This July ascent was the first of several Oly North summit trips this year (2020). Norths Fork route. As drobrecht mentioned, it is a little tricky finding the right entrance the first time or two. This route is pretty quick ... it's just over 2 hours (for my first time, where I made a few wrong turns up the ridgeline; a bit less than 2 hours subsequent times) and almost 2 and a half miles. Other times I explored all the north summits / ridges. My personal favorite is the northernmost summit, because of the incredible views.
I had no difficulty whatsoever starting at the Neff's Canyon trailhead and going up via North's Fork past Olympus Springs. While the watertower route may be a bit shorter, I can't imagine it is any more straightforward. I'd say abandon the hassle of dealing with jerk with a mansion, start at Neff's and go straight up the spring. The only catch is that you have to take the 2nd canyon on your right past the spring. GPS would help here (posted my route on peakbagger, Mount Olympus-North Peak, 2015-09-24). I started to take the 1st canyon but it didn't look great and I went back to the creek. Once you're in the right canyon, it's a straight shot to the ridge, then double back up the ridge to the top of Oly North. I found the summit traverse page helpful in choosing a good route across to Olympus proper. Then on to Triangle, Raymond, and Gobbler.
Some nasty bushwhacking to find the trail because of that ridiculous mansion that some dumbass built blocking the trailhead to show off how full of his little self he is, but didn't lose much time.
We stayed too far left in the first couloir and topped out too high. It seemed possible we could scramble down into the main couloir, but we couldn't see the whole route and knew we were in a nonstandard place anyway, and had plenty of time, so we searched around and found the right way. The ridge was fun, and very doable to stay on the crest the whole way, instead of dropping off at that gap as the description suggests. Went to the far north and high north summits, then down the west ridge.
One of my favorite hikes in the Wasatch! Stupid private development . . .
Used to go up via the water tanks, last few times I had to sneak up the private driveway, I've noticed that there are now security cameras.
Driving along I-215 for years and years, I had contemplated Mount Olympus's North Face, wondering “could it be done (by me)?” From what I had seen on this site and the John Veranth book "Hiking The Wasatch" (HTW), I was emboldened--even so much as to bring a novice hiking companion along to challenge what Veranth appropriately calls “some of the wildest and steepest terrain in the Wasatch.”
Saturday morning, after tennis plans fell through, my newby companion Jen (43, whose first big hike came the Sunday before—The Upper Reservoir of Bell’s Canyon) and I found ourselves with some extra time on our hands. As it turned out, there was not quite enough extra time to take on the North Face and get back down before dark, though.
Starting at 10:30, using HTW and everything good that SummitPost’s PellucidWombat had to write about this climb as a guide to find the starting point, we parked near the big gates of an obviously nice private home (the gated drive to this home eliminated the need to double back to the tank as described in the Wombat’s description). We headed straight up the hill to the South East of the large home’s private driveway. At the top of that hill we seemed to have met the trail. The hike presented an amazing variety of terrain—and tons of scrambling. Following the two published descriptions, we sought out and found a “rock-strewn chute” and continued “up.” In the photo I’ve posted named “NorthFaceCouloir” you can see a short portion of the approx. route taken up the chute as a solid green line and those parts of the hike in the hidden couloir as dashes. Take care where you first enter the concealed couloir as it is easy to hike up the chute too far to the left. There is no entering the couloir anywhere left of the solid green line. The route finding was easy upon entering the couloir and it was simple (tough) hiking from there.
In climbing the North Face, don’t expect to find much in the way of water—going up or coming down. After climbing to the North Summit we dropped into Tolcat Canyon for a not recommended, very rough, bushwacking hike down. I anticipated coming across the seasonal creek much, much earlier than we did; only encountering water with about 90 minutes to go on the descent.