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[TR] Olympus and Valhallas, Olympic National Park - via South Fork Hoh River 7/27/2013

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Trip: Olympus and Valhallas, Olympic National Park - via South Fork Hoh River


Date: 7/27/2013


Trip Report:



It took me almost a year to get to this trip report, but I'm hoping that by posting it now, some of the route information might be of value to folks heading out this summer.


From July 27th to August 3rd 2013, my friend Erik and I climbed Mount Hugin in the Valhallas and the west peak of Mount Olympus, approaching from the South Fork of the Hoh. It was a brutally hot week, but we both agreed it was one of the best, most unique, and least traveled routes we've ever hiked in the northwest; and much easier terrain than I expected. There is pretty straightforward walking on the north side of the river all the way to Valkyrie Creek (gravel bars and game trails, with a couple sections requiring easy work arounds of constricted sections of the river). A logjam at the mouth of the Valkyrie Creek afforded us an easy crossing to the south side. From there, wide elk trails conveyed us easily to the Geri-Freki Creek (misnamed in other trip reports on this site) and all the way into the Geri-Freki basin below the toe of the (surprise) Geri-Freki Glacier; one of the most stunning places I've ever been. Easy access to the glaciers led to an easy scramble of Hugin (the easiest summit in the Valhallas), before we headed onwards to Mt. Olympus. Goat trails led to the ridge connecting the Valhallas to Olympus, and mostly straightforward walking in brutally hot sun (with a few very short sections requiring care), took us to another stunning camp at the toe of the Hubert Glacier. We followed to a T the line representing the path of least steepness on the topo maps, linking a pretty direct route to the Hubert. The next day, we did the same thing, taking easy snow ramps up to Snow Dome where we connected with the usual climber's route on Snow Dome, climbing the west peak by the south ledges route.


Pictures and a long(-winded) story about the trip are on my blog:


Approach notes: Unlike previous parties, we did not ascend to the Valhallas via the infamous Valkyrie Creek. We used easy elk trails to access the Geri-Freki Creek drainage, where more easy elk trails took us to the snout of the Geri-Freki Glacier.


Addendum: On Snow Dome we spent an amusing night with Dave Skinner who is donating his time over a multi-year period to restore the Snow Dome hut (removal of the hut is more expensive than restoration) and pack out years and years of garbage that accumulated as the result of the glacier research program. Dave welcomes help either in person or via donation. He has set up a program called "Friends of SnowDome", c/o David Skinner, 7097 Deer Park Road, Port Angeles, WA 98362 where you can mail a check, or leave a message at (360) 452-0565. This time of year you are more likely to meet him on SnowDome, where he'll put you to work if you have time and energy (in return for Kool-Aid, pancakes, and endless tales of mountain adventure).

Edited by Manacus
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I enjoyed your earlier report on this site, dorianlee, and definitely gave us some ideas as we planned our route.

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