You can do amazing things with only 4.2 pounds of gear! 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.

Link: 4.2 pound Olympics 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 🙂

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Colin Hiking across Blue Glacier towards Mt Olymp. We made it to the top of Snow Dome with only 4.2 pounds of gear.

 

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

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Cool and shady – natural air conditioning.

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

 

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The mighty Hoh River

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The end of the rain forest….

Montane Forest

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

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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

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

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A washed out avalanche gully and steep snowfield

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Scree from hell!

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

Mount Olympus

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Looking across Blue Glacier up at summit block of Mount Olympus

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Now exactly where does the route go?

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Across Blue Glacier and approaching the base of Mt Olympus

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A rest with some spectacular scenery. And approaching the top of Snow Dome!

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Taking the fastest way down…

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