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Ascent of Mount Olympus on 2014-07-27

Climber: Patty Cokus

Date:Sunday, July 27, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Olympus
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:7969 ft / 2428 m

Ascent Trip Report

Rope lead for Bill Ashby trip with hardly basics (Sean, Noel, Craig S., Andrew). Thanks to Sue and Mark for watching the girls so Sean could come!

Sean and I drove down Friday with Bill around and up to Port Angeles, picked up permit, picked up Mexican in Forks and into the Olympic National Park. Was warned at the gate at 6:30pm that all car camp spots were filled...went in to the end and managed to find an open spot! Craig came in next and Noel and Andrew followed late at 9:30pm. Up to start by 6am - 17.3 miles in to Glacier Meadows camp. I wore sneaks for the 14 miles of flat trail then fairly constant up. Arrived about 2pm so roughly after 8 hours. Didn't need to use the ladder and rope just before Glacier Meadows as a trail cutting across the landslide debris has been cut in. Mostly good but narrow, and starting to crumble and fall in at a few spots. Found a lovely spot with access to water from it. Ate and to bed early. Up at 3am, moving by 4am. Used pit toilet in camp (nice!). Used the upper moraine trail, look for the tiny rebar sticking up out of a rock marking the trail down to the glacier. Narrow crumbly steep trail down in the dark, followed up the rocky moraine (crossing some obvious water filled cracks) until opposite the obvious right leading ramp up to Snow Dome. Roped up right around 5am when starting to get light. I roped up with Noel in the middle and Bill at the end and they let me lead out over the Blue Glacier. There was another team of two young guys but we went out first. VERY interesting with lots of runnels and running/rushing/gurgling water. Avoid the snowy/slushy looking spots as your foot could go in. Avoided the loudest sounding sections... Wondered what it would be like on the return in the afternoon.

Easy route finding following footsteps from the 26 people that had climbed the day before. After the lower blue glacier snow was good, around a few good sized crevasses, close to rocks and up the right ramp to snow dome. Running water would be used on way down for filtering water. Cut left on steeper traverse to top of snow dome which is quite large and flat. Due to warm weather and sun snow was great and we didn't think we would need pickets for crossing above the LARGE crevasses on our way to Crystal Pass but I wanted to practice so took all 4 pickets. Easily traversed on good trail to the pass and around. Navigated a couple of crevasses easily and trail did not lead up and over false summit but instead around that. At rock looked at dropping down or going up a bit with a few exposed but easy climbing moves to get to the saddle between the real West Summit and false summit. We unroped and uncramponed. Noel checked out the higher route and signaled (via Bobick language) that it was a go. We all scrambled over and donned crampons again to ascend the steep snow slope up to the base of the summit block (large crevasses are there but not in the fall line).

The guys kindly let me lead the summit block and as we were the first there I got to choose my route. Based on the light alpine rack brought I thought I would opt for the shorter approach and not the rap route. Dropped down the snow to the right (for NW face?), scrambled up some pretty loose crappy rock which wasn't instilling good feelings for me in regards to leading, but it got better by the time we got to the fairly large belay ledge. Sean used one nut to setup an adequate anchor for me so I could have all the cams. Noel belayed. My first alpine lead in boots! First hard move is a step left which protected fine. I used a few cams (2 or 3?) and slung one feature. Next hard move was a mantle up with some loose rock. Had a red cam just before it but did use my knees...it's all good when leading in the alpine and about 22 miles or so in from the Trailhead! Scrambled a few more feet to the giant boulder with slings. Attached the two 30m glacier ropes so the others could prusik up.

Noel followed up with Craig close behind. As it was a scramble to the actual summit I let Noel investigate first and he said it was fine and not too exposed. Had lunch on top before all rappeling down the normal route (N face?). Felt like a good accomplishment! So glad to have such a competent team who let me get one of my first glacier and alpine leads in. Amazing views and how cool to see the Pacific Ocean and the Puget Sound from the top of a glaciated peak!

Went in the very back on the way out. Gorgeous weather and awesome trip. Andrew led the first rope out which was great for him being an advanced basic. Filtered water when back at the rock on Snow Dome. (while crossing the flat top my team led by Bill had a point when it sounded like we were on hollow ground...must have been a snowbridge!)

Back over the lower blue glacier with lots more water. I managed to break through in two spots. Quickly removing my foot but it did hit something each time. How do you do crevasse rescue if you fall into a water filled crevasse?!? I felt like this was kind of the most dangerous part...but certainly a stunningly beautiful and unique glacier experience.

Upon getting off the glacier and back onto the morraine about 1:30pm? there was a large mounties group just getting there and putting crampons on and roping up to head out. I personally wouldn't be leaving that late...I guess they camped much lower.

We were back to camp around 2:15pm or so. Noel and Andrew ate and packed up to fully hike out and drive back to Seattle so they could work on Monday morning. (they made it out in 6 hours...fast)

Bill, Sean and I packed up and intended to hike out 5 miles to Lewis Meadows which is down to the flat trail and out of the permit zone.

Craig stayed at Glacier Meadows to enjoy one more night as he was a bit tired.

Lewis Meadows turned out to be basically 7.5 miles (pretty close to the Olympic Guard Station) but that did leave a nice short 10 miles for us for the hike out Monday. Filtered water on the way down still since I had read you didn't want to filter from the Hoh river due to the silt. It did mean we carried those multiple liters for 2.5 miles... Good in the end though as the camp spot was right next to the river but there wasn't an obvious easy way to get down to it.

Ate a much needed dinner, took some advil and the boots off (my longest day of 17 miles in my boots). Woke at 5am, moving by 6:30 I think. Back to cars about 10:30 for Rainier beers and a cider for me. Met a nice older couple who gave us a Rachel's Ginger Beer growler - awesome stuff!

Had lunch at the First Street Haven in Port Angeles (GF options) then got coffee at the Bella Rosa Coffeehouse (great iced coffee w/ rice milk). Rode the Bainbridge Island Ferry. dropped Bill off downtown and back to the house around 5pm I think.

Amazing weather, great group and incredible climb. Awesome...





Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Rock Climb, Glacier Climb
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Led summit block (in boots), went right, scrambled
Descent Statistics



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