Mount Olympus Trip Report (#5991)
- Signed By: bobbi croxford of port angeles, wa, clallam
- Date submitted: August 29, 2002
as part of her 40th birthday celebration and a longtime goal, sandy, asked friends to summit mt. olympus with her. many friends were willing to go with sandy but schedules were conflicting with the summit date. patrick and i were her climbing partners. kim, patrick's wife, joined us for the hike and as morale support chief. sandy enlisted the help of jc, the climbing guide from olympic mountaineering, our local mountain and rock climbing store in port angeles. to make the hoh (whole) experience easy and fun, we camped at 5 mile island, lewis meadow, elk lake, and finally, glacier meadows. the trail along the hoh river is fairly flat with some minor 'bumps' along the way. from lewis meadow to glacier meadows, the switchbacks can be considered steep for some but the worse part was the washout section before reaching glacier meadows. yikes! especially when carrying a 50 lb. pack! (the ranger fixed the trail per kim's request, so it was better on our hike out) knowing we will be crossing the high hoh bridge before elk lake, we each took a name from the 7 dwarves: sandy as doc, she is a veterinarian, patrick as sleepy, kim as bashful/grumpy, and i as happy. high hoh, high hoh, it's off to summit we go!
we met jc at glacier meadows, with instructions to meet him at 5am to start our climb to the summit of west peak. under less than a full moon, we trudged our way towards the lateral moraine, along a ridge, down a steep scree slope, and onto the blue glacier. we were roped up, 40 ft apart, but it was slow going across the glacier. we wanted to awe at the beauty of the glacier but it was also our first time on crampons for sandy and me. walking on ice with spikes can be tricky.
we finally made it across the glacier, greeted by the morning sun, we stop to rest, eat, and get water at the last available source. upwards to snow dome-incredible! after some photo sessions, we head towards the summit block, crossing crevasses with ease and beating hearts. at the next stop, we rest, eat, drink, remove our crampons, and contemplate our climb onto the summit of west peak.
we approach it by scrambling up and down a rocky gully, onto a steep snow slope, and then the peak itself. the trail to the summit is fairly exposed and roping is a very safe idea but can be maneuvered with safety in mind.
sandy reaches the summit at 1:38pm, with patrick and i trailing behind. we take pictures, congratulate each other, thanked our guide (lots), take in the fantastic view on a beautiful sunny sunday, happy knowing that we were the only ones on the mountain that day, and reflect on our own accomplishment and those before us.
now, the descent. jc rappels us down the rocky summit, we glissade the steep snow slope, scramble back the rocky gully, traverse the snow dome, two more glissades, stopping at our first rest stop to refuel and get our crampons on for our trek across the blue glacier, which we did lickity split-sandy and i are now experts on our crampons! whew!!
after a full day, our tired bodies had to make its way up the steep scree slope, across the ridge, and down the moraine. we came upon a small snow patch to find a message carved in by kim. she wrote "congrats team toad!" if only you can see the smiles on our face!
we were greeted by the ranger and kim who were excited that we made the summit and that we returned safe and sound, shy of 8pm. after all, what goes up, must come down.
2002 is designated as the international year of mountains. on the register, i wrote this haiku:
the mountain is there winter, spring, summer, or fall go and be with her
sandy, patrick, and i were one with the mountain on august 25, 2002.
the next morning we hiked to and camped at olympus ranger station. we enjoyed our last dinner along the hoh river and reminisced about our wonderful adventure. we managed the last 9 miles to the visitor center the next day mostly because we had thoughts of greasy onion rings/fries, double chocolate milkshakes and chalet hamburgers at sully's in forks!
another adventure accomplished!