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Pic Seven

Adventures in the Olympic Peninsula

Moun­tain Mad­ness guides Travis Williams and Andy Dahlen trav­eled to the Olympic Nation­al Park with sev­en clients in ear­ly July for a five day sum­mit climb of Mt. Olym­pus, the high­est peak in the park. Dur­ing their five days togeth­er, they were able to explore the beau­ti­ful Hoh Riv­er rain­for­est, the warm waters of an alpine lake, and sum­mit an impres­sive moun­tain togeth­er, but more impor­tant­ly, every­one came away with a group of new friends. 

The Olympic moun­tain range, here in Wash­ing­ton State, is par­tial­ly respon­si­ble for get­ting me into the out­doors and explor­ing this amaz­ing state of ours. Grow­ing up in Olympia, at the south­ern tip of the Puget Sound, Olympic Nation­al Park is just a hop, skip, and a jump away and I was able to explore dif­fer­ent cor­ners of the park. But the high­est point of the park, Mt. Olym­pus, elud­ed me due to its tech­ni­cal ter­rain and my lack of expe­ri­ence in the alpine envi­ron­ment. Fast for­ward sev­en years, I come to find that a Mt. Olym­pus sum­mit climb is on my guid­ing sched­ule and I couldn’t have been more excited! 

Hik­ing in the Hoh Riv­er Val­ley. Fiona and James Fong photo

My fel­low guide, Travis Williams, and I met our sev­en clients on a beau­ti­ful July morn­ing in Seat­tle and every­one was excit­ed to get going on our five day, sun-filled adven­ture into the heart of Olympic Nation­al Park. Our clients were from all over North Amer­i­ca; Fiona and James came all the way from Toron­to, Corey and Jen hailed from Ohio, Jorge came to us from Flori­da, and Will and Pete were the locals, mak­ing their way here from Olympia and Seat­tle, respectively. 

For five days, the nine of us hiked and climbed through the Hoh Riv­er rain­for­est, up to base­camp in Glac­i­er Mead­ows, and to the Blue Glac­i­er which is the start of Mt. Olympus.

Some of the fel­lows mak­ing their bacon, egg, and has­brown break­fast bur­ri­tos.
Fiona and James Fong photo

Mak­ing our way up the mighty Mt. Olym­pus. Fiona and James Fong photo

Dur­ing our time togeth­er, we tran­si­tioned from strangers who signed up for a climb to friends who got to spend five incred­i­ble days togeth­er, tak­ing in the beau­ti­ful and chang­ing land­scapes of Olympic Nation­al Park. We were all able to sum­mit suc­cess­ful­ly on the fourth day of our trip, under blue skies and incred­i­bly pos­i­tive attitudes.

Back at the Blue Glac­i­er after a suc­cess­ful sum­mit. Fiona and James Fong photo

Through­out the trip, even with some slight changes to the agen­da, which includ­ed a 17 mile hike out on the last day (!), every­one kept a pos­i­tive atti­tude and a friend­ly, upbeat demeanor through­out the whole trip.

The group at the back­coun­try ranger sta­tion dur­ing lunch on our hike out.
Fiona and James Fong photo

Fiona show­cas­ing the incred­i­ble size of the trees in the Hoh Riv­er tem­per­ate rain­for­est.
Fiona and James Fong photo

I can­not say enough great things about this trip and, frankly, it was the way that every­one in the group was able to bond so close­ly that made this trip for me. Not only was I able to accom­plish a climb that I had been want­i­ng to do since I was 18, but more impor­tant­ly, I was able to do it with eight oth­er awe­some peo­ple that I now con­sid­er friends. Again, if you guys are read­ing, thanks again for this won­der­ful trip. You guys are amazing!

~ MM Guide Andy Dahlen

Did I men­tion that we hiked 17 miles the day after a 13 hour sum­mit day?
James show­ing what we all felt. Fiona and James Fong photo