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Trip Report    

Mount Olympus/Blue Glacier

Posting this report of a successful private climb Jun 13-16 to make note of route conditions for upcoming trips. From Glacier Meadows camp departed 0200 on June 15. Descended lateral moraine (with helmets) in the dark. Blue Glacier at that point is bare of snow; we crossed carefully but had full visibility of crevasses etc. until reaching nearly the other side where some snow cover remained and larger openings dictated we rope up. Ascended Snow Dome with crampons as surface snow was staring to soften in the sun.
Note - There is running meltwater at the rocks on lower part of Snow Dome. Atop Snow Dome we had visibility of route options and decided to be conservative and ascend via Crystal Pass, although we could see tracks going up the route more directly to the saddle next to the false summit-(called Fourth of July ?) where a small snowbridge appeared to make it possible to get around the bergschrund. Nonetheless, we traversed behind Five Fingers then ascended snow to the false summit. Descended into the col and then up steep snow with good steps already placed to base of the true summit, circling around to scramble up to the belay ledge which is noted in standard route descriptions. From there, our rock lead used a few small cams (less than 2 inches) to protect the route and party members were belayed up. A rappel ring on the reliable looking anchor sling was uncertain so a locking biner was added. Rappelled using a 50m rope which easily reached to the snow. Modified our descent route back onto Snow Dome slightly- we could now see that the snowbridge around the bergshrund was viable so we took that route [to avoid traversing behind Five Fingers again], using picket to protect the one dubious step. This small bridge may not last long. Uneventful return to camp. We were greeted that evening by a very large and handsome buck in velvet, no doubt looking around for snacks.
Lucky to have four perfect weather days. Happy to have the entire mountain to ourselves for the entire summit day.

Note-- when we picked up our permit, the Park Service told us they can no longer afford to have a blue bag deposit station on the moraine and they are handing our wag bags, which can be packed out and placed in any trash container. I have to say, someone up on the false summit before us had left some disgusting toilet paper that I was unwilling to pick up --so I hope it has blown away before you get there. It was not us :-)
Note also- as in prior years, there is a ladder secured with cables (and a rope handline) to negotiate a large gully washout just prior to Glacier Meadows.