Mount Olympus (yes, there are many mountains named Olympus) is part of the glaciated high alpine group located at the head of Fryatt Valley south of Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. It was first ascended by Hickson, Palmer and Fuhrer in 1926. Due to the long approach, this mountain sees minimal summits. The long summit ridge extends from the top of the NW face to a high point above the col to the east that Olympus shares with Xerxes. Both published alpine routes, North-West Ridge Alpine II, 5.6 and North-West Couloir Alpine III, traverse the mountain from the Olympus-Parnassus col to the Olympus-Xerxes col.
Follow the Columbia Icefields Parkway 31 km south of Jasper to the Athabasca Falls turnoff on your right. Follow the Althabasca Parkway 1.1 km to the Geraldine Lakes Road on your left. Drive along this road for 2.1 km to a sign posted trail leading left (east) toward the Athabasca River. This is where you park and either hike or bike in to the Lower Fryatt Campground 11.4 km. Pick your poison. Biking with a 65lb pack on single track is no joy, but it is faster than hiking. Another option is to portage the river saving about 6 or 7 km off of this trial. I biked in. Leave your bike at the Lower Fryatt Campground and proceed on the trail as it follows Fryatt Creek west for a total of 22 km past the Brussels campground, Fryatt Lake, Headwall campground, Fryatt Creek Falls and finally to the Sidney Vallance Hut gaining several thousand feet of elevation. This hut serves as a great base for considerable variation in alpine climbing. My group planned a week back here. I know few climbers willing to hike 22 km for one mountain in the Canadian Rockies.
Jasper National Park is one of four Canadian National Parks adjoined in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. You will need a Parks Canada pass for your vehicle and that is obtained as you enter the park(s) from any direction. You will also be required to obtain a backcountry permit. As always in this neck of the woods, you are in bear country and need to hike and camp appropriately. The mosquitoes are actually more of a problem though.
When To Climb
This is a summer area, best to climb from July through September. The Canadian Rockies Summit Alpine Ski Tour book does not mention any of these Fryatt Valley Peaks as objectives, however, ski touring is encouraged from the Sydney Vallance Hut.
The Sydney Vallance Hut received a major facelift and interior makeover in the summer of 1999 and is now a much improved version of the former cabin. It is open summer and winter with a limited capacity of 12 humans or 1 large bear. It has a propane system for cooking and lighting and a wood stove for heating. If you prefer camping, the last campground into this area is the Headwall campground. I don't advise this campground for any objective. It is poorly placed below an avalanche gully, meaning good bear habitat. It is best to either use the hut above the headwall and focus on Fryatt, Lowell, Olympus, Belanger, etc., or camp at the Brussels campground more than halfway in (very nice) and focus on Brussels and Christie. Campground reservations can be made through Jasper National Park .
I climbed five mountains in five days on this week long trip. My group was fortunate in that we had only one rainy day, our first day in the hut, which worked out since we just hauled our supplies 22 km the day before. Everybody did different mountains, but I climbed Lowell, Fryatt, Olympus, Christie and The Three Blind Mice. My web site has further information and pictures on these climbs. There are many more options as well.
""You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.""