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[TR] Mount Olympus - Blue Glacier 5/16/2009


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Trip: Mount Olympus - Blue Glacier


Date: 5/16/2009


Trip Report:

With plans for a 2-day trip up Olympus this weekend, we geared up at the Hoh River trailhead Friday night. Jeff's pack is an impressive 61 pounds, containing over 8lbs of food and 7lbs of camera. I was pleased to see mine at only 36lbs; optimistic that 1.5lbs of food would be enough. Lauren politely declined to enter our pissing match and strode off down the trail.



Starting down the Hoh at 7:00am


The miles ticked by and at 1pm we reached snow around 3000', mile 16 or so. We changed from tennis shoes to boots and within 5 minutes were lost in the old growth. We eventually ticked off this final mile after 4 hours and collapsed at Glacier Meadows around 6pm. Jeff ate 2lbs of Costco pastries while I played a delicate game of Cramp Chaser. Quads, now right calf! And back to hamstings. Now the left foot! Spirits were low from the delay, but we were prone and chose to re-assess in the morning.


Feeling surprisingly well at 3:30am, we skinned off to the objective. The first 800' from camp up past the Moraine was wet, heavy and uninviting for a later ski down. Descending from the Moraine down onto the glacier was even worse. But once we reached the Blue Glacier the conditions could not have been better. It was easy going over the lower glacier, up onto Snow Dome and by 6:00am we reached the elevation of the standard south-east traverse around Five Fingers. Being early enough in the season, we were fortunate to have a direct route the summit available. With a softening crust over consolidation, kicking steps was cake and we were below the summit block at 7:00am.



Sunrise from Snow Dome's flank



Final 1000' direct line to summit in center




Final pitch




Summit Block



We waited the obligatory 30 minutes to allow the snow to soften. It couldn't have been better. Perfect corn on wide-open pitches.



All smiles




With the Moraine in sight, open up the super-G



Back to camp and into the old growth around 9am. Rumble, fumble, stumble our way back to the car at 4:30. All that for a 20 minute ski? Sure beats walking off.




Gear Notes:

Tennis shoes.


Approach Notes:

See above. In addition, the last avy chute before Glacier Meadows is pretty treacherous. We bushwhacked straight up about 100' from the trail before traversing it. Park rangers told us they'll be installing fixed lines soon.

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I was feeling pretty determined to take on the summit block, but I gotta say I wussed out when we got there. Tom thought it looked managable, but he works in the 5.10 range. I'm not much of a rock guy. I didn't think it would have been smart (for me) to search for good holds through the snow in a chimney with AT boots on. We didn't get any looks at the other sides of the thing.

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