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godskid5

is mount olympus in october a good idea?

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we were wanting to climb mt olympus this year, but the soonest we could go would be early to mid october. i am not familiar with the weather and conditions of the olympic mountains though and am wonder if this is a good time to go, or if we should wait until sprin 2008?

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the weather will be the most deciding factor for you, though the Blue Glacier that late might be more sporty than in June/July/Aug when its typically climbed. there is no way to know until your dates arrive...some years our high pressure lasts into October, some years it starts raining mid-Sept.

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When I climbed it in Sept. 2002 the lower Blue was hard ice, but completely flat and easily traversed with instep crampons. In the ablation zone there are no deep crevasses, but there are some very scary bottomless moulins (a fascinating glacier phenomenon, one I haven't seen elsewhere in the Cascades; crossing the lower Blue late in season certainly increased my understanding of glaciers and made the trip more interesting). There were two places where the late season could have been problematic: a narrow passage through Crystal Pass crossing to the S. side of the massif, and a large moat to be crossed to gain the summit block. You could probably find a place to cross the moat, but might have to traverse some exposed steep alpine ice at Crystal Pass. But if I were you I'd go for it. Even if you're turned back shy of the summit you will have had a great climbing experience.

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I was not familiar with the term moulin until I looked it up. I'd seen them on the lower Coleman glacier, but didn't have a name for them. Now I do.

 

I assume the word is pronounced "moo-lan", with a silent n. Comes from the French word for mill.

Edited by catbirdseat

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Here's a shot of Animal checking out a slot in the Lower Blue. This was the largest hole we saw on the Lower glacier, but there was plenty of running water flowing down those moulins (cool word). This was the second week of August.

 

Lower_Blue_on_Olympus.jpg

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thanks for the info guys. i read (on cc.com i think) that the moat at the summit block was pretty large and difficult on the class 4, but not bad on the 5.4 section. we plan on climbing there. is this true (obviously it changes somewhat year to year, but we're looking for an average here!)?

 

p.s. great pics!

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You are never going to climb anything if you don't try. Give it your best shot, and good luck.

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