This route report describes the Blue Glacier route on Mount Olympus finishing via a rock climb of the North Ridge. This is an alternate to the standard 4th class scramble on the northwest side of the summit block. This variation provides much better rock and good protection, in lieu of the chossy rock and poor protection on the standard finish.
This is a beautiful route with tons of glacier travel, beautiful mountain vistas, and the nice finish to the rocky pinnacle.
Drive to the Hoh Ranger Station located on the west side of the Olympic peninsula. From the trailhead hike the 17.5 mile long Hoh River Trail to Glacier Meadows located at 4,200 feet. The trail is mostly flat for the first 12 miles but gains elevation rapidly in the last 5 miles. This approach can be done in 1 long day or 2 fairly casual days. Total elevation gain is 3,700 feet to camp. There are good campsites on nearly every mile of the trail. Beware of the 3 avalanche chutes just below Glacier Meadows, there is some fairly hazardous scree or snow crossing on the 3rd one.
Leave your camp in Glacier Meadows, hiking south towards the Blue Glacier. Turn left towards the lateral moraine after 2/10s of a mile. Hike up the left side of the moraine then follow the path towards the top with stunning views of the Blue Glacier and Mount Olympus's 3 summits. Drop a hundred feet down to the edge of the lower Blue Glacier and rope up here.
Cross the lower Blue Glacier aiming for the left side of a series of rock buttreses below snowdome. Hike up glacier and easy rock sections making your way west to the top of snowdome. From the top, proceed due south across the glacier. From here you have 2 options: If you go very early in the season (usually late June or earlier) it is possible to climb the steep snow slope directly up the summit plateau. The condition of the bergshrund here will determine if this is feasible. In recent years, this standard way is out of condition by July 1st.
Option #2 is to traverse to the southeast before starting up the steep slope aiming for the obvious low notch between several rock towers. From here traverse around to the glacier on the south side of Olympus and climb this up the summit plateau. Now scramble up the right side of the rock pinnacle then downclimb to a notch.
From the notch climb the steep snow slope to a flat spot below the north side of the west peak's summit block.
The rock route starts right in the middle of the north side heading up some good crack systems. The crux is in the first 30 feet and eases into scrambling after that. This pitch is about 90 feet long. Belay from the anchor just below the summit. Now scramble class 2 to the true summit of Mount Olympus.
Rappel the route, 60 meter required. It may be possible to rap and downclimb the scramble route with a 30 meter rope, but the rock over there is chossy and this is not recommended.
Reverse course down the glacier back to camp and hike out.
Essential Gear60 meter rope
a few small to medium nuts
I would recommend bringing a water filter instead of iodine on the approach due to the high amount of silt in the Hoh River.