Wonderful day with two other teams. Just beat the clouds on the summit.
Hiked the dirty Hoh trail to glacier meadows on the 26th, made it in about 9 hrs, taking it easy. Started climbing at 7am on the 27th in THE perfect weather, sunny but a bit overcast at times so not too hot. Crevasses on the lower blue glacier were still quite small, nothing to worry about there. Took the early route up snow dome, which was in good shape but not for too much longer. Breaked at snow dome. All the early season routes to the summit block are no good, bergshrunds are enormous. Took crystal pass, caution of crevys and shrunds here, one opened up and and tried to swallow me here on the descent. Upper blue had larger crevys but still straightforward travel. Ascended and descended the false summit to the summit block. The slope below the summit block was about a 70 degree pitch and consisted of deep, wet snow with a suncrust. I led up and got to the summit block, the east face ledges still had snow, which was complicating but not a huge problem. Ascended the ledges and decided to take the 15ft highly exposed class 4 south chimney, no prob there, just don't slip...at all ;) summited in 9 hrs due to us being the first to climb since the last snow, I lead the whole time and kicked a very nice staircase up the entire route, your welcome. Hung out and ate lunch on summit for 2 hrs and then set up the rappel. I made an anchor of 6mm cordelette with rappel ring, wrapped around the big boulder, rappelled down with our 2 30m half ropes tied together, its an 80ft rappel, and began our descent. Glissaded down the 70 degree slope below the summit block and caused a small wet slide, my 2 climbing partners triggered 2 more on their glissades, caution of this as the snow is very wet, deep and heavy. Glissaded most of the way down and made it back to camp in 2.5hrs, right at dusk. Got up at 2pm on the 28th and made it back to car in 7hrs. Amazing trip, for sure recommended :)
22 hours car to car dayhike of mt. Olympus. Beautiful area!
The most dangerous part of the Blue Glacier was the lateral moraine that needed to be descended. The moraine had a lot of loose rocks and dirt; rockfall was constantly a concern. Due to the near-record snow year, the glacial crevasses were still only minor cracks. The Snow Dome also had a couple of minor cracks; nothing major. From the Snow Dome we were able to ascend the "Fourth of July" route; we later got the impression that we might have used that route later than anyone else has, due to the high snowpack lasting into early July.
My 36th Washington CoHP and my 37th Washington CoGPP.
Rained out at Glacier Meadows. It poured and poured, and I had to use the ice ax to dig a channel to drain the water around the cribbing at the established campsite. The tarp is the way to go here - everyone else in my party lef their tents to hang out with me.
I climbed this with a group of mountaineers and it was a great climb. I have been backpacking and climbing now for quit a few years and I would have to say this is one of the most beautiful and spectacular climbs I have been on. You have 10ft diameter cedar trees on the trail in, go for a nice swim at Elk Lake, and then head up the Blue Glacier with the sunrise to your back. Spectacular!!! This one is definitely worth your time to check out!! Conditions were good this weekend, we had great weather 60-75 degrees in the day. It stays very warm at night. Snow was good with almost all snow off the campsites at the meadow. With in a day or two it would be gone. Glacier was good with minimal crevasses, rock climb was a blast the last bit to get to the top!!!
July 24-31, 2004
For our big 2004 vacation, my girlfriend Amy and I decided to spend a week in the Olympic Mountains. Aiming for Mt Olympus, we hiked in along the backpacking mecca of the Hoh River trail 18 miles to the base of the mountain. The approach was pretty uneventful, but there was some interesting wildlife on the trail (pack llamas).
Once reaching the Blue Glacier, we switched from tennies to boots and roped up to work through our way up the crevasses.
The terrain switched from blue ice down low to snow up higher as we ascended the Snow Dome. This was interesting hauling up full packs but paid off later (UGH!) The icefalls were incredible and we built our camp atop the Snow Dome--our home for 4 nights.
Our day hikes were interesting. We observed a large mudslide coming off Mt Athena. We also visited the summits of Mt Olympus' west peak and Mt Tom, a neighboring peak. I was surprised to read in the register that the last ascent was in 2001--strange being adjacent to the heavily visited Oly. (yes I realize that everybody doesn't sign these things, but still!)
Mt Tom was a straightforward mountain, but required descending the west face the Olympus massif to obtain the White Glacier and the slog up to the summit. So afterward it meant re-ascending Olympus which was a butt-kicker.
Our rewards for camping up high on the glacier included great views of sunrises, sunsets, the Northern lights, and the "Goat Show"--watching the antics of the local mountain goats inhabiting the area around our camp. We saved our best meal for the last night up there--spam & potatoes!
This final night also provided the best sunset of the trip--over the fog-laden valleys leading out to the Pacific.
It was definitely a great introduction to a special place.