DD1 - Gray Wolf Ridge to Royal Basin

This route is about 8 miles off trail; it has been done in one long day from the road, returning from Royal Basin by trail 7 miles back to the same trailhead for a 15-mile loop. 

On the south end, this traverse can be linked with DD2 (Royal Basin to Constance Pass). See the published Climbers Guide for detailed approach information.


From the end of FR 120, hike along remains of the old road until it switches back and climbs to the NE. Continue along the road for about another 0.5 mile. At this point, look up for a steep, unmarked cat track leading NW up the ridge. This fire trail follows the general line of the old Maynard Burn way trail. Take the fire trail to about 5000 ft., where it ends at the national park boundary, and continue on the old way trail to timberline. Ascend through easy, open terrain to the summit of Baldy (this summit can also be reached via an abandoned lookout trail that climbs to timberline from Slide Camp on the Gray Wolf River trail.)

From Baldy, traverse S at the 6000- to 7000-ft. level in meadow, scree, or snow, all the way to The Needles. Stay on the ridge crest most of the way. Peak 7076 can be climbed by way of a basin between the double summit to avoid a broken ridge. Once past Peak 7076, the next summit is in The Needles and requires technical climbing. To continue to Royal Basin, descend SE over steep broken slopes and chutes to the Royal Basin trail below the basin.

An alternate, but difficult, route from the ridge top is to work W around Mt. Walkinshaw by way of a basin N of the peak, then climb to the NW ridge of Mt. Walkinshaw at about 6750 ft.  From here, drop to the valley W of The Needles. Continue up this valley, which leads into Surprise Pass just SW of Mt. Clark. The climb to the pass is up steep snow or ice, requiring mountaineering skill and equipment. From Surprise Pass, drop into open, snowy Surprise Basin and continue on easy terrain for 1 mile to Royal Lake.

Links to other traverses in Dungeness-Dosewallips Area: