Mt. Olympus - Olympic National Park
July 17-20, 1980
On Friday, July 18, we established our base camp high on the Blue Glacier moraine, just on the leeward side where weather and alpine fir struggled to make a foothold among the rocks. Earlier we had seen two mountain goats on an open hillside and cameras with telephotos were put to work. Now, after looking at the breathtaking view of Mt. Olympus, the vast crevassed Blue Glacier and snow dome, everyone was busy setting up camp and preparing dinner, when we heard a shout, “Look.” The goats were now within a few feet of our camp and proved to be very inquisitive creatures! Saturday we woke up to an overcast sky with the summit and snow dome completely clouded.
We left camp at 5 a.m., crossed the upper portion of Blue Glacier, up through rock outcrops to the snow dome and on up with an increasing wind and deteriorating weather. Wands were placed as a precaution and proved a welcome sight on the descant. Crampons were not necessary as the snow was soft enough for good footholds on the steeper slopes. The windy mist, however, resulted in a bone chilling winter-type climb. About halfway up the snow dome, out of the swirling mist, two more goats were descending, with one clearly marked for observation.
The base of the summit pinnacle was reached shortly before 10 a.m. We fixed lines and set the summit belay, with people on top by 10:15 a.m. and 13 people up and off with ropes secured by 12 noon.
Body movement was necessary, so little time was wasted in signing the summit book and grabbing a few M&M’s from the summit box and supplied by Gene Thaxton. Base camp was reached at 2:30 p.m., gear packed and the descent made to Elk Lake where Paula Vehrs was waiting. We went down further to the bridge spanning the Hoh River and on through the lush rain forest to Olympic Camp, arriving about 8:30 p.m., a 16 hour day, 14 miles up and down, moving almost constantly. “Oh, poor feet, just a few more steps!”
Sunday, under clearing skies, we moved the nine riles to the trailhead, cars and home. Sharing this delightful experience were Jan Baker, Lynn Baker, Bert Ewing, Dick Hildreth, Duane Kough, Dot Leland, Eve Lonnquist, Velma Shirk, Pat Smith, Paula Vehrs, Paula West, Nancy White and Gene Thaxton and Glenn Meares (co-loaders.)