At 7,639, Mt Mystery is one of the five highest mountains in the Olympic Range. It's neighbor, Mt Deception, is a worthy goal in it's own right.
Mt Mystery offers a pleasant 3 day climb trip, a beautiful high camp in Upper Royal Basin, no peeps, and minimal technical difficulty. With snow, ice axe and crampons are a fine idea. Later season, if you care to solo one short pitch of 4th class rock, I would leave all technical gear (harness, rope, pro, ice axe crampons) at home.
The hike in is about 7 miles. Avoid camping at crowded and buggy Royal Lake, and proceed about 1 more mile to the upper basin. Way better views, no peeps and no bugs!
Drive US Highway 101 north to Sequim Bay State Park. Turn left across from State Park in front of fire station on Louella Road. Drive 1 mile to Palo Alto Road. Turn left and drive 4 miles to pavement's end.
There should be signs for “Dungeness area trailheads” which should be followed. Continue on Forest Road 28 another 3 miles to Forest Road 2870. You will pass Dungeness Forks campground, where it is possible to stay if you want. Take a left and follow Forest Road 2870 about 7.1 miles to a fork. Stay on Forest Road 2870, which descends another 1.5 miles to the Upper Dungeness trailhead. Note the there is confusion between roads 2860 (which may no longer exist) and 2870 in some guidebooks. Big trailhead parking lot with toilet.
From camp in Upper Royal basin:
Ascended to low point to the ridge running east of Deception summit, then drop down a steep but doable scree slope into the beauuuutiful Deception Basin. Ascended Mystery glacier on climber’s left (no rope needed).
From notch above glacier, it’s tempting to head straight up the ridgeline towards the summit. Do not. Instead, traverse laterally left about 200 feet, then head up. Doing this lets you skirt some tricky blocky benches and steeper snow.
No rope needed or pro used on the whole route. Beginners might want a harness and a short bit of rope for 1 pitch of a 4th classy gully right at the top. Helmets: definitely yes. With a start from camp after 8:00am, you could almost leave the ice axe home too. We barely used ours.
4.5 hours - car to high camp in upper Royal Basin 8 miles
1 hour - camp to deception Basin
1 hour – basin to head of Mystery Glacier
1.5 hours - head of Mystery Glacier to summit
3.5 hours total: camp to summit
3.5 hours - to return to camp, including 1 hour summit lounge and long break in Deception Basin
TOTAL – 7 hours round trip from camp
Wilderness permits required. Cost unknown. Be sure to tell the permit folks you want Upper Royal Basin, not Royal Lake.
Bear canisters are required for overnight stays in Olympic National Park. REI rentals are expensive.
The place to get bear canisters is called Wild Birds Unlimited, in the small town of Gardenier WA, at Hwy 101 mile post #276. Call before you go to reserve them for your team.
Good food on the drive home is at the Snug Harbor Cafe, a mile or so west of the junction of Hwy 101 and Hwy 20, at the south end of Discovery Bay.
stay in Upper Royal basin, as mentioned above
Photo album from my Mystery / Deception weekend