Three climbers crossing the burgschrund, the route then traverses to the right below the rocks
Roping up to cross the Blue Glacier
Taking a break near the top of Snow Dome
The 3 climbers downclimbing after failing to find the route up the final summit block

Mount Olympus

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Access:

Distance: 20 miles
Elevation Gain: 7,500 feet
Summit Elevation: 7,965 feet
Access rating: Paved

Standard Route:

In spring 2001, we were the first to summit Mount Olympus. One other team had a days jump start on us but they were unable to find the top just one hour before we found the way in whiteout conditions. Mt. Olympus is the crown jewel of the Olympics. As the tallest in the Olympic Mountains and one of the most remote, I had been itching to get this one done for years. The long approach requires at least a 3 day commitment in one of the wettest places on earth. Pre-planned trips here often end up real soakers, so on a rare occasion I had the time off when the weather was decent, Mt. Olympus was it.
Mount Olympus climbing map
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High on Snow Dome
Trail along the moraine of the Blue Glacier
View into the Olympics from Snow Dome
Dropping down off the moraine onto the Blue Glacier
Follow the easy Hoh River Trail 18 miles to Glacier Meadows. The majority of the trail gains little elevation but near the meadows, you are climbing steadily out of the valley bottom. Several camps are in route if you want to take your time and enjoy the rainforest. From Glacier Meadows, hike about 1 mile to the moraine of the Blue Glacier. A trail is on top but eventually drops down to the glacier. Put on your gear and cross the Blue Glacier. Consult a map but you head toward the best access up the Snow Dome, steep but not too bad. Once on top, hike this easy glacier to the base of the steep West Peak. Find the best way over or around the bergschrund (different every year). Even though I did this in early season, I still was amazed at the difficulty this posed. The slope is very steep with no room for error as we traversed above the bergschrund. Once above and on easier slopes, find your way to the summit rock. The class 4 gully is found around the right side…requiring a down climb of a few hundred feet to find it. Our final 400 feet was in the clouds making the summit area extremely difficult to negotiate the route up. The climbing team ahead of us was not able to find the gully and gave up after an attempt to summit via a class 5 route. I made the same effort but stopped in the same location fearing death. Only after a last minute effort of down climbing around the back did I find the class 4 gully. I didn’t do my homework for the trip almost paying a hefty price for it.
Work your way around the Olympics on Highway 101 to the Hoh River Entrance to Olympic National Park, just south of Forks. The trailhead is near the visitor’s center. Got to pay to get in and to camp.
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Mount Olympus trail map
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Snow Dome
Mount Olympus from the moraine of the Blue Glacier
Mt. Mathias and the Blue Glacier
Mt. Olympus from the north
View into the Olympics from Snow Dome
Views
Mt. Mathias
Mt. Mathias and some blue sky
Climbers on the headwall
Climber on the headwall