Ascent of Olo Mountain on 2014-04-10

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, April 10, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Olo Mountain
    Elevation:3480 ft / 1060 m

Ascent Trip Report

This week had been beautiful and I vowed to spend at least one afternoon away from my grey prison ship enjoying the weather. Thursday seemed like a perfect option, as I had a meeting at the clinic in the early afternoon and could split from there. I started around 15:00 from where I parked my car at the gate along Mountain Loop Highway. There was a lot of logging traffic coming and going, but no signs expressly prohibiting entry for non-motorized travel (one sign said walk-ins welcome), though there were plenty of signs advertising a prohibition for all motorized travel. I initially made a wrong turn as I was too busy at work to do any research on this peak, so I just winged it from what I remembered, eventually stopping to find the peak on my GPS and setting a course for it... I turned back on to the correct road and made good time to the 4 way intersection.

I arrived at the 4 way intersection and ditched my snowshoes here. I had been carrying them in my pack, thinking I may need them. Based on what I had seen, I would encounter little snow up top. I then kept heading up to the intersection just below 3,400 ft, where I finally encountered some snow. I decided to ditch the bike and walk the last 0.3 miles to the summit, leaving the road into the trees after a few hundred feet. I found an initial high point, but my GPS indicated that the true high point was higher and further north. After descending a short distance, I re-ascended more elevation and found a tree stump that was pretty prominent as the high point. Right on top of the stump I found a small orange register sticking out of the snow. I dutifully signed into it, noting that the last entry was from 2010, and I had only heard of one of the other 3 signers, John Stolk. So, I guess not everybody comes across the register as 2 guys I have hiked with were not in there who did it more recently, albeit in much more snow than I had from what I remembered from their TR's.

After the usual summit pictures, I made my way back through the snow and brush (fun in my mountain bike shorts and trail running shoes!) to my bike. Another fun thing happened on my descent: my brake pads finally wore out part way down the mountain, basically leaving me without the ability to really control my speed in spite of squeezing both brakes full force. I managed to keep the bike under control, thankful that this set of logging roads had a number of flat spots. I worried a lot near the bottom, remembering the 2 gates across the road that were open on my way up, but likely to be closed on my way down. Since I couldn't really stop, I did not want to have to lay the bike down at 15 or 20 mph to avoid hitting a gate. Luckily the upper gate was open and the lower gate is at the end of a long flat stretch which was easy to coast to a stop for.

I waved at all of the logging vehicles on my way up, trying to present myself as a non-threatening and friendly entity in case they tried to give me a hard time for being there. I didn't encounter any vehicles on the way down until I was loading my bike on the roof at the final gate. I said hi and noted the nice weather to the guy but he didn't seem in the mood to chat. Whatever. On the way out of the parking area, I forgot my bike's front tire leaning against my front bumper, running it over with the Yaris. Shit. I only broke the quick release bar, thankfully with no damage to the rim or spokes, so I only need one small piece to get the bike back up and riding!

Overall, I feel that it was a pretty good peakbagging adventure for a Thursday afternoon after work.
As Craig Willis notes in his report, don't waste a nice weekend day on this dumpster peak. The clearcuts are an eyesore, though the views of Three Fingers and Pilchuck near the top were amazing.


18.7 miles
2 hrs 55 min moving time
49 min stopped
6 mph moving avg
29 mph max
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2920 ft / 890 m
    Route:Logging Roads
    Trailhead:560 ft / 170 m
    Gear Used:
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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