Mount Olympus/Blue Glacier

A long 17+ mile approach, a glacier with crevasses and bergschrunds, and a Class 4 rock climb with a Class 5 step on loose rocky ramps to the summit of its West Peak. Mount Olympus, in the center of Olympic National Park, is one of the "Five Majors" and a big accomplishment. The approach goes through a true old growth rain forest. Consider adding the Middle and East Peaks for a traverse of Mount Olympus. Mount Tom, Mount Mathias and Mount Mercury are also good additions to an expedition to Mount Olympus.

getting there

Drive US-101 through Port Angeles to 12.5 mi south of the town of Forks. Turn east onto the Hoh River Road and drive 19 miles to the end of the road at the Hoh Ranger Station and Campground in Olympic National Park (578 ft). Register here for the climb. 

APPROACH

Hike from the Hoh Ranger Station (578 ft) 17.2 mi to Glacier Meadows (4,200 ft). Reach Happy Four Camp (800 ft) in 5.7 miles, the Olympus Guard Station (948 ft) after 9 miles. The trail leaves the Hoh Valley after crossing the Hoh River Bridge (1,400 ft) at 13.2 miles. Reach Elk Lake (2,500 ft) in 15 miles. From here the grade increases to Glacier Meadows. Camp only in established sites.

ASCENT ROUTE

Mount Olympus/Blue Glacier (7,965 ft)

44 miles round trip with 7,400 feet of elevation gain; difficulty Basic Glacier Climb

From Glacier Meadows, hike way trail 0.8 mi to the top of the Blue Glacier moraine. Turn left and follow way trail along the top of the moraine for 0.2 mi or so before descending onto the Blue Glacier (watch for rockfall while descending). Rope up here. 

Cross the flat glacier and ascend snow slopes, through and around rock islands, to the crest of the Snow Dome (6,600 ft), keeping left of the biggest rock buttress. Proceed south-southeast through one of two passes left, or far left, of the five-fingered false summit, which is east of the summit, and approach the unseen summit from the east or southeast side. Drop into the sharp saddle between the false summit and the now-visible summit.

Climb a steep snow slope (good runout!) to its flat top, at the base of the 80 ft summit rock on its northeast side. There are three ways to finish the climb.

  1. A Class 4 route with a Class 5 step that winds across the east face up  series of ramps and then up to the summit. Beware of loose rock on ramps and rockfall from above. A very exposed corner should probably be protected with a fixed rope or belays.
  2. Descend a few feet west onto the little rocky ridge on the west edge of the summit block. Scramble up 50 ft (easy Class 3) to a large, secure belay ledge. Climb directly up mostly solid rock for 50 ft to the summit. Sseveral moves are Class  5.3-5.4, use 3-4 small-medium cams for protection.
  3. Climb ~80 ft directly up the north face, on mostly solid rock (estimated as Class 5.4).

Mount Olympus Traverse

45 miles with 8,100 feet of elevation gain; difficulty Basic Glacier Climb

Climb the West Peak of Mount Olympus (7,969 ft). Descend it and proceed to the Middle Peak (7,929 ft) and then on the the East Peak (7,762 ft). Descend to Glacier Meadow via Glacier Pass.

Mount Mathias (7,168 ft) & Mount Mercury (6,950 ft)

45 miles round trip with 7,000 feet of elevation gain; difficulty: basic Alpine Climb

For those who have already climbed Mount Olympus and looked around at all the awesome surrounding peaks, Mount Mathias, originally named Apollo,  stands out as a seldom climbed peak just west of Glacier Pass. Two routes can used to access the summit: (1) Ascend the steep snow finger between Mount Mathias and Glacier Pass, then climb Class 4 on the ridge to the summit, and (2) Ascend steep gullies to the Mercury-Mathias col, and climb the Class 4 ridge to summit. Mount Mercury is south of Mount Mathias. Ascend to its summit from the Mecury-Mathias col.

DESCENT ROUTE

Mount Olympus/West Peak

From the same anchor, one may either rappel off the summit block on the north side (double rope), or the northwest edge (single rope, to belay ledge) and descend the climbing route.

Mount Mathias & Mount Mercury

Descend the climbig route.

TRIP PROFILE

SEGMENT TIME (HOURS) ELEVATION GAIN (FEET)
Trailhead to Camp 10-13 (1-2 days) 3,622'
Camp to Summit 6-8 3,765'
Summit to Camp 3-4
Camp to Trailhead 1 day

EQUIPMENT

Standard glacier equipment and helmet.

NOTES

  • This climb can be done in either three or four days. Take food for four days.
  • A camping permit and backpacking fee are required, obtainable at the ranger station (or at Wilderness Info Center, Port Angeles, 360-565-3100).
  • In early season, the summit block may be icy and the east side ramps may be covered in snow or ice. In late season, a moat prevents safe access to the east side ledges. The glacier may break up, especially in the passes, in late season.
  • On popular weekends, the summit block can be very crowded; suggest an early start, like 4-5am.
  • Good tent sites are found in the rocks of the lower Snow Dome, and on top of the Snow Dome, near the Panic Peak (point 6,809 ft) weather station (these are blue bag sites). Bear canisters are required if going beyond Glacier Meadows.
  • If you are going to the Middle Peak of Mount Olympus it needs a new summit register. Extra registers are available at the Seattle Program Center and could be mailed to a climbing party.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 4, Basic Glacier Climb
  • Length: 44.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 7,400 ft
  • 7,965 ft
  • Land Manager: Olympic National Park
    Olympic Wilderness
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • USGS Mt Olympus
Activities

Upcoming Activities



Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Olympus/Blue Glacier

Climbing Trip
Kitsap priority climb.
Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 4, Basic Glacier Climb
Sat, Jun 27, 2020 - Tue, Jun 30, 2020
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
6 participants 0 leaders
Registration opens May 1
Kitsap Branch
Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Mount Olympus
  • Mount Olympus Area Peaks
  • Mount Olympus Traverse
  • Mount Mathias
  • Mount Olympus & Mount Mathias
  • Mount Mathias & Mount Mercury
  • Mount Tom
  • Mount Olympus & Mount Tom
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