Can't quite remember the date... sometime in September I believe.
So I read with admiration the first trip report here: 60lb packs heading in and 70-75 heading out. That they got to the Ranger station at nine miles in three hours is very respectable. But let me show you the flip side...
Mount Olympus in a day. I'd been laughed at before with some of my ideas. I thought they were all plausible, given due effort. So a couple of friends laughed and I got more determined. I missed out on the first run due to minor fiscal problems (work or get evicted) so Mike and Olivier proved the trip could be done by completing it in 22 hours.
The second time around I made the cut and met a couple guys via the internet. I know Mountain Rescue folks get all bent out of shape when us folks with strong legs get these grand ideas, but we were all in good shape and competent (sanity is relative). We each had a picket, 9mmx50 rope, the essentials. Putting things in perspective though, perhaps my pack weighed 10-15 pounds, maybe. There's plenty of water along the way so I carried a one liter platypus. Trail shoes the entire trip. We had three pieces of pro, two stoppers and a Camp tri-cam. No helmets, a spectra double runner as a diaper harness. Gu, Cytomax, potato salad and candy bars. The Cytomax was a welcome addition. Oh yeah, and four-point instep crampons for all three of us.
Left the trailhead at 6-ish pm (didn't have to pay for park entrance at that hour). Actually, we met a ranger back at some town close to the park entrance. Barry is asking him about permits whereupon I interrupt and ask the ranger, "But we don't need a permit if we're not going to camp, right?" Man, that ranger looked at me like I was 100% loco. After hearing his "Are-you-prepared" speech, Barry did nothing to assure the ranger's worries by matter-of-factly stating we didn't know each other and had met over the internet to climb together. So it went.
Also lucky for us was that Barry is a doctor. Paul was the other guy and he carried the rope the whole way in, lucky guy. We all went by the light of the Tikkas, talked to the nice ranger at the nine-mile point (tried unsuccessfully to mooch some water... the art of going light, learning to mooch) and then headed for Glacier Meadows. We got there some 6 1/2 hours into the trip and tried to get some shut-eye. Of course we didn't have hardly anything for warmth for such laying around, but we tried. And shivered. Shivered and shivered some more till Barry yelled at us around 4am. Groggily got moving again, Paul still bent on carrying the rope. Got to overlooking the Blue Glacier to hear a party of climbers ahead of us clambering along. We think one of them forgot their headlamp. It was still darkish with some good moonlight as we went across the Blue in our insteps. Roped up once we got across (safer than it sounds). Headed up Snow Dome via the left side and gulped down the potato salad and remaining water (one-liter mistake here). From thereon, we boogied up to the summit. A running belay on the rock section with Barry on lead.
Nice summit day, great views. Headed back down after soaking it all in. Barry took some nice digital photos. Back at Glacier Meadows we had 4 1/2 hours left for the 24hr deadline. Nobody was too enthusiastic about going for it, but why stop now? Popped a couple of Advil (apparently that isn't too great for the kidneys) and started a walk/jog combo. From Nine-Mile it was still questionable whether the timing would work so it was a slow jog going out, watching everyone carrying refrigerators on their backs as we jogged by. I literally kissed the parking lot at 23hrs,43min. Tourists avoided me. I was so wore out, I didn't care. Barry came in followed by Paul shortly thereafter. We were some sorry looking dudes.
So, there's the flip side to the sixty pound packs. If you're in good enough shape to slowly jog 15 miles, I bet you could take this in 15 hours or so. We spent 3 1/2 hours in a shiver-fest trying to get some shuteye at the meadows. Passing thoughts on another challenge...
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