Gray Wolf Ridge is the high point of Clallam county and the northernmost of the Olympic peninsula but to county highpointers, it also is one of the "four corners" of the USA. More on that later on. So, on a hot (very unusual for the Olympics), five of us found our selves meeting up to do this highpoint together. Kevin Williamson had just climbed Mt. Rainier and he had come all the way from Atlanta Georgia. Roy Wallen, from Oceanside California, Bill Jacobs from Prescott Arizona and Dennis Poulin from Medford Oregon (see pic below) and myself rounded out a rather geographically diversified group of county highpointers.
Bill Jacobs had been wanting to do this one for some time, dating back to when he lived on Fox Island near Tacoma. He had already made two attempts on it, on a bum knee to boot, and was back for his third try. As we started out on the trail, we soon found that we would be a very compatible group and shared many laughs as we made our way ever upward. The trail, such as it is, goes straight uphill and doesn't waste any time with switchbacks. Fortunately we got a good early morning start when it was still cool as the temperatures were to soar into the high 90's as the day progressed.
The trail finally leveled off and traversed back to the north. Before long, we cross countried up to near Tyler peak and then over to Mt. Baldy. Traversing to the south side of Mt. Baldy we had to drop down to a saddle prior to heading up the ridge leading to Gray Wolf
The last bit of ridge leads up to a rocky summit scramble that gets to a high class 2 effort for about twenty five feet.
Before long, we were standing on the summit, checking out the fantastic panorama that surrounded us. Mt. Baker to the Northeast, Olympus to the West and a jagged skyline to the south.
You can see Mt. Baker in the distance with the Puget Sound area in front of it. Kevin and Roy enjoying the view.
After an enjoyable interlude on the summit, it was time to head back, first down, then back up to the top of Mt. Baldy, then down, then up and finally down down down. The heat now was brutal and everyone went through the water they had brought along and it was a relief to finally get down to the vehicles. The nastiness of the downhill grade really got to each of us as our knees were being punished by the unreal grade that never relented once we hit the final downhill.
Total elevation gain: 5500 feet (includes ups and downs)
Round trip mileage: 10-11
Time: 5 hours up 3 hours down.
Carry lots of water on a hot summer day (late summer)
Pics can be found on the SP mountain page
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