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Fairweather

[TR]Mt Olympus Climb 7/17-7/20

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After an absence of 21 years from Olympus, I decided to give it a try with my son despite accounts of less than great climbing conditions. We left for Olympus Guard Station on Sunday afternoon and made camp alongside the river. Trudged up to Glacier Meadows the next day and met a large party of guided teen-climbers from the east coast who had summited earlier that day. They claimed that conditions were very good and that both the direct and the Crystal Pass routes were doable. As this group was heading back down, it became apparent that Ben and I would have the mountain to ourselves the next day. We got a late start at 4:15am and arrived on the lateral moraine just in time to see the sun hit the summit ridge far above. The glacier was bare and the firn line appeared to be just a little higher than normal for July. The party from the day-before made a great boot path for us to follow! Snowdome was smooth and only a few small cracks were apparent. Crystal Pass was easily attained and crossed...and NO BERGSCHRUND was present. The upper Blue Glacier was, likewise, smooth with only one semi-nasty snowbridge to cross. After crossing the false summit, and getting our first close-up view of the West Peak, it was apparent that the rumors of "the 60 foot wide moat" were also false. (see picture below) We crossed easily from the snow apron to the ledge where I belayed the kid along and up to the top in short order. The last few feet up seemed harder than I remember, but not any worse than hard fourth-class. Took some pics and headed back down to camp another night at Glacier Meadows. Saw two friendly parties camped at Cal-Tech Moraine and preparing to summit the next day. We got up at 5am and hiked out the 17 miles on Wednesday.

 

Here are a few pics. Sorry about the 'family-theme', but I get carried away with the camera sometimes..... smile.gif

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beautiful. Way to put all those rumors aside and go get 'er!

Besides, all the gossip probably worked out for your benefit since you guys were alone up there thumbs_up.gif

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Nice work! Looks like a fun trip. I've been trying to drag my dad up for the past decade and a half. Nice pictures Brian. thumbs_up.gif

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Good stuff, Brian. thumbs_up.gif

 

A few recent route details:

 

My dad and I climbed yesterday. The route is quite a bit more melted out than in FW's pics. We did the 'direct'; the schrund is gaping. To bypass it, we traversed above, crossed some rock, and regained the snow. Crossing from the rock to snow was decidedly non-trivial with crampons on sneakers.

 

We descended behind the summit group, which has only one snow bridge. The direct will melt out real quick.

 

Oh, and that's one goddamn long hike. At least we did it, now I'll never have to go back.

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Great! That 'direct' looked like more than we wanted to chew off. I think you can see the tracks in one of my pics from a previous party and that rock cross-over you mention is apparent. Did you come down through Crystal Pass, then?

 

Did you see any ashes on top? ....I guess there was a burial several days before our climb. I assumed this was the only reason ashes would be up there, and when I asked the ranger at OGS about it the next day, he seemed shocked that the remains hadn't blown away. Whoever you were.....you picked a great spot to rest!

 

I would really like to go back next year and do a cross-olympic trip through Queests Basin and out the N Fork Quinalt. That was our original plan this year...but you know how it goes. Glad your trip went well! Got any pictures?

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I would really like to go back next year and do a cross-olympic trip through Queets Basin and out the N Fork Quinalt.

That would be a fun trip! The Queets is well worth the walk. The upper queets is some bushwackin' elk trail walking - would you be trying to cut over to Skyline trail?

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Yes, we descended Crystal Pass. We didn't see any ashes, though. Lots of photos were taken, I might post some in the next few days.

 

Cross-olympic traverse? That would be too much hiking. tongue.gif

 

It just killed me to slog down all that wonderful corn. But getting skis in there would be painful as well.

 

EDIT: pics for Fairweather.

Edited by pbelitz

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FW, how old is your son? How did you feel about his capabilities to deal if you fell in a crevasse or were injured in a remote area? My son is 10 and I would love to do a trip like this soon.

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He's now 16. 125lbs. (I'm 165lbs) We've practiced crevasse rescue many times over the years, but honestly, I was a bit nervous about having the mountain to ourselves. Had I gone in and bonked my head on the way down we'd be pretty screwed, I'll admit. I'm confident he could secure the rope, but he was under pre-arranged instructions not to seek help by traveling solo, rather to wait on site for 24 hours min. The boot track that was put in the previous day made me feel a bit better about the crevasses, but you never know. I went with the AMGA-suggested loops in the rope for (hopefully) quick extrication and, of course, on the descent sent the kid out ahead. Our rope was 8mm x 37m and I nagged constantly about rope tension. This was the first time I've taken the kid on a significant glacier w/o the presence of a third adult climber. Although he's been slogging around on glaciers since age 6 or 7, I don't think I'd have taken him out alone until just recently. Call us if you need a father-son team to join you!

 

My 2 cents.

 

FYI: My cell phone (Cingular) had a strong SOS-only signal available from the summit, all the way down to Snow-Dome.

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FW, i think it was prudent to go later season. The crevasses are more stable and wide open to see. Looks like you had great weather and I can only imagine how stoked your son must be to stand on top! Something he will remember for the rest of his life! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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That is an amazing trip with the lad. I've got a cupla 8 month olds now and this is inspiring me! What is up with that rumor anyway? I'm disgusted, having taken it at face value weeks ago and decided not to go in there this year. It sounded so...sure of itself. Like that sweet Renton granite. cantfocus.gif

 

Wow, again, great trip.

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nice pics, and report, Fairweather!! thumbs_up.gif that's gotta be one of my favorite mountains anywhere. have hiked to the Blue Glacier three times... twice just to see the glacier, and once, the most recent, to actually cross it and climb the mountain.

 

way to go having kids when you're young ... my dad taught me to love the mountains all right, but ..... being 40 years older than me, he was pretty much done with hiking/climbing by the time I turned 20, cause of back problems and other shit.

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