3 Peaks of the Cascades : Mount Olympus


July 2011

The Plan

This year we will return to Washington state for our major objective, Mt. Olympus in the Olympic range of Washington. While this trip will only have two peaks, Mt. Olympus is a big enough trip to wear us out and feel like we climbed three peaks. Our "warm-up" mountain will be Mt. Hood, a life objective for many climbers. We will cover a variety of terrain from rain forest to high alpine meadows to massive glaciers. We'll be doing a mixture of car and backcountry camping in one of the most wild and beautiful parts of the country. This is a fantastic trip for strong solid hikers with a go-getter attitude who want to enter the world of mountaineering.

While Mt. Olympus is not a large mountain compared to other Cascades peaks (7965′), its long access route, large glaciers and proximity to the Pacific Ocean make it a very worthy objective. We will approach the route via the Hoh Rain Forest which receives over 12′ (yes that is feet not inches) of rain per year which means lots of snow on the mountain.

This itinerary might vary some from actual. We have allowed time for weather, group acclimatization and varying plans and routes. The Olympus access and actual trip will be snowpack dependent. We will work to maximize our mountain time.


July 9 – Day one

Pick up everyone at Sea-Tac airport (Seattle-Tacoma) at 1pm.
Stop for any gear rental (such as boots) or last minute gear purchase.
Stop for dinner en-route (could also cook in camp)
Drive to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood
Meal – Dinner out

July 10 – Day two

Glacier School and Review. We will possibly head to a high camp on this day to shorten our summit day. For those interested there could also be a possible option of a morning ski/snowboard session. Timberline Lodge is home to a very rare summer based lift accessible glacier to ski on. The runs are for intermediate to advanced skiers and tend to be icy as well (east coasters are used to that). Please discuss your interest in this with Brett.

July 11 – Day three

Alpine start attempt on Mt. Hood via standard South route.
Lodging in Sandy, Hood River or Portland (included)
Meal – Breakfast at camp, Lunch on trail, dinner at camp

July 12 – Day four

Wake up and drive to Olympic Peninsula
Start first part of hike in (16 miles total to base camp)
Meal – Breakfast at camp, Lunch on trail, dinner on trail.

July 13 – Day five

Finish hike to Glacier Meadows at 4,500′ which will be our base camp. We will have a brief climbing skills refresher for this day.

July 14 – Day six

Mt. Olympus Summit day via the Blue Glacier and return to base camp.
July 15 – Day seven

Begin the hike out.
July 16 – Day eight

If we still need time to hike out on this day we have it as an option. If we are out we will explore the scenic Olympic coastline. If we have the time and energy we will do an overnight backpack along the coast or visit the Sol Duc Hot Springs. We will stay in a hotel this night near the airport.
July 17 – Day nine

Departure from the Airport

Equipment List:

If you have equipment questions, please let me know. Some of this equipment (noted with star) Quest does have available for usage. We hold a deposit for the course.
We will have a van for this trip to haul us around. Our goal is to fit all of this in so don't overpack. Also, whenever possible bring soft sided items such as duffles. No external frame backpacks or suitcases.
Sleeping Gear:
*Backpack – Approximately 5-6000 Cu In. We'll be carrying quite a bit of gear to our camps on the Sisters and Hood, you want a way to carry all of this.
Small Additional Duffle Bag – To store items you leave behind, such as Hood food while on the Sisters.
Small Daypack – For car/airport time.
*Sleeping Bag – Rated to 20 degrees. Down or Synthetic. I will be using a synthetic one.
Compression Bag – To shrink sleeping bag and save pack space
*Sleeping Pad – Foam or inflatable. Bring repair kit if inflatable.
* 3/4 or 4 Season Tent. Don't compromise here. Bivy Sack/Tarp combos could also work. Discuss if you have questions.
Technical Gear:
*Climbing Helmet
*Lightweight Climbing Harness
*Ice Axe (mountaineering/glacier travel)
Trekking Poles (not optional, please bring to save your knees, we'll have big loads)
* 3 Locking Carabiners
20′ 5-6mm Cord
Head Gear: (no, not braces)
Warm Fleece Hat – ideally thin enough to also work under helmet.
Balaclava or Neck Gaiter -
Baseball Hat -
Sunglasses – Full wrap or glacier glasses. Don't skimp here. We can help you pick.
Goggles – Amber lenses help in mixed and stormy weather
Headlamp – with spare batteries. The cold can really eat them up.
Extremities Gear:
Gloves (insulating) – 1-2 pairs of fleece. I bring two different weights of fleece that fit inside each other. The heavier pair should be wind/water resistant or proof.
Gloves (shell) – Waterproof/Windproof.
Mountaineering Boots – Plastic or leather but must be completely rigid (full shank), and insulated.
Hiking Boots/Hiking Shoes – For Adams, Town, and airport
Camp Shoes – Crocs work well as do Down Booties.
Sandals – for town time and post climb foot relaxation.
Gaiters – Knee length, gore-tex or equivalent and fit over your big boots.
Socks – Wool or syntethic. Find ones that work for you. Need multiple pairs for trip. Liner socks are optional, some people like them, some don't. I personally don't.
Core Gear:
This gear should work for you over several days of climbing. Don't bring too much but have yourself covered.
Base layers – Synthetic, long sleeve, lightweight. Ventable if possible
Insulating Layers – have several options
Long-sleeve lightweight shirt with collar – synthetic. To protect yourself from the sun on warm glacier practice days.
Shell Jacket – With hood, Gore-Tex or equivalent.
Insulated Parka ideally with hood – for stormy and cold weather.
Street Clothes – for travel times
Leg Gear:
Base Layers – same as above but long leg vs. long sleeved
Insulating layer – fleece pants or equivalent
Shell Pants – Gore-Tex, full side zip if possible.
Lightweight synthetic pants for non-summit days but on snow still
Hiking Shorts
Street Clothes
Other gear to have:
Sunscreen and lip protection. Bring spares.
Utensils, cup, bowl
2-3 quart sized water bottle, wide mouth. Hydration bladders are fine but can freeze so still have 2 bottles with you.
Several Large Garbage bags and zip-locks for keeping things dry
Toiletries – toothbrush, deoderant, etc.
Bio-degradable toilet paper. We'll also be using the blue bags on Rainier.
Ear Plugs
Camera – if you're into that sort of thing, spare batteries/memory cards.
Personal Medical supplies – first aid kit (especially for blisters) and any prescription/non-prescription items
Water Purification Source
Stove – per cook group
Fuel Bottle (we'll get fuel in Tacoma)
Cooking Pots
Cooking Utensils
Reading Materials
Stuff sacks for organizing gear
Knife/Leatherman (put in checked luggage, not carry on).
Payment Schedule
Fee includes: Leadership and Instruction on all mountains, Usage of Quest technical gear as needed (see above for availibilty/deposit), 2 nights hotel, Camping fees, All climbing and camping permits, maps (used by trip leader), private transportation for trip (12 passenger van), pick up and drop off at Sea-Tac Airport. For this trip we will have two vans, one for equipment and one for people. This is an upgrade from previous trips.
Fee does not include: Any meals, equipment purchases by participant for personal usage, tips as necessary, airfare
To Register for this Trip please contact our office via phone or e-mail.
A non-refundable deposit of $200 secures your place on the trip.
Cost for currently enrolled BU students or BU Alumni – $850
Community rate – $850

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."    — Robert A. Heinlein

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