Olympic Mountains 2008

A meander through coastal rain forest, montane forest, sub-alpine forest, alpine meadows and finally the rock and ice of Mt Olympus. We bivied in the snow in +45 bags.

4.2 lb gear list (pdf)

We started our "backpacking" trip with no intention of climbing, but the snow was nice, the day beautiful and stuff happens. So,

Unplanned, we traversed Blue Glacier and climbed a significant portion of the mountain. We did it in trail running shoes and trekking poles, much to the dismay of fully equipped and roped climbing parties with climbing boots, crampons, and ice axes. At some point the slopes got steep enough and the exposure significant enough that it was foolish to continue in trail runners. Well, maybe that point was a bit earlier :)


Colin Hiking across Blue Glacier towards Mt Olympus.


A quick meal in a beautiful alpine setting. . .

Rain Forest - Trip Start

The first 12+ miles are in temperate coastal rain forest on well groomed trails


Cool and shady - natural air conditioning.


Rain forest - full of pine trees, deciduous trees, ferns and amazing mosses


The mighty Hoh river


The rain forest continues

Montane Forest


Around two thousand feet things begin to change a bit . . .


Huge snowfalls caused many avalanches and blow-downs. We spent a bunch of time climbing over and around downed trees and washed out trails. This is the definition of a completely destroyed shelter


Our first view of the Olympic summits. Things are looking better . . .


A washed out avalanche gully and steep snowfield


Scree from hell.


Our toasty warm camp for the night. Guess there is a reason they call it Glacier Camp . . .

Mount Olympus


Looking across Blue Glacier up at summit block of Mount Olympus


Now exactly where does the route go?


Across Blue Glacier and approaching the base of Mt Olympus


A rest with some spectacular scenery.


Taking the fast way down from the mountain


We briefly stopped on the lateral moraine on our way back to camp and were visited by mountain goat (non-native)