Mount Olympus 5 Day Climb Itinerary
Upon sign up, we will send you our richly detailed, pre-trip information package.
The Day Before the Climb
Mandatory 10 a.m. gear check at Alpine Ascents’ Seattle office, to ensure that everyone is fully equipped and prepared to depart the next morning. Rental gear is fitted and packed at this time. We’ll also review the functionality of each piece of gear, packing our backpacks, wilderness ethics, and Leave No Trace practices. Duration: Approximately 2 hours.
We depart at 6 a.m. from the Alpine Ascents office and drive to the Hoh River Ranger Station (578 ft). Along the way we will make a final stop for coffee and a grab-and-go breakfast as well as any last minute food needs. After picking up our climbing permits from the ranger station, we will hike roughly 9 very flat miles along the Hoh River Trail though ancient growth trees and innumerable shades and varieties of moss. The lush forests of the Hoh valley are some of the most spectacular examples of primeval temperature rainforest in the lower 48. We’ll make camp at the Olympus Guard Station (948 ft) which is conveniently situated next to the river and surrounded by forest & subalpine meadows. We will close out the day with a delicious meal prepared by the guides while basking in the greenery of the forest.
Hoh Ranger Station – Olympic Guard Station
Distance: 9 miles
Elevation Change: 370 ft.
On the approach, instruction includes nutrition, hydration, rest steps, pressure breathing, and temperature management. Guides will also discuss Leave No Trace information in depth. During rest periods, we’ll have short discussions on mountain physiology and mountain environments.
After a cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast, we will break camp and continue hiking up the Hoh River Valley. In about four miles, we’ll cross the Hoh River Bridge (1,400 ft) over a deep gorge, signalling our departure from the verdant Hoh Valley. In two more miles, we’ll reach Elk Lake (2,500 ft), where the trail steepens and we begin to gain elevation in earnest. Four miles and 1,700 ft after Elk Lake, we’ll reach our camp for the evening at Glacier Meadows (4,200 ft). After establishing camp, we will train for our summit bid with a snow climbing school covering cramponing, ice axe usage, and rope travel before going to bed.
Olympic Guard Station – Glacier Meadows
Distance: 8.2 miles
Elevation Change: 3,252 ft.
Focus is on the battery of skills needed to safely climb Mount Olympus: self-arrest, roped travel, crampon techniques, ice axe usage, and other techniques related to glacier ascent and descent.
We will rise before the sun and hike through the meadow and up the Blue Glacier moraine for about an hour before descending the moraine onto the Blue Glacier. After roping up, we cross the Blue Glacier and ascend to the top of the “Snow Dome” (6600′) where we will enjoy great views of the East, Middle, & West peaks of Mount Olympus. From the Snow Dome, we’ll pass the five-fingered false summit and drop into the saddle between the false summit and the true summit. With our objective now in sight, we’ll climb steep snow to an 80′ summit rock. An exciting scramble will take us to the very top. On the summit, we’ll bask in panoramic views of the Bailey Range and the Panic Peak area and then descend back to our camp at Glacier Meadows and spend the night.
Glacier Meadows – Summit
Elevation Change: 3,765 ft.
Time: 8-10 hours round trip
Our summit attempt allows us to implement and enforce what we learned the previous day.
We have a relaxing start to the day and have the opportunity to spot and photograph the black bears which frequent the area around Glacier Meadows. We then pack up our camp and begin the hike down to the Hoh River Valley and establish our camp along the river.
Glacier Meadows – Olympic Guard Station
Elevation Change: -3,765 ft.
We’ll hike the final distance along the river and through the old growth forest, aiming to reach the trail head in the early afternoon. We’ll rest our tired legs in the van on the drive back to Seattle, stopping for a celebratory meal en route.
Olympic Guard Station – Hoh Ranger Station
Distance: 9 miles
Elevation Change: -370 ft.
Itinerary subject to change due to conditions.
The services provided by AAI easily met my expectations and resulted in strong outcomes. The program was well organized and all staff (admin, guides, etc.) was competent, informed and patient. The climb itself was great.