Trip Reports, Grand Pass - Cameron Pass, Washington

Grand Pass - Cameron Pass - Washington

Posted by [no screen name] on Feb 26, 2013

Trip taken on Sep 02, 2013


Cameron Pass is one of the most challenging (non-technical) destinations in Olympic. It's a long, demanding trek no matter how you approach it (Obstruction Point - north, or Dosewallips - south),

The plan was to spend two nights in the upper basin, then do the grueling return hike with a lighter pack.

I began at Obstruction Point and flew down to Grand Valley. While it's a push from Grand Lake up to Grand Pass, the scenery is ineffably gorgeous and I was happily distracted. I filled water at the tarn just below Grand Pass, then began a laughable 2,250' descent in just 1.8 miles to Cameron Creek.

I quickly realized that, if it rained, I wouldn't make it back up this hill. I was relieved to reach Cameron Creek, only to see that everything I read about the trail was true: it's overgrown, steep and riddlled with burrows. Let me emphasize the burrows. Berries were particularly abundant, and kept me from having to remove my pack to refuel.

Travel eased near treeline, signaling proximity to the upper basin. I found a great site ringed by krummholz, and went to work on setting up camp. Slept great that night, but TONS of mosquitoes.

The next morning I explored the basin before tackling the pass, which is a fairly easy bit compared to the hike in with a full pack. I saw a line of weather from teh pass that concerned me, so I made a call: I was going to head back that day - no way was I climbing back up to Grand Pass in the rain.

So, with a (much) heavier pack than planned, I got going in earnest. The Cameron Creek Trail was easier on the way down, but not by much. Burrows, overgrowth and more undulations than I remembered.

The climb back to Grand Pass was steeper than anything I've ever experienced, but at least it was dry. And while I labored up the switchbacks, skies cleared completely. All that rush for nothing! But worth it - late afternoon is a remarkable time to be heading north through Grand Valley.

I under-estimated the fatigue I'd feel on the final push to Obstruction, but enjoyed unequal lighting and perfect weather. Can't wait to go back - I definitely know what to expect!



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Related Trail:   Cameron Pass