Mt. Olympus (Solo)

Mt. Olympus
5/12/13
9026′
4200′ gain
Class 3
2:07′ to summit, 4:00′ RT
 

Having only climbed 2,200′ of a planned 3,700′ yesterday in the aborted attempt on Pfeifferhorn, my legs had enough left for another hike this weekend: Mt. Olympus. The hike is 4,200′ of elevation gain with a short Class 3 scramble at the top. It forms the Western terminus of Wildcat Ridge and looks directly out over all of the Salt Lake Valley. It is the most prominent peak visible from Salt Lake City.

Mt. Olympus’s imposing north face as seen from Grandeur Peak

I set off, solo, from the Mt. Olympus trailhead at 6:45 in order to beat the rush and avoid the afternoon heat (forecasts called for unseasonably warm weather this weekend). The first part of the hike was unremarkable; some good views but the switchbacks kept the vertical rise fairly gradual. The trail is fairly rocky, which provides good tread for steeper sections.

Early morning view of Cottonwood Ridge
Shadow cast over the valley

The trail above Blister Hill was covered with mud and running water – I elected to use trekking poles here to make my ascent more efficient. I reached the saddle about 1:45′ after leaving  the trailhead. There was some rapidly melting snow at the saddle but it will be gone in a week or two.

“Blister Hill” – about a million switchbacks

I got a bit off route in the middle of the scramble, which was problematic due to moisture from melting snow above making the rock very slick. I had to be very deliberate to get myself out of a particularly steep section, but I made it to the top  and had the summit to myself! I enjoyed my typical mountain breakfast of a bagel with nutella and peanut butter. There was some snow on the summit but plenty of dry rock to sit on.

The Class 3 scramble from the bottom
Summit panorama

On the descent, I made sure to look for a less steep route to descent the slick quartzite. I also made sure to dry my boots whenever possible in the dust to get better grip. It was much easier on the way down.

Summit shot
Little Cottonwood Ridge
Alpine Ridge (including Pfeifferhorn)
View of downtown SLC
Requisite self timer shot
Twin Peaks (on my list for later this summer)

I ran into dozens of people with zero water on the way down and was glad to have started so early because it was getting HOT. I basically ran down the rest of the mountain because I was tired of being in the heat and I wanted to break 4:00′ trip (barely made it). And then drove 15 minutes to my house. I love Utah.

Lower trail. Would not want to do this at mid day in the summer.
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