first step out
of camp started upward. We had only a few easy miles to travel, but
there was some elevation to gain. This photo shows the trail close
to a creek that comes down from the pass.
Here the creek is even closer to the trail. Most of the walk was
on delightful trail with a distinctive alpine flavor. There
were numerous meadow areas dotted with small tarns.
The trail became a little bit steeper as we got higher. Now close
to the pass, we can see down into Grand Valley.
Finally Grand Pass. We left our packs at a tarn where we will
camp, but came immediately to the pass to take a look around. The
valley on the other side of the pass (Cameron Creek) was filled with clouds.
We got our tents pitched near the small tarn at the edge of the snow field
and then returned to the pass for more exploration. This was
the dominant camp spot in the pass.
These were the views that greeted us as we looked across the pass to
the south. The cloud motion continued, providing glimpses to the country
we wanted to see. After checking out the views from the pass,
we headed up the peak just west of the pass. The maps and the books
just show this as "Peak 6701," but a sign at Grand pass listed the hill as
Ron on the summit, looking westward toward the Bailey Range. Finally
we have a good view into Cameron Basin, a high meadow area below Cameron
Pass. Ron crossed this pass a few years ago on long loop trip
that took him over several of the passes in the area. Ron and
I were also in Cameron Pass in 1977 on a climbing trip with Russell and Cindy
Ron put his camera on a rock and used the self timer to produce this
group summit shot. (Ron's photo of me, Libby, Bruce, and himself.)
We descended from the summit to a ridge to the west. Although
a little lower, it provided better views of the peaks immediately to the
west. The remote meadows are dotted with lakes, some small and others
large enough to have a name on the maps. We talked of explorations
and climbs on these peaks as if they would happen. (Hey, the dreams
keep moving forward!)
The views of Cameron Pass and Basin continued to improve Mt. Anderson
and West Peak are seen through the mist, although Anderson is still mostly
in clouds. Roger and I climbed Anderson in 1983; it remains
We eventually returned to the pass and then to camp. We ate dinner
and hit the sack early, for the wind was coming up and the temperature was
dropping. It was great to slip into the warmth of my down sleeping
We expected it to be cool in the morning, for we had experienced frost
on our tents even at Moose Lake. We were not disappointed.
A thin layer of ice covered the tarn in the morning. There was an
interesting fractal pattern on the surface.
A return to the pass revealed a complete lack of clouds and a perfect
view of Cameron Pass. Although not shown here, the trail on the south
side of Grand Pass drops to 4100 ft to Cameron Creek before again climbing
back through Cameron Basin and Cameron Pass at 6500 ft.
This view shows our return route down to Moose Lake and Grand Valley.
Hurricane Ridge can be seen in the distance near the left edge of the
The hike down was just as delightful as the walk up of the previous
Back to Moose Lake in time for lunch.
A marmot greets us as we are about to break for lunch.
The view from our lunch counter. Some campers at the lake were
fly fishing, although we saw no fish caught.
Again on the trail, we pass through meadows at lake's edge.
One of the resident deer relaxing in the meadow.
A final view of Moose Lake as we begin our final uphill push.
After a while, we approach the 6400 ft pass crossed two days earlier.
Here we catch a final view of Grand Lake and Grand Valley.
The 6400 ft pass offers views of the Bailey Range and Olympus to the west.
Here Ron points out some of the details to Bruce.
A small lake sits high in a cirque at the head of Badger Valley.
Just a final mile or so and we will be back to the car.
Many thanks to Ron, Libby, and Bruce for an outstanding trip! Be
sure to also see Ron's trip info at http://ronhayward.net/grandpass12-0.