The Brothers/Brothers Traverse
04/19/13 (Fri) - 04/20/13 (Sat)
Julie A. Myer
6,800’ (N) 6,866’ (S), Olympic Mtns Grade II , 4 Mountaineering Reference & Data • • • • Jurisdiction: Olympic National Forest • Ranger Station: Hoodsport Ranger Station / 360-877-5254 • Equipment: Ice axe, crampons, short picket, minimal rack. • USGS Maps: The Brothers • Other Map: Olympic National Park • Other ref: Climber’s Guide to the Olympic Mountains, 3rd Edition, pp. 46-48. • Reference 3: 100 Hikes in Washington’s S Cascades and Olympics, pp. 176-177 Time Elevation gain/loss Mileage • Seattle to TH 2 hrs 685’ 58 • TH to Camp 4 hrs +2,400’ 7 • Camp to S Summit 8-9 hrs +3,800’ • S Summit to Cars 5-6 hrs -6,200’ Approach • • • • • • • • • • • Take ferry to Bremerton and drive via State 3 and State 106 to US 101 and turn right (or drive via Tacoma Narrows Bridge or I-5 via Olympia). Drive US 101 N along Hood Canal. 13.5 mi. N of Hoodsport, turn left onto Hamma Hamma River Rd. No. 25. Drive 9.5 miles (0.5 mi. past Phantom Creek) to Lena Lakes Trailhead, 685’. Hike Lena Lakes trail to Lower Lena Lake (3 mi.), and around the lake clockwise to The Brothers climber’s trail. Follow this along E Fork of Lena Creek into Valley of Silent Men (see 100 Hikes map), crossing/recrossing creek. At 3.2 mi. Lena Creek will fork, with a branch entering from the W. Cross to W bank of E. Fork Lena Creek just upstream to reach Lena Forks camp, 3,000’, often crowded on weekends. Climbing Route • • • • • The traverse can be done in either direction but most parties opt for a N Peak to S Peak traverse. Locate the climbers path heading upstream W from Lena camp. Follow until the path becomes indistinct in a large meandering gully before reaching the base of South Brother’s S Couloir deposition fan. Snow may be present. Climb up the S Couloir to just before its cental constriction. Rocky slopes offer an exit right at ~5,000’ to an open rocky slope (known as Lunch Rock - possible cairn) below a group of trees. From Lunch Rock, ascend broad, sparsely-treed tongue, initially paralleling the S Couloir (possible bivy sites), but gradually bear R and E to depart S Couloir climbing route. At ~5,700’, traverse E, skirting under a yellow-stained rock nose, identifiable from below, and into a small basin above the first major chute E of S Couloir. Above this basin, a narrow couloir leads to a notch in the E Ridge at ~6,000’ (possible cairn W of small tower splitting notch, not visible from basin itself). Pass through notch and descend into the Great Basin. Traverse to the North Brother, to where the ascent couloir faces SE to E and has a prominent rock prow splitting its lower aspect. The couloir emerges on the ridge, with summit close to the R. The ridge to South Brother is now visible with, in early season, much steep, exposed and sometimes corniced snow. A hundred or more feet of airy ridge lead to a rare gently-rounded section before descending steeply (some party members may want a belay) to a notch before a pinnacle. This gendarme’s E side can be passed where a flat spot below an outcrop is apparent, perhaps 100’ below its top. From the base of the outcrop, climb and traverse steeply up to regain the ridge. An exposed short drop in the ridge, followed by a traverse W around a block, gains the final notch. A steep rock step (caution advised if wet from snow melt above) accesses the remaining snow/rock crest of South Brother’s N Ridge. Descent • • • • • • • • • • • Descend via the South Brother South Couloir route (see Basic Climbs Guide). Comments • • • • • • • • • Viewable from Seattle, this classic mountaineering climb is best done in early season (i.e., April or May) due to dense brush encountered later in gullies. Loose rock abounds. The climb is long, strenuous, and exposed but not technically difficult. Start early. Identifying the correct notch to the Great Basin is the chief route-finding challenge. Leaders should consider restricting party size to 4.