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[TR] Mt. Olympus - summit success - Blue glacier, snow dome, crystal pass 7/3/2015


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Trip: Mt. Olympus - summit success - Blue glacier, snow dome, crystal pass


Date: 7/3/2015


Trip Report:

We set out to conquer Mt. Olympus on July 3 starting at 4:45 AM from Seattle area to catch the 5:35 AM Edmonds-Kingston ferry. We needed to get to the WIC in Port Angeles for permits early enough to ensure that permits were available. We got there around 7:30 AM and waited until 8:10 AM when the rangers started giving out permits, the line for permits grew drastically within a few minutes. We traveled to the Hoh River Visitor Center, parked, geared up, and started our long, long hike to Glacier Meadows at 10:30 AM. From the start of the trail head to about 12.4 miles the trail is virtually flat. The remaining 5.1 miles you gain about 3000ft that with a heavy pack are going to test your limits of endurance due to the distance already covered. It gets very warm in the valley and mosquitoes are everywhere, at around mile 16.5 we spotted a black cub bear, the mother fortunately never showed up. We reached Glacier Meadows around 8:00 PM and although we had permits all the campsites were taken, probably because some of the people there did not have permits which is annoying to say the least. We had to make our our camp, cooked, hanged our food, went to bed, and around 2:30 AM on July 4th we woke up and got ready for the summit bid. We headed out from camp at 3:00 AM. To get to the Blue Glacier follow the lateral morraine trail for about 1.3 miles. At the end of the trail there will be a faint booth path descending a scree/landslide field to get down to the blue glacier. Watch out for rock fall from your fellow team members and other climbers. At the start of the blue glacier, I suggest you rope up although it is solid ice there are many crevasses. Once we crossed the ablation zone there is some rock scrambling needed to get to the start of the snow dome climb. The slope is never more than 30-40 degrees. We followed the path already done by previous parties and had no issues in traveling the upper part of snow dome which is very flat and a nice spot to snow camp. There are several crevasses along the route but as of this trip report snow bridges and walking around them works fine. The bergschrund below crystal pass has a solid snow bridge at least for two more weeks. Once we were over Crystal Pass we saw several peaks but we knew none were the true summit from research so we followed the booth path until we crossed over the false summit and finally saw the West Peak and the summit block. At the false summit we unroped and took off our crampons, we descended in the scree field to the saddle and saw another bergschrund to our right. My two partners decided to climb the north face of the summit block and I decided to scramble to the top in mostly solid rock but lots of loose and false handholds. I reached the summit around 8:28 AM, my partners reached at 9:50 AM because the north face is a bottleneck especially when there's 30 people trying to get to the top. We took a break at the false summit and reached our camp around 4:30 PM. Our plan initially called for camp at Glacier Meadows the second night, but being crazy and all we decided to head down the same day. We reached Lewis Meadows camp around 9:00 PM at 11.2 miles from trail head and decided our feet had enough suffering for one day. The following day we woke up at 4:30 AM and reached the trail head at 10:15 AM, after covering ~47 miles and 10,000 ft of overall elevation gain, we finished it in a little less than 48 hours.


For a gpx track of the trip, if interested, get in contact with Adventure Explorers through facebook.


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Adventure Explorers was here :)

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Gear Notes:

Standard glacier travel equipment + two glacier ropes for summit block.


Approach Notes:

Road paved all the way to trail head. Approach to Glacier Meadows campsite is long.

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Nice work! You had much better weather than we did!


Was up there this weekend with our summit attempt on Saturday. We got to the summit block, attempted the 5th class variation and decided to bail due to wet rock from the rain and high winds we got pounded with. The Crystal Pass bridge is still in tact, but I can't imagine it will last much longer. Not sure where the route will go once it's gone.

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Little conditions bump:


Inspired much by the pictures here, we were up there on 7/19. A gentle rising traverse from the Snow Dome to the farthest left pass provides access to wrap around to the summit block. We figured that was "crystal" pass, but at any rate it's easy going with no complications.


Also, internet beta didn't seem quite clear on this, but a single rappel with a 30m gets you to a downclimbable terrain off the summit block. No need for a 60.


Here's the current route:


Edited by Raoul Duke
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Also, internet beta didn't seem quite clear on this, but a single rappel with a 30m gets you to a downclimbable terrain off the summit block. No need for a 60.



Whoah really? I was scared leading that pitch :).


Over 7/4 we found the route to be just about 25m tall, meaning we enjoyed having a 60 to rap down on. We used someone else's, though, so I'm still not recommending you carry a 60m all the way up there...

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