Trip Report: Snowshoe to the summit of Mt. Olympus

Snowshoe to the summit of Mt. Olympus
By Lana Christiansen
SNOWSHOE 01/18/2020 MSD

Participants: Andrea Thatcher, David Lewis, Michael Hannan and Lana Christiansen

Who could know for certain what the snow conditions would be at the top or even the saddle of Mt. Olympus on Saturday, January 18, 2020 after the winter storm put down 12 to 14 inches of snow at Alta on Friday? Certainly not me. So I planned for almost anything, just in case. Our group took everything from snowshoes, micro spikes, and ice axes to light weight crampons.

We started at 7:40 a.m. with hopes of another beautiful day in our Wasatch Mountains. We were not disappointed. The temperatures were in the high 30's to the low 40's with blue skies and beautiful clouds. We donned the snowshoes above the second stream in an effort to level out the uneven track leading to the saddle. The snowshoes were especially helpful in covering up the deep impressions of a cow moose that seemed very determined to see just where this trail led. Snowshoes have a way of making a snowy trail not only more enjoyable to trek on but also very aesthetic to view.

Our pace was slow, steady and methodical. We reached the saddle at about 11:05 a.m., where we took a short break. Only one other person had been to the top and he had post holed severely. We were determined to try to remedy the condition of the trail to the top.

The crux was fun to negotiate with so much snow packed on it. The ridge walk was enjoyable and the mailbox just barely visible. We didn't bother to dig it out. The hour it took us to reach the summit was an hour well spent. We were blessed with no wind as we enjoyed the breathtaking and never ending views we had worked hard to achieve. We exchanged congratulation knuckles, high fives and took summit pictures. We headed down knowing we would reach the saddle and enjoy a good long break and lunch. Upon reaching the saddle we were thrilled to meet both Deirdre and Mohammed. They are both such a joy to interact and hike with.

The descent was epic in that one of the advantages of wearing snowshoes is knowing that you don't need a trail to descend on. We were able to make our own tracks through all that powder south of the established trail, whooping and hollering all the way to the second stream. Every now and again one of us would get stuck but the joy of snowshoeing with a group is that there are others willing to dig you out. Thanks David for all your help!