Alpine Scramble - Mount Deception


Alpine Scramble - Mount Deception

A gorgeous cross country wilderness traverse that visits the summits of Mount Fricaba, Mount Deception, and Gray Wolf Ridge (the place to be when lowlands are sweltering). This extremely strenuous scramble totals 12,000’ of elevation gain and 24 miles spread over 3 days, with overnight packs carried the entire time (not a trip for the uninitiated ;). Only for fully vaccinated persons.

  • Strenuous 5, Technical 4
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 24.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 12,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 7,788 ft

Arranged via email.

Although intimidating (as well it should), our route nicely partitions the days into manageable chunks for fit and experienced parties.  Nasty brush as well as substantial elevation gain is usually in the morning, when everyone is fresh (plus the added benefit of cooler temperatures). 

This map (the red line) shows our aspirational/approximate line of travel for all 3 days:


Day One is 4600’ of gain over 7.5 miles up Mount Fricaba and into Deception Basin.  Day Two is 3400’ of gain over 5.5 miles to the summit of Mount Deception.  Day Three is 4000’ over 10.5 miles along Gray Wolf Ridge back to the cars.  If parties can’t quite make the summit of Mount Fricaba on Day One, there is a roomy campsite at 6400’ just NE of the summit.

The plan this year is to avoid a spicy crossing of the Dungeness River by staying on its west side.  At first we will follow a portion of the Goat Lake Trail (until it heads uphill), then we will break off and continue cross country until reaching the avalanche track that descends from Point 6138.  Our ascent to Point 6138 follows game trails, with greatly appreciated water in the adjacent avalanche track:CBF286DD-4E6D-4E4D-AB3A-4C06A43E8996.jpeg

From Point 6138 looking SW towards Mount Fricaba 7139’:EF47E368-A955-4EAD-BE81-4DA2BB5E0F46.jpeg

Deception Basin (Our first night’s camp) as seen from the summit of Mount Fricaba:3F547E9F-C0DA-4DC9-9D9E-1BBBDCC45D1C.jpeg

After some morning brush we traverse into the basin SW of Mount Deception…1942B9ED-C2C0-4DB3-930E-2729D2BEB41B.jpeg

…and see our summit route up the western aspect of Mount Deception:1BCB2656-068E-4301-8D0B-C4A1361144AE.jpeg

The last 800’ to the summit of Mount Deception (2nd highest peak in the Olympics):F18E5C61-A0B2-4F31-BDA3-F8588D6F4F6B.jpeg

A key cairn west of Gilhooey Tower, leading to the northern aspect of Mount Deception…2BC255C6-C5D0-4E16-9105-312C9A106CCE.jpeg

… and the stagnant glacier offering straightforward access to meadows at ~5700’:E982F5AD-4F8D-45C9-ACFE-76D213511A20.jpeg

A final hot afternoon slog…5D9D40E7-017D-42AB-909C-1D9606D0E339.jpeg

… to a well deserved camp at ~6100’:E2F8B59E-22D3-4DBA-AF3C-594153FE2993.jpeg

The beginning of Day 3 from camp.  Ahead is Mount Walkinshaw which we’ll bypass to the west at ~6400’ (after some morning brush):1EA20ABF-66B8-4B90-A934-64D451D3D52E.jpeg

A refreshing tarn on our way to the crest of Gray Wolf Ridge…F537D796-E555-4708-A54A-F4FDEBEC933E.jpeg

Near the false 7076’ summit of Gray Wolf, looking south towards the recently visited tarn…292ABE4D-C242-4EB1-9872-DA6158F4AA73.jpeg

… and looking north along Gray Wolf Ridge to 7218’ Gray Wolf Mountain:2806BBAB-57DD-4960-BD6A-13E8C5F03B42.jpeg

Looking back to our ‘just descended’ route off the false Gray Wolf summit:A0CFD1E5-5A83-430E-9B0F-DA0FBDBA199B.jpeg

From 7218’ Mount Gray Wolf, 6797’ Baldy and our trail to the cars comes into sight:F6CFFD25-7E35-4636-99E9-19737D3A4199.jpeg

Photos from a past trip visiting the Gray Wolf and Deception portions of this trip can be seen here.


Deception, Mystery, Fricaba & Hal Foss

  • Green Trails Olympic Mountains East No. 168S

    Custom Correct Gray Wolf - Dosewallips

    USGS Mt Deception
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

  • The Ten Essentials
  • Helmet
  • Mountaineering Boots
  • Ice Axe
  • Crampons
  • Overnight gear suitable for late July conditions.
Trip Reports