Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Olympus/Blue Glacier

Successful climb of Olympus via Blue glacier, route is in great condition

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Day 1: drive, permits at Ranger station Port Angles, hike from Hoh to Lewis meadows, 12 miles flat. Beautiful campsites a the banks of the very dry river.
    Day 2: shorter but a lot more strenuous hike to Glacier meadows. The last 2.5 miles from Elk Lake seem a lot longer than advertised.
    Day 3: Summit day. Left camp at 3am, return at 4pm. Hike out to Marten Creek.
    Day 4: Hike back to car.
    Some key points:
    • Moraine - getting from the lateral moraine (don'f follow the sign to terminal moraine) down onto the glacier is a bit tricky. There is lots of loose and rotten rock, it is pretty steep too. We hiked on top of the moraine up glacier (left) just a bit below the lowest point, a bit more than 1/4 mile. The a gradual traverse down. There is a rope on a precarious boulder a bit earlier. Other groups used that. The other path seemed better to me.
    • The Blue glacier has lots of tiny crevasses. Most of them you just walk over. There are a few wider ones though. You will run into fewer surprises if you stay on the blue ice.
    • Ascent to snow dome. You don't see the ramp that gets you onto the snow dome from the moraine. Traverse the glacier towards the ice fall, just a bit climber's left of the base of the dome. Soon enough you will see the ramp that will wind up to the top of the snowdome.
    • There is a very significant crevasse just before Crystal pass. It looked bad from where we approached, it was solid on the backside. There was a path around it - above it that did not look better to us. The bridge was still firm on the way down.
    • Down from the false summit to the col before ascending to the base of the real summit, there is a lot of loose rock. Short rope or carry rope.
    • The steep snow ascent to the base of the climb looked a bit intimidating, it was fine up and down.
    • Summit block: The route straight up past the rap tats goes, it has a few trickier moves. Another group went some 20ft to climbers' right and followed the 3rd class scramble with a short 5.4 section. A set of 0.5-3" cams and nuts were good for our direct route.
    • Note: We were told that a 30m rope won't bring you down to the intermediate rappel station. A double rope rappel with 2x 30m ropes got us to the base.