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Alex Leone

[TR] Mount Olympus in a day - Blue Glacier / Crystal Pass / Rap Route 8/1/2014

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Trip: Mount Olympus in a day - Blue Glacier / Crystal Pass / Rap Route


Date: 8/1/2014


Trip Report:

Dave and I climbed Mount Olympus in a day. Final time was 19 hours, 51 minutes round trip. It was 40+ miles and 9,000ft+ total vertical gain/loss. We started from the Hoh River Trailhead at 3am, hit the summit at 12:30pm, and returned to the trailhead at 10:51pm.


Overall, the route is in excellent shape. The Hoh River Trail was great. It is no longer necessary to descend the ladder down the washout just before Glacier Meadows - a new trail has been dug into the slope. The loose trail from the top of the ridge of the lateral moraine down to the glacier wasn't bad with poles (and crampons on the way up). The blue glacier was beautiful and blue and we walked straight across without any route-finding issues. There was a good bootpack going up Snow Dome and around Crystal Pass that didn't cross any visible snow bridges in danger of melting out soon. We climbed the rappel route and there wasn't any moat issues getting onto the rock.



We still haven't seen the first few miles of the trail in daylight.



The washout before Glacier Meadows. The ladder is unnecessary, note the new trail dug across the slope on the upper right.







Lots of running water on the glacier, forming deep Moulins.









The route around the southwest side of the false summit to the summit snowfield.





Bridge over the Hoh River where the trail turns up the valley.





Full Album: https://plus.google.com/photos/103764998885643953728/albums/6043425121260634209


This was first time either of us had done more than 20 miles in a day, so I think we did ok for doing more than 40 miles! We started cramping about mile 11, and Dave had some toe bang on the way down. Huge respect to off_the_hook for such a ridiculous 11h6m time: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/895000/TR_Mount_Olympus_FKT_Blue_Glac


Our (very slow) splits:

Steel Bridge, 12mi?: 2h43m

Glacier Meadows, 17.5mi?: 4h29m

Snow Dome: 7h22m

Summit: 9h30m

Glacier Meadows: 12h45m

Steel Bridge: 14h27m

Trailhead: 19h51m



Gear Notes:


- Trail running shoes for the first ~19 miles from the trailhead to the top of the lateral moraine.

- Lightweight mountaineering boots with strap-on aluminum crampons for the Blue Glacier and above. I had no problems climbing the 5.4-5.6 rap route in mountaineering boots (Scarpa Chamoz). Dave didn't get enough mixed climbing in this winter and climbed the rock pitch in steel crampons :).

- 30m skinny glacier rope. Didn't come out of the pack until the rock pitch, since the glacier was bare and there was a good bootpack on the snow sections.

- slings, 3 cams, nuts. I think we used two cams and slung a chockstone and a horn.

- 30m tag line to pull the rope after the rappel.

- Two whippets instead of an ice axe and trekking poles.

- 1x picket, never used.

- 12x Succeed Caps (salt pills). I should have brought twice as many. My calves started cramping around mile 11 where the trail starts to gain elevation, probably because I wasn't replacing all the salt from sweating.

- Gu, protein bars, cliff bars.

- Small Jetboil between the two of us + 1x Mountain House each. Never used.

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seems a shame to move so quickly through such a lovely setting :)


congrats - can't imagine what shape my feet would be in after that :noway:

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Did this back in ~90 (pre-Gu), we'd gone down to climb Success Cleaver on Rainier, it was terribly melted out and out of nowhere someone came up with this kind of idea. . . . . similar time, although we took an hour nap at the Blue Glacier "high camp", carried too much gear also. And those smiling pictures on the summit. . . half way there. . . .


We easily wolfed down a lumberjack breakfast in Forks the next morning and later stopped in Sequim and ate an entire chocolate pie!


Congratulations, it takes some crazy ambition to do this! And

some really nice pictures.


How far did you get after you got back to your car??

Edited by kascadia

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I've been thinking on this trip for a while… your tr will prove useful when my time comes.


I think this is the way to do Olympus. Fast and light.

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I did it in 17.5 hours with two friends a year ago. I figure it's about 43 miles. We brought an ax apiece and running shoes. We also drove all the way back to Olympia once we reached the car. That was dumb. We also ran out of food for the final 10 mile stretch. Zombie march while bonking incredibly hard, don't do that.

C2C is a way to do Olympus, but definitely not the way. The trail is pretty ho hum hiking through the trees until you hit glacier meadows, but it is so dang gorgeous once you crest the moraine and beyond. Doing it C2C is a really fun way to test your endurance and push yourself, but make sure you go in again with a more relaxed 3 or more day pace so you can enjoy spending time up there.

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I think S Cascade Gl is comparable. As are a lot of the glaciers on the larger peaks, like Glacier Peak. But I think Blue Glacier is somehow a more magical spot, so close to the ocean, and different kind of scenery on the way in/out.

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