Mount Olympus in Washington state, not to be confused with Mount Olympus in Greece, rises to an elevation of 7,980 feet. That makes it the tallest peak in the Olympic Mountains range. This range can found in the western part of the state between the Seattle area and the Pacific Ocean. While 7,980 feet is a relatively modest elevation when discussing the high mountains in western North America, Mount Olympus supports sizeable glaciers. This means that climbers often need ice axes and crampons to reach the summit, even in the early summer.
Climbing Mount Olympus
Climbing Mount Olympus in Washington is best suited for experienced mountaineers with proper gear. In addition to proper gear, anyone who is attempting to reach the summit of the mountain should have glacier travel and crevasse rescue skills. The ecosystem type for Mount Olympus is glacier alpine, with the overall level of difficulty rating between moderate and difficult. The routes that climbers decide to take to get to the top can ultimately affect the difficulty levels, though it should be noted that none of the routes is exactly easy. Olympic National Park recommends taking Crystal Pass on the way up to the summit, as it is one of the safest options, especially during the standard Mount Olympus climbing season – late June through mid-August. It is possible to access Crystal Pass from Snow Dome, which is a major feature of the mountain.
The standard approach when it comes to the Mount Olympus WA climbing routes originates at the Hoh River Trail. The trailhead for this trail is located 20 miles southwest of the city of Forks. As a side note, Forks, Washington serves as the main setting for the vampire-themed Twilight book and movie series. Getting back to climbing Mount Olympus, those who begin on the Hoh River Trail must hike for approximately 17 miles before reaching Glacier Meadows. At Glacier Meadows, the conditions become more difficult, which explains why it is recommended that climbers sign in at the Glacier Meadows ranger yurt. From there, it’s on to Blue Glacier and then Snow Dome before reaching the Crystal Pass route.
There are various things that are either required or recommended when attempting to climb Mount Olympus. For starters, wilderness camping permits are required for all overnight stays in the Olympic National Park backcountry. Similar permits are required if you want to climb Bonanza Peak or any other number of notable Washington mountains that are found in protected areas across the state. In relation to gear, things that are recommended included rock climbing equipment, sunscreen, a windbreaker jacket, goggles/sunglasses, crampons, climbing/glacier rope, a helmet, an ice axe, and trekking poles. Food and sleeping gear round things out. Add in some common sense, and you’ll be ready to attempt your ascent to one of Washington state’s most sought after summits
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