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Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Mount Olympus/Blue Glacier

Great 3 day climb with a very strong group. Mix of rain forest, scrambling, glacier, and rock climb.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

In summary, we had a super strong, fun group of 7; and an absolute blast on this trip!

Logistics are a little bit of a hurdle here as reservations need to be sent in via Fax, and processed in the order they are received.  I sent in our request for Glacier Meadows for 2 nights about 2 weeks in advanced and took 5 days for a response of a confirmation.  Note, even once confirmed you still need to pick up permits in person.  Since we wanted to get an early start they left our permits in a drop box at the Port Angeles Visitor Center (call if you want them to do this).

We picked up permits Thursday night in Port Angeles after being stuck in traffic for the ferry over then onto the Hoh entry point.  You are not supposed to car camp at the Hoh visitor center without reservations so we found a small pull off just before and car camped there.

We left the TH about 6:45AM Friday morning for a one day approach to Glacier Meadows.  The first 12 miles are flat and go along the very scenic Hoh River.  Then there are about 5 miles of moderate uphill.  One section the trail is washed out and they have installed a ladder which was a lot of fun.  We did put on helmets and went two at a time for this since there is potential rock fall.  Although we did see someone do it in flip flops, so its possible, but not recommended that way.  We rolled into camp about 4PM; so about 9 hours with a very strong group.

Saturday we left at 3:45AM.  We put harnesses on at camp to make things easier once on the Blue glacier.  From camp its about 1.3 miles to the moraine.  On the moraine, go as far up as possible and follow the boot path down.  Its steep, nasty, and washed out so be careful for rock fall here.  Once off the moraine we roped up and traversed across the Blue Glacier.  The glacier was down to ice and a lot of fun to cross and walk/hop over small to medium crevasses.  Very easy to navigate.

Once across we found a boot path/easy rock scramble route up to the base of Snow Dome; then kick stepped our way up that.  At the top of Snow Dome we found a very good boot path and followed that to crystal pass.  I was surprised how direct and easy the rout was given how late in the season it was.  We approached the false summit and found a boot path up screet to a middle notch.  From the false summit top, the real summit is very close.  We scrambled down the false summit to the base of the Olympus. 

From here we had to decide to take the class 4+, exposed, longer, loose rock scramble route; or go up steep snow and try for the class 5.4-5.6 climbing route.  This was a no brainer for me as we couldn’t even make out the scramble route clearly.  Once over the steep snow (climber right) it was easy to get onto the rock.  From the base of the climb you can see two rap stations, one about half way up and another above that.  Luckily there was a group of 3 in front of us.   They asked to rappel before we started which was no problem.  It payed off because they rapped from the top station to the bottom with a 60M rope (without much to spare), which means we could climb to the top station with one 30M rope, and do one rap tying our two 30M ropes together.   Before pulling their rope, they also asked if we wanted a top rope for the first person, which we accepted to save time.  I top roped Olympus!  And trailed the other two glacier ropes.  I thought the climb was mostly 5- with 1-2 5.6 moves.  At the top I set up two hand lines and we had each student climb and prusik around both ropes for protection.  The last two people were belayed up to make sure the ropes didn't get caught on anything pulling them up.  Everyone make it up and we enjoyed the summit all to ourselves with breathtaking views. 

We rapped down and heading out the same we came.  Camp to camp took 14-15 hours, and made it back just before the rain started.  I think it took a little longer than expected because no one had done this rout before which always adds some time; and it was just a great weather day and we were enjoying it.  Also, I’m glad we had 2 nights at Glacier Meadows so we weren’t pressured to make it back to camp by a certain time to pack up and head out to a lower camp. 

Sunday, we packed up and hiked the 17.5 miles back out.