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MounTAIN_Woman

Olympus Ascent

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Jim, my two brothers and I did an ascent of Mt. Olympus the weekend of July 25 - 28. We drove over Friday, hiked in to 13.3-mile camp just beyond the High Hoh bridge for the first night. We decided to split up the approach into two days. Day two we established a base camp at Glacier Meadows at just over 18 miles. The trail is nearly flat to abut a mile before the High Hoh bridge, after which it begins to climb to Glacier Meadows. There is a section of trail beyond the bridge that crosses a steep scree slope with a narrow boot path. It gave us pause, looking down hundreds of feet of hard-packed dirt and loose rock. Glacier Meadows camp is nice - they even have a boulder that you can practice using your prussiks. We spent a little time on the boulder.

 

Day three - summit day. We couldn't have asked for better weather! Bluebird, all day! Left camp at 5:00, later than we wanted because the darned alarm didn't go off! Worked our way up the Blue, made an end run around some rock buttresses, and topped out on the snow dome. It was all in good condition thus far, a few crevasses opening up, we had to leap over two. Started to see other people on the route - but with the weather forecast, we didn't think we'd have the mountain to ourselves anyway. We chose to go the Crystal Pass approach to the summit block. The steepest snow was about 40 to 45 degrees, and there was an excellent runout. It made for fun glissading on the way down.

 

We chose to ascend a route on the north face of the West Peak. The books and other trip reports mention a class 4 scramble, but what we saw didn't look like class 4. There was another party ahead of us, but in the true spirit of alpinism and cooperation, we joined forces and shared ropes, and all ten of us summited (not all at once, of course!). We agreed that the rock was probably lower 5th class, like 5.4-ish on fairly sound rock. The other party's leader started up on their rope, a second person trailed our rope and then they fixed them at the summit. The rest of us ascended the fixed rope using prussiks to self-belay. It was a scene reminiscent of the Hillary Step! I would recommend if there are more than three in the party, take a second rope so you don't have to belay halfway, unless you are comfortable simul-climbing fifth class rock. There is a rappel rock at the summit with several slings, a few of them look new. It is nearly a full 165-foot rappel from the summit to the snow. A bergschrund is developing, with a hefty step to get to the rock. It may be difficult to access the rock as time goes on and this heat continues. Moreover, there is a snowbridge on the Crystal Pass approach that won't last much longer. It was thin when we crossed it, and melting fast. But there is probably another way around it, just more convoluted.

 

We summited at 1:00 that afternoon. After a short time on top taking photos, we rappelled down to the snow for an enjoyable glissade. We got back to base camp at around 6:00, then packed up and moved camp down the trail to attempt to take some of the sting out of the hike out the next day.

 

We moved camp to a nice site at Martin Creek, at mile 15. Our tired, hungry bodies didn't want to go any further that night. Monday, our feet felt no better, and our packs seemed to have gained weight! The hike out was grueling, and our feet ached! We took occasional breaks, but each time we stopped, our feet would hurt worse! We had 15 miles to hike out to the trailhead and clean cotton. Going slower only made it worse. About mile 12, I decided to just kick it in, ratchet up the pace to about 3 miles per hour (from the steady 2 we had been keeping), and I stopped for nobody! Not even the group of very large men in dark glasses wearing brand spankin' new backpacking gear! I was tired of getting no respect, nobody yielding the trail even though I had the law of gross tonnage behind me (large pack, fast pace, and good forward momentum), but I must have had this crazy, wounded bear kind of look, cause these guys parted like the Red Sea! Only later did I find out that Laura Bush was visiting the park that day, and it was her entourage that we passed, she was on the side of the trail with a park naturalist (my brother noticed her, but he lives in DC) and there I was, all 5'4" of me forcing the secret service off the trail! But I hurt too badly to stop! I mean, everyone knows that you don't mess with a wounded bear! Needless to say, we were focused. My two brothers were well ahead of Jim and me, and it wasn't until we were back to the parking lot that we realized what was going on in the rain forest.

 

Footwear notes: two of the group did the approach in trail running shoes. Aching feet, but not as badly as the two in hiking boots. I wore hiking boots in and used plastic boots on the climb. The shoe change was great! My feet felt great during the climb. They started aching again on the way out. I was wondering if it is just that the hiking boot isn't designed to support that kind of impact (flat trail, heavy heel strike, heavy pack). Yes, I realize that I could have taken lighter gear, packed lighter, but I think I did well to keep my pack to under 40 pounds for a four-day trip with climbing gear. My brothers' feet still hurt, but not until the hike out. The running shoes seemed to be the footwear of choice among our small group. I loved the plastic boots on the climb. I took off the plastic shell for the rock pitch (climbed in the inner boot - I have Lowa Denali's).

 

Truly a magic climb - one to be savored. We only wished we had more time to enjoy the trip out, too, and not beat out the last 15 miles, but we were ready for real food, cotton clothes, and a hot shower.

 

 

 

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Only one question, Montain Woman - how did the Pacific Ocean look from top of Mt Olympus? I was there in clouds the weekend of July 18-19. That view was the only one I was looking for. I (never) tire of only glimpsing Puget Sound from the Cascades. Wanted to see the BIG body of water.

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It was fairly hazy, so unfortunately, the Pacific didn't stand out much against the hazy horizon, but it was still visible and very cool. We saw some gnarly looking peaks up in Canada, and could see Rainier through the haze, but for as gorgeous as the weather was, there was too much haze on the horizon for the ocean to really stand out. I'll see if I have a decent photo to post later.

 

By the way, we were speculating that Laura Bush is a closet green, and waited until George was out of town and stole over to the rain forest to get in touch with her inner green! shocked.gifThey were very secretive about her visit. So, maybe the best way to protect what we love is to appeal to the First Lady's green side!

hahaha.gifsnaf.gif

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nice! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

 

When i went i wore running shoes for all the hiking except on summit day. Even then, you probably could still where approach shoes (my buddy did without issue - i don't actually own any). Plastic boots seems like massive overkill. The thing that killed my feet was the last hour of the glacier when i decided to take off my gaiters madgo_ron.gif My feet got soaked and there ended the happiness.

 

gaiters are good

 

bigdrink.gifbigdrink.gif

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Jim wore his lighter boots with strap-on crampons and said that it worked fine for him. I just liked the extra support of the plastic boot, and the boot change. I would never hike the trail in them, though!

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Please direct any new route information to the mountaineers. Another new route on Olympus has me excited cause the standard route is rated class 3 and the west ridge is 5.4.

Maybe some of you where off route or just chestbeaters.

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It is certainly possible that we were "off route", we know we did not do the route that we had a description of from several sources, but rather spent some noodle time at the base with that other party and decided that the route on the northern side looked viable, and after watching their leader make the ascent, knew it would go. The fifth class portion was only about 60 or so feet, then it kicked back and became much more of a scramble over looser rock to the summit. We surmised that the "normal" route may have melted back too much to access it, or even to recognise the start. What we saw did not look viable. See attached picture for climbers at the northern face. Chestbeating? I think not. I think this was a known route, it just wasn't the one we had the information for. But it was a fine way to top out on this fantastic climb.

 

5a1a55965cd08_221458-NorthFaceOlympus.JPG.fb0451aa36ed7739c171b69ac25fec15.JPG

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MounTAIN_Woman said:

It is certainly possible that we were "off route", we know we did not do the route that we had a description of from several sources, but rather spent some noodle time at the base with that other party and decided that the route on the northern side looked viable, and after watching their leader make the ascent, knew it would go. The fifth class portion was only about 60 or so feet, then it kicked back and became much more of a scramble over looser rock to the summit. We surmised that the "normal" route may have melted back too much to access it, or even to recognise the start. What we saw did not look viable. See attached picture for climbers at the northern face. Chestbeating? I think not. I think this was a known route, it just wasn't the one we had the information for. But it was a fine way to top out on this fantastic climb.

 

 

Hey Mountain_Women,

Looks like the snow may have melted out a bit.

See Attachment.

Good work bagging the summit! thumbs_up.gif

221503-olympus1.jpg.995725a5561e098338ba6d3852f24af0.jpg

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Thanks for posting that photo ncascademtns - yes, it sure looks like the snow melted back. Incidentally, the route we did is mentioned in the Smoot book. We rappelled the same way, but our ascent went up the dark cleft you can see in the photo in front of the person standing on the snow, and it went up right between your ascent line and rappel line. The rock wasn't too bad, but it definitely got looser with altitude!

 

 

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Jeff Smoot is a friend of mine. I few of my routes are in his new book. Great guy with a lot of history to his young age.

He has given me great info on the construction of my climbing wall in my backyard. I have been considering going into the business. I just need customers. yellaf.gif

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