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Trip Report    

Mount Olympus/Blue Glacier

Trip Dates: 6/26/14 to 6/29
Start Location: Hoh River Trailhead
End Location: Hoh River Trailhead
Elevation Gain: 7260ft
Distance Traveled: 48 miles
Trip Leader: Curtis Stock

General Activity Notes:
Day 1. Departed the Hoh River Trailhead at 8:15am. Reached Olympus Guard Station by 11:35 for lunch. Reached Glacier Meadows camp by 6:15pm. A ladder down a landslide area is only about 15 minutes before Glacier Meadows. Only party camping at Glacier Meadows.
Day 2. Left camp at 4:15am. Had planned to move camp up to Snow Dome beneath Panic Peak so we carried full packs. Reached an overlook above the Blue Glacier SE of the terminal moraine trail in a driving rain. Worked our way down to the terminal moraine access but elected to return to camp to wait out the weather. Back to Glacier Meadows by 8:00am. Two other parties camped at Glacier Meadows.
Day 3. Left camp at 4:00am. On top of Snow Dome by 7:30am and reached the false summit by 9:30am. Turned around at 10:00 and back in camp by 1:00pm. One other party camped at Glacier Meadows.
Day 4. Left Glacier Meadows around 5:30am. Reached Olympus Guard Station by 9:40 and all party members at the parking lot by 2:25pm.

Route conditions:
Used the terminal moraine trail for access to the glacier. Scree descent is relatively short. Blue Glacier was in good shape with a nice gradient for ascent. There were some small cracks beginning to form on the lower glacier but easily stepped across. Higher up before turning up to Snow Dome there were some open crevasses with good snow bridges available. Followed the standard route up to Snow Dome, then through Crystal Pass to the top of the false summit. From the false summit could not see the true summit or any other landmarks due to heavy rain and fog. Decided to turn back at the false summit due to deteriorating weather conditions. Retraced the ascent route on descent. Checked out the lateral moraine access on the way down but elected to return to the terminal moraine. The lateral moraine access point might be better later in the season but looked like a longer, steeper and less safe scramble than the terminal moraine trail.

Permits required?
Olympic National Park entry fee upon park entrance. Wilderness camping permit with fees of $5 + $2 per person per night. Arranged to pick up permit after hours through the WIC in Port Angeles.

Driving / parking notes:
Plenty of parking on a weekday in the hiker parking area.

Equipment notes:
Carried and used ice axe and crampons. Carried but did not use wands. Most party members wore approach shoes for the 17.5 mile hike into Glacier Meadows.

Required Skills:
Basic glacier skills.

Weather Notes:
Day 1: High overcast with low clouds/fog above 4000ft. Rain showers began at about 11:30pm. Day 2: steady light to medium rain, with heavier showers. Windy above treeline. Day 3: drizzle and light rain early, becoming heavier rain with increased elevation gain. Mostly low clouds and fog, with limited visibility. Day 4: drizzle and light rain early, becoming high overcast by early afternoon with some sun breaks.

Flora/Fauna Notes:
Observed a herd of elk just outside the park boundary upon entry. Observed another herd of elk crossing the Hoh River during hike out. Black-tail deer in camp.