Bailey (aka Crisler) Traverse

The Bailey Traverse is the premier high route in Olympic National Park, and of one the rare traverses accessible to experienced backpackers that lack technical rock climbing skills. Even though the park is quite busy in the summer, once you cross the Catwalk, you will probably see more bears than people until you rejoined the maintained trails.

Background:
The story of the Bailey Traverse is essentially the story of Herb (and Lois) Crisler. He has been described as "..an American filmmaker, explorer, and mountain man associated with the history of the Olympic Mountains on the Olympic Peninsula in the State of Washington.", but until you've done the Traverse and understand the conditions, you can't fully appreciate his legacy.

For more information, I highly recommend this amazing website. For further reading about the Crisler's, the Traverse, and Olympic National Park, check out Francis E. Caldwell's Beyond the Trails.

Routes:        
1. Full traverse - the complete traverse of the Bailey Range, connects High Divide to the headwaters of the Elwah and maintained trails.
2  Traverse to Dodger Point - this route is much more manageable, breaking off roughly halfway through at Mt Ferry and exiting via Dodger Point.

Both routes start the same (everyone seems to do the traverse north to south), starting along the Sol Duc River and onto Cat peak via a couple of trail routes. From there you cross a arete called the Cat Walk:

From Bailey Traverse

No ropes or technical climbing ability is required, but it is an exposed scramble. After crossing, you've got roughly two-three days of scrambling and routefinding until you emerge at Dodger Point and regain maintain trails to the Whiskey Bend Trailhead.

Conditions:    Do not be fooled into thinking this is just a regular trail hike, it is not! I'm always surprised that people don't mention the dangers more often. There is a fair amount of Class 3 scrambling, crossing the Catwalk in bad weather can be nerve-wracking. There are steep gullies to cross, very steep ups and downs, and lots of route finding. And once you cross over the Catwalk, you are in deep, miles from the nearest maintained trail. I would highly recommend an honest assessment of your skills, an abundance of preparation and route study, and the appropriate physical conditioning. Given the remoteness, consider a raido or SPOT device, and be sure to check in with the rangers prior to starting out.
Route conditions/ information:
 
Other resources:
 I've found this trip report in the WTA magazine, to be a good overview of the shorter route and the key stops.
Guidebooks:
 
Logistics:
 Permits are required for any campsites lower than Cat Peak, so only the first night, and it is possible to make it all the way to Boston Charlies from the trailhead in one, fairly strenuous day. Additionally, backcountry permits are required for all days and must be picked up a the Ranger Station in person.

Bear Cans are also required, they can be rented/borrowed from the ranger station when you pickup the permits.
Photos:  

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