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Olympus conditions?

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Olympus conditions?

Postby Luciano136 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:49 pm

I will be in Salt Lake for 3 days during Christmas. I want to hike/climb a peak one day. Sounds like Olympus is a classic and very close to town. Has anyone been up there recently? What can I expect? Is the routefinding difficult in any way?

Thanks!!
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Re: Olympus conditions?

Postby byates » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:36 am

The trail is ice free to the stream crossing, after the stream crossing blister hill is icy, dries up to secondary stream crossing, some firm snow hiking till it switches back to other side of drainage, final 750 vert to saddle hard snow with a little ice, the class 2+ chute is basicly ice free, mixed snow and rock to summit. Did it the last three weekends, I recommend some type of traction footwear, i,e Kotoola's or yak tracks and poles. With the lack of snow so far this year the trail has been busy on weekends, with the present forecast good chance I'll be heading back up Xmas eve morning.
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Re: Olympus conditions?

Postby Gafoto » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:30 am

I did it at the beginning of December and I imagine it's pretty much the same now. I had crampons on for the descent from the saddle and they were helpful. You could definitely get away with yaktrax or something similar as long as they're fairly burly. I was hiking with a girl who had some cheap ones and they broke because of how steep the trail was.

Unless it absolutely dumps in the next week, which it shouldn't, the trail should be a breeze.
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Re: Olympus conditions?

Postby Phenom » Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:43 am

With all the interesting snow conditions on the higher Wasatch summits I've been hitting Olympus nearly every weekend for the past couple months. Byates, that was me who stopped you on the switchbacks on Blister Hill last week.

The trail is so frequently used that the snow is packed down good. Sporadic snow on the trail above Tolcat crossing. Pretty consistent when entering the trees. I've broken two set of Yaktracks up there and decided they aren't really up to the task, so an investment in Microspikes solved that problem. So far four times up and down on Olympus since getting the microspikes and they've held up good. Great for the mixed rock/snow portions of the trail.

This picture pretty much shows where the majority of the snow is up there, at least right now. Left is the saddle, the chute leading to the summit lower left in the picture. At the right is the base of the treeline above the Blister Hill area. This photo was taken last Saturday.

Image
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Re: Olympus conditions?

Postby byates » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:00 am

Backing up Phenom's evaluation of yak tracks vs katoola Micro spikes for for Wasatch hiking, get the Micro spikes, they will fit the bill for our local conditions 95% of the time vs various problems with Yak tracks, i.e coming off, breaking and sliding around. Micro spikes hold up on the rocks while Yaks break. Spend the extra 20 bucks, they are worth it.
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Re: Olympus conditions?

Postby TheSalt » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:04 am

byates wrote:Backing up Phenom's evaluation of yak tracks vs katoola Micro spikes for for Wasatch hiking, get the Micro spikes, they will fit the bill for our local conditions 95% of the time vs various problems with Yak tracks, i.e coming off, breaking and sliding around. Micro spikes hold up on the rocks while Yaks break. Spend the extra 20 bucks, they are worth it.


Ordering them now.
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Re: Olympus conditions?

Postby Luciano136 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:45 am

Thanks guys!! I don't have microspikes but I always carry an ice axe and crampons if there's a chance of snow/ice.

On a side note, would the Pfeifferhorn be a good pick as well this time of the year? Seems like the routefinding could be a little tricky?
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Re: Olympus conditions?

Postby byates » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:52 am

For the Pheifferhorn there is enough snow you will need snowshoes or skis for the approach, REI rents the locally, with the present forecast avalanche conditions should be low but check the Utah avalanche site just before you go. Stick to the standard route, avoid the central south east snow field center, the snow is rotting out pretty bad at the moment.
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Re: Olympus conditions?

Postby Luciano136 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:30 am

byates wrote:For the Pheifferhorn there is enough snow you will need snowshoes or skis for the approach, REI rents the locally, with the present forecast avalanche conditions should be low but check the Utah avalanche site just before you go. Stick to the standard route, avoid the central south east snow field center, the snow is rotting out pretty bad at the moment.


I have some snowshoes as well, so that could work. Is the routefinding difficult? Anything else I should consider?

Oh, and if anyone wants to join, I don't mind a little company :). Looks like Sunday or Monday might be the day.
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