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[TR] Mount Olympus FKT - Blue Glacier 7/16/2009

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Trip: Mount Olympus FKT - Blue Glacier


Date: 7/16/2009


Trip Report:

I climbed Mount Olympus in 11 hours, 6 minutes round trip. This is the new fastest known time (FKT) on the mountain, breaking my own FKT from July 31, 2007 by 24 minutes. I went solo and the climb was unsupported. I started at 3:10 am and finished at 2:17 pm (miraculously, the same real time that I finished in 2007). Aside from a few minor differences (ladder downclimb on avalanche chute before Glacier Meadows, softer and slower snow conditions), everything from the weather to route conditions were essentially the same as in 2007.





Sweet shot for perspective.


Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time

Trailhead (578 ft) : 0 / 0 / 03:10

5 Miles (800 ft) : 46:10 / 46:10 / 03:56 (5 Mile Island)

9.1 Miles (950 ft) : 1:26:20 / 40:09 / 04:36 (Olympus Guard Station)

13.1 Miles (1,370 ft) : 2:09:01 / 42:40 / 05:19 (Hoh River Bridge)

15.1 Miles (2,558 ft) : 2:37:26 / 28:25 / 05:47 (Elk Lake)

17.5 Miles (4,400 ft) : 3:19:49 / 42:23 / 06:30 (Glacier Meadows)

Glacier Moraine (5,000 ft) : 3:53:36 / 33:47 / 07:04

Arrive Summit (7,969 ft) : 5:49:53 / 1:56:16 / 09:00

Leave Summit (7,969 ft) : 6:06:44 / 16:51 / 09:17

Glacier Moraine (5,000 ft) : 7:29:26 / 1:22:42 / 10:39

17.5 miles (4,400 ft) : 7:55:48 / 26:21 / 11:06 (Glacier Meadows)

15.1 Miles (2,558 ft) : 8:25:01 / 29:13 / 11:36 (Elk Lake)

13.1 Miles (1,370 ft) : 8:47:52 / 22:51 / 11:58 (Hoh River Bridge)

9.1 Miles (950 ft) : 9:26:59 / 39:07 / 12:37 (Olympus Guard Station)

5 Miles (800 ft) : 10:12:02 / 45:03 / 13:21 (5 Mile Island)

Trailhead (578 ft) : 11:06:53 / 54:51 / 14:17


Comparison: 2009 vs. 2007 (difference)

5 miles: 46:10 / 42:16 (+3:54)

9.1 miles: 1:26:20 / 1:22:46 (+3:34)

13.1 miles: 2:09:01 / 2:08:43 (+0:18)

15.1 miles: 2:37:26 / 2:44:23 (-6:57)

Glacier Moraine: 3:53:36 / 4:10:12 (-16:36)

Arrive Summit: 5:49:53 / 5:55:20 (-5:27)

Leave Summit: 6:06:44 / 6:17:14 (-10:30)

15.1 miles: 8:25:01 / 8:48:51 (-23:50)

13.1 miles: 8:47:52 / 9:08:50 (-20:58)

9.1 miles: 9:26:59 / 9:58:24 (-21:25)

5 miles: 10:12:02 / 10:38:58 (-26:56)

Trailhead: 11:06:53 / 11:30:54 (-24:01)


The glacier is generally in good shape with the route through Crystal Pass impediment-free. However, a large snowbridge just before Crystal Pass might be vulnerable if this hot weather continues. Also, the summit block is easily accessible - no moat has formed like last year.


The primary goal was to go under my time from 2007, which I accomplished, but I thought it would be nice to go sub 11 hours. With 13 miles to go, there was still a chance - I would have to go 10 min/mile pace, a tough task after 9 hours of moving hard. With 5 miles to go, I acknowledged to myself that sub 11 was out of reach and my tank was running low so I was just concerned with finishing it out. Despite the fatigue at the end, I felt a lot better than in 2007. Sub 11 hours is within my capabilities for next time, but less than 10 hours seems highly unlikely for me. Mount Olympus has spectacular scenery and I did not sacrifice photography, which is one of my favorite parts of adventure running - here is a collection of some photos and video clips (many are similar to 2007):























West Peak and Crystal Pass from Snow Dome







The Valhallas



Mount Tom





Strait of Juan de Fuca framed by Mount Carrie and the High Divide



Valhallas framed by West Peak and False Summit



Summit block





Direct route up the summit block is falling out of shape, but it still looks doable





Terminus of the Blue Glacier from Snow Dome.



Blue Glacier Panorama



The party of seven climbers were great subjects.









Wide panorama from the Moraine













Gear Notes:

Crampons, Ice Axe, SaltStick electrolyte caps


Approach Notes:

Trail in great shape - not even any mud in the rainforest and no fording of streams. Park crews also did a great job brushing out the section between Elk Lake and Glacier Meadows. A ladder + rope is installed to get past steep slide area just before Glacier Meadows.

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Nice run dude. You passed my wife and I on the trail at about noon (about 12 miles from the TH). We do a lot of ultras and admire your pursuits on this site. Way to go! What a great day to be up on Olympus....

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Leor, I'm glad you don't drop the pictures in favor of shaving a few more minutes off your times, your TR's consistently have some very lovely landscapes. Thanks. :tup:

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MOST IMPRESSIVE!!! ... CONGRATS ON THE NEW RECORD .. you passed us on your way down somewhere between high bridge and elk lake ... very cool that it was a record run ... you totally rock man ... just the hike out from gm yesterday left us totally wasted


btw .. we were told by a local climber (not a ranger) stationed on the mountain this summer that there's deep corn around the cracks on the direct and didn't advise it now; plus it's august conditions (actually the worst he's ever seen it as far as snow cover in the 50 yrs or so he's been doing research on the glacier and snow dome -- so it's incredible that we were still all able to easily get on the block


direct route 7/18/09



we used the crystal pass route



more pix here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets/72157621754774194/detail/

Edited by silence

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Awesome run, Leor! I was one of the guides who talked to you on your way down. The kids were impressed by what you did that day...

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