We took our time for this trip, spending a leisurely 5 days. The original plan was to have two summit bids, maybe even tackling one of the other nearby peaks but we ran out of steam after the first push. Next time I'll try it in 3 days.
Hoh trail is long but nice and soft. The washout ladder is missing a few rungs but it's nothing compared to that dreadful descent off the lateral moraine.
We left at 3am, the second team. The first team was a guide and client and they left at 2:30. Most other teams left later and ran into pretty slushy snow for the majority of the afternoon. Navigating the lateral moraine was the hardest part but if you follow the cairns it's doable. Just don't descend too early or else it becomes dangerously impassable. Same advice follows for the ascent when you return. I highly recommend scouting it out the day before if you have the time. First cairn is along the main path and is a pipe sticking out of a pile of rocks. From there contour until the slope evens out. The best descent spot is marked with two cairns.
Pulling out our big lungs we ascended snow dome. 4th of july is ironically crevassed out so we took crystal pass. Navigated over some crevasses to get onto the false summit, and that's where we got stuck. There's a massive shrund that's formed this season at the north base of the summit block. If the snow was harder and we weren't so slow in the morning we might have tried to protect it with pickets and get around to get onto the block but it just wasn't in the cards for the day. If you go leave at midnight and be prepared to protect it. If you have a long enough rope you might be able to rap past it on the way back down but otherwise you could get stuck on the wrong side with the sun melting the snowbridge. I'll throw a picture on if I can.
Anyways the descent was hot but filled with beautiful views. Got back to camp and spent two days backpacking out. Rumor was one team submitted by scrambling the east face, but everyone else just made it to the false summit.
Happy Birthday America!
Great trip! Was guided by Mountain Madness, Alex our guide was outstanding. Had one other guy with us. Day 1 started with rain for about 1 hour, then stopped the rest of day. Camped at Olympic Guard Station (9.1 mi). Next day, 8 miles to Glacier Meadows, no rain. Fog coming in Tuesday evening. 2am Summit start postponed to 4am. Got started. View at top of Blue Glacier Moraine was beautiful and haunting, as a storm came through with 50+ MPH winds on the moraine and glacier. Rain and Freezing rain pelted us all morning as we crossed Blue Glacier, fog all around, couldn't see more than 1/2 mi, and cannot see top of mountains. We called the climb at 8:30 due to weather and some health issues. Got back to G.M. with rain all day, played cards and drank coffee all day in the Shelter. Thursday out 11 miles---TOUGH day to Happy 4 campground...then a nice easy out of 5.7 mi on Friday. Too bad we got that weird Canadian storm on Wedn...ruined our summit bid...but that is the nature of climbing. But Olympic is a special place...saw the biggest black bear EVER!, and a Mountain Lion about 3 miles out from the trailhead. All in all a VERY good experience, and I think I'd do it again (but saying that now, a week later....)...
Some have said that Olympus is more difficult than Rainier. On day 1 as we walked 12.5 miles up the flat Hoh River Trail, I was inclined to disagree. On day 2 when we walked further to Glacier Meadow, I was still inclined to disagree. Even on summit day when we walked up to the moraine, roped up for glacier travel, climbed the rock of the summit block, rapped off, and descended to Martin Creek, I was not necessarily convinced. On day 4 as we trekked the 15 miles out, however, I could see the reasons for this comparison -- but only for the DC or ID routes. :-)
It is all flat going until a couple miles past Lewis Meadow, where we camped our first night. If you are out there for longer than 3 days, this is a great spot to camp. Once the trail starts climbing at 12.4, the effort increases and you start feeling quite a bit slower compared to the easy progress of the previous miles. The ladder was in good shape, minus a couple broken steps. Some of us found it easier to just descend by hand via the fixed line.
Glacier Meadow is probably the least aptly named campsite I have ever encountered, but a great little place to stage for the next day nonetheless. Knowing there would be a number of other teams climbing the following day, we aimed to start walking at 3 a.m.
By the time we descended from the ridge to the moraine below (via plenty of scree and choss to keep it interesting), it was getting light. Straightforward routefinding up the glacier toward Snow Dome. Crevasses have yet to fully open up. A couple different options exist if you wish to avoid the snow bridge, though it does appear to be much dicier than it is as you approach it. Once up to the bump directly across from the summit block, we took a break and waited as other teams climbed. One of our leaders climbed the same route another team had ascended facing directly south; however, a team shortly behind us found that the "true" route was a short distance further around the block toward the southeast. In any case, either route is safe and doable; it only meant we likely climbed a 5.6 route as opposed to a 5.4. Life is filled with small challenges.
To save time, once the rope was fixed, the rest of us climbed attached to the line via Prusik. From the summit we watched as low clouds rolled in, and by the time we were back down to the moraine, the light precipitation started.
Our permit for the 3rd night was for Martin Creek, so we packed up our wet gear and tents at Glacier Meadow and headed down. The light rain continued through the night, but a small legal fire at Martin Creek helped us dry out and up the morale. We got no less than 9 hours' sleep (!) before packing it up the next morning. After walking for about an hour the rain stopped and we entered sunnier territory.
It took us 5.5 hours to hike out the fourth day.
Beautiful views! The standard route is in bad shape so we opted to climb the less frequently climbed West Ridge. Lots of route finding and loose rock.
With Tyler, Jack, Kevin, Michael, Broc and Jenny
#1 8-22-17 Led by Tyler and Jack of Pacific Alpine Guides our team of five stalwarts successfully reached the rugged summit on a 13.5-hour day, blessed with a bluebird day and nearly ideal snow conditions. Left Glacier Meadows campsite at 2:35 a.m. and high-fived on the summit 8 hours later. Thanks also to excellent team members Lana, Kevin, Broc and Jenny.
Amazing scenery with very long approach.
report : http://mvkazit.blogspot.com/2017/07/mount-olympus.html
One of my finest memories
I am not really a mountaineer but if the climb is easy enough with minimal rope then I am willing to go. The climb was easy and incredibly beautiful for us. It was so easy I climbed in my merrell barefoot shoes. Here is the story. http://ourjourneysflow.com/16180d-21h-11m-mt-olympus/
Finally off the list!
Climbed with josh and Mike and Jayme over a beautiful 3 days! Beautiful mountain
We finished via the North Ridge route (5.4). The lower blue glacier had giant pools of water in later day, so it's a good idea to go higher before crossing over the mostly flat glacier.
The Blue Glacier is amazing, reminding me more of the big, complicated glaciers I've seen up in Canada than the ones in the nearby Cascades. 10h12 car-to-car for an FKT. Trip report.
Climbed with Matt Lemke and Josh Lewis in 3 days. We had to do the 5.4 North Ridge route since the bergshrund was already impassable this year. Not much I can add that hasn't already been said. Incredibly rewarding beauty and worth the visit.
Great climb for my 25th birthday with my friend Chris, Did the Blue glacier route during a heat wave - running water on the ice at 4AM. We were on top by 8:30 and down through the heat before it got too bad
Did it in 4 days with my friends Nik, Cameron and Dan. Great group and fabulous weather made an outstanding trip unforgettable. The Blue Glacier in August is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever beheld. We filled our canteens in one of the many streams running down the glacier and drank the naturally pure and refreshing water.
We went Blue Glacier, Crystal Pass, to the west side summit block ascent. The east side scramble route was inaccessible due to a troublesome moat. The west side route was mostly class 4 with a 15-foot step that I'd call 5.4.
The washout area below Glacier Meadows has a new trail grade cut through it, so it is no longer a major obstacle.
PS. This mountain is stunningly beautiful. The Blue Glacier is unlike any other glacier I've seen or know of in the lower 48 with its low-grade terminus. Definitely worth the 44 mile round trip.
Long hike but worth every step. Beautiful area.
Came back from our first trip to the Blue in 2009 this time to get the summit. Perfect day.
Beautiful summit day with undercast and views from Mt. Hood to Mt. Baker. Went up Crystal Pass and then took the North Ridge (5.4) variation to gain the summit. Route to Crystal Pass was still in fine shape, but goes between 2 large crevasses along a steep slope; a fall here would put the entire rope team into the lower crevasse, so be careful! Getting onto the North Ridge requires going around a moat that may have gotten bigger since we were there. There are currently a couple of (questionable) intermediate rap anchors en route, in case you brought less than a 60-m rope. Otherwise, with a 60 you can get all the way down to the snow from the big slung boulder near the summit. Not sure how much longer the route has this season due to the unusually large schrunds near CP, so glad to have gotten it when we did!