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Author Topic: Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1  (Read 2507 times)
Jason_H.
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Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1
« on: 06/11/18, 02:24 PM »

I wasn't going to post this story here, but I thought folks would enjoy. I've been working my way through skiing all the glaciers of Washington, and went to Mt. Olympus to tackle some of the more remote locations such as the Blue, Ice River, Hoh, Humes, University, Hubert, White and Black.

http://www.myadventurecrusade.com/2018/06/10/mount-olympus-tour-of-the-gods/

Here's the introduction. I'd post it all here, but there's about 100 photos and 10,000 words, and too long. Enjoy!

--

Mount Olympus:

"Hey, did you go to the top of a mountain and ski it," a six year old boy blurts as I exit the Olympic Mountains after 8 days. When I tell him we most certainly did, he thrusts his chest out and loudly declares, "I'm going to do that!" Looking up to his mom a moment later, he seeks affirmation, "Can I do that?"

Herding her boy, the mother fans his dreams by saying, "Yes, you can ski mountains when you grow up." As he looks about to ask more questions, she shoes him off. "Now leave the skiers alone."



During the remaining few feet to the car, the kid disappears into forest with family, and my memories join him, reversing back through days of sweat and shoulder-crushing packs, as heavy as a bear and twice as mean, to relive an adventure of a lifetime. Fortunately, recollection is like an LP record that skips past suffering and focuses purely on the best soul-soothing, mind-bending and awe-melting summits and descents. I suspect the most successful mountain adventurers rewrite their exploits to the point where suffering is only an asterisk and joy an orchestra.   

According to Gods and Goblins: a field guide to Place Names of Olympic National Park, the name "Mount Olympus" comes from John Meares, an English captain who viewed the peak from the deck of his ship, the Felice Adventurer, in 1778. Alternatively, to the Quileute Indians, the Olympic Mountains were known as O-Sky, but unlike Olympus, the meaning of that word has been lost, as so much native culture, to the ravages of time and White Man's conquest of the Americas.

Modern day exploration of Mount Olympus by climbers took another century to begin. The first parties to attempt a summit failed to surmount the highest point and, presumably, mistook sub-summits as their ultimate destination. Only in 1907 did a team of 11 Seattle Mountaineers summit the West Peak, the tallest point on the massif, and become the first to stand atop Mount Olympus.  



For skiers, another half century passed before IGY (International Geophysical Year) scientists built a research station near the Blue Glacier in 1957. In the 1959 Mountaineer's Journal is an entry that reads, "During the winter months the heavy snowfall required the use of skis as several trips were made each month to the [Blue Glacier] cirque to survey movement stakes in the accumulation area." This was the first time skiing on the peak in known to have occurred.

Decades more would pass before skiers approached the peak again with skiing for recreation in mind. The earliest mention comes from Lowell Skoog's ski-history website, alpenglow.org where he lists a July, 1979 ski trip via the Hoh River. Skiers in years to come rarely deviated from this party’s route. Lowell himself was likely the first to come at Olympus from somewhere other than the Hoh Valley with skis. His route extended the Bailey Traverse from Bear Pass to Blizzard Pass via the Humes Glacier and Camp Pan to Olympus in 1989. I retraced his route from the Bailey's in 2011, but included the Olympus Traverse (a 1938 climber's route that tags all 3 summits of Olympus) and descent of the East Peak of Olympus. Much of the terrain of that adventure retraced what I'd visited two years earlier. At that time, in the spring of 2009, I spent 7 days camping atop the Snow Dome, during which I skied the North Face of Athena, North Face of the Middle Peak, SW Face of the West Peak, and West Face of Hugin, located in the mythical Valhallas (STORY: 7 Days of Wonder). No other information on skiing any of these areas before these trips is known.



After these adventures, I was content to never carry boards to Olympus again, but my Washington Glacier Ski Project piqued my interest once more. At first I studied the glaciers trying to learn the best ways to get to them. Eventually, I discovered more about the peak than I'd known before. That its 7,939' stature, while considered short by some, is actually the 26th most prominent peak in the country. Or that it's the third most glaciated peak besides Mount Rainier and Baker outside Alaska! This latter fact was the most relevant to me, as I'd set a goal of 20 new glaciers visited a year (with a hoped for project completion date of 2020). Given that there's around 250 official and unofficially named glaciers on my list so far, I'm beginning to run out of locations where I can tag more than a couple per excursion. Olympus is among the few exceptions remaining. Even though I'd been to it several times with skis, I'd still missed six glaciers. However, proximity doesn't equate to easy. Convoluted terrain, large bergschrunds and conditions were only a few of the difficulties. No matter how I cut it, inclement weather was the biggest factor. Per year, over 200 inches of moisture accumulates on Olympus, mostly as snow. Another fun fact: if measurements were taken, it'd likely rank as the snowiest place on Earth.  

My ultimate goal in going to Mount Olympus again was to nibble at the corners, to ply away at the glaciers that nestle between cliff and icefall, waterfall and jungle. It was to go to the farthest place out there, and ski off the backside!

The rest here: http://www.myadventurecrusade.com/2018/06/10/mount-olympus-tour-of-the-gods/
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Blizz Mountain
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Re: Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1
« Reply #1 on: 06/11/18, 09:11 PM »

Cool website, cool tour, cool skiing, cool pics, cool story!  Nice job all around!
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river59
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Re: Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1
« Reply #2 on: 06/11/18, 10:14 PM »

Thank you for taking the time to share your TRs. Somehow they just keep getting better and better. The footage of you guys skiing off the top, under the moonlight, above the sea of clouds...incredible.
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runcle
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Re: Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1
« Reply #3 on: 06/12/18, 08:03 AM »

 Thanks for sharing your ski porn!

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BenJ
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Re: Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1
« Reply #4 on: 06/12/18, 10:45 AM »

Inspiring story and photos! (as usual)
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H2oskier
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Re: Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1
« Reply #5 on: 06/12/18, 05:53 PM »

The footage of you guys skiing off the top, under the moonlight, above the sea of clouds...incredible.

I must agree, I don't think I've ever seen ski footage that beautiful!     
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mikerolfs
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Re: Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1
« Reply #6 on: 06/12/18, 08:56 PM »



What a pic!
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andyrew
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Re: Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1
« Reply #7 on: 06/12/18, 09:53 PM »

Wow, what a tour de force, and the snow looks like it was top notch for some steep skiing.  I had a big grin watching the video on the Tour of the Gods.  Beauty only matched by the price tag for admission.
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bbrelje
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Re: Mount Olympus, Tour of the Gods, 5-25 to 6-1
« Reply #8 on: 06/13/18, 04:50 AM »

Just beautiful. Thank you for putting as much effort into the writing as you do into the skiing.
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