Jason and Ben climbed Olympus in a day and returned with glowing reports. I must admit, Jason broached this one-day maniacal march with me previously and I was not enthusiastic. After dwelling on it a little more, and being approached by Barry about doing it in a day, I was ready to go. We left Seattle in the afternoon with Jen. We were all going to catch a few hours of shut-eye at the parking lot. Jen was going to rise at a reasonable hour, while Barry and I would start the long haul well before dawn.
The rainforest was spectacular, even in the dark. We stopped at the Hoh River Rainforest Ranger Station and had some breakfast. Then there was the bridge over the spectacular gorge on the Hoh River, after which we finally started to gain elevation. Some more hiking, a stop by a stream to get some water, then a pretty lake. Some more hiking, Glacier Meadows Ranger Station, a short hike up to the moraine, and would you look at that? Mt Olympus is quite a spectacular view.
We made really good time up the mountain. I used crampons and my boots; in fact I wouldn't hear of not using them, if only to justify carrying them so far. Barry went without, which was a reasonable decision given conditions. We crossed the Blue Glacier, took a shortcut up a steeper route on the Snow Dome, then made the traverse to the summit pinnacle. I'm sure there is an easier route up the thing, but we did not do it 3rd class. Regardless, we had made the summit in about nine hours and we were feeling good about that.
The return voyage included every last step of the approach. I spent some of the way pondering the amazing fact that I no longer had the option to lessen my suffering by quitting. We saw a black bear rambling up the glacier as we climbed up the moraine. We jogged much of the way down to the Hoh River, as gravity suggested. The final ten miles of flats were painful. I almost never get cramps, but it sure felt like they were coming to get me before the end of the death march. We finished well before dark, though, under seventeen hours all told.
It was great to meet you and climb with you, Barry! I would be happy to share another occasion like this with you. It could even be more mellow if you like. Maybe I'll just sit at home, look at this trip report, and drink whiskey. Now that sounds like a plan. Whoa, a bear!
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