Climb West Slabs of Mount Olympus

Added by Laura Boyer

Free solo or free climb up the west slabs to the summit of Mt. Olympus.

Park at the top of Thousand Oaks Drive, and make your way to the dirt path heading east. It will be a well maintained, well-covered single dirt track which takes you to the base of a really impressive couloir. Follow the trail until you reach the couloir / rocky gully. You will then see the West Slabs. Depending on the time you go, there may or may not be snow at the base. I went in the middle of May and there was till quite a bit of snow for the first few hundred feet or so. 

At this point, start making your way up the slabs. If you go when there is snow, be sure to watch for weak snow bridges and always make sure you're stepping on solid snow. As always, be sure to check any weather reports to assess the danger of certain hikes given the weather. Once you reach dry rock (if there is no snow, it'll be right at the base of the couloir), just start climbing up.  The slabs are incredibly wide, so you can pretty much choose any way to to go up. I recommend just following wherever you find the best holds and slowly making your way up. the whole slab is about 1600' ft. 

Some people choose to rope up and use trad gear for protection, but some people choose to just "free solo" the slabs. I suggest choosing based on your climbing experience, your climbing partner's experience, and your level of tolerance to risk and heights. The whole slab is about 10 pitches, and is classified mostly as a class III scramble. Some pitches are a 5.5 climb. There are only one or two actual bolts though, so if you rope up you'll need to use trad gear. 

My two climbing partners essentially just scrambled up the slabs in hiking boots with relatively sticky soles. I walked the trial in hiking boots but changed into some La Sportiva climbing shoes for the slabs. Either way works. You just need to be aware and realistic about your climbing ability and history.  I was a little nervous, so I wanted as much confidence in myself as possible and climbing shoes made me feel more secure. 

Once you reach the top of the slabs, some people choose to descend (using ropes) on the slab, or you can bushwhack to the actual summit of Olympus. I chose to go to the top of Olympus. It Is about a mile or so of bushwhacking to the summit. Stay on the ridge as much as possible to avoid the undergrowth. Depending on the time of year, there may or may not be snow. Again, there is not really a set way to go Once you reach the top of Olympus, you'll see an incredible view of Twin Peaks and the other peaks of LCC. You can also see pretty far north on clear day. The views really are beautiful on the top of Olympus. 

To descend, I just went down on the trail leading to Olympus.  (My friend had parked his car at the base of the Mt. Olympus trailhead and then my brother drove us to the West Slabs trailhead). The trail to Mt. Olympus is fairly steep. It's about 3 miles, with 4,000' ft or so elevation gain. It's a pretty busy trail as well, so be sure to be courteous as you descend. 

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Rock Climbing


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Check conditions and route if you want to summit

I’ve done this hike before but just went again and this time tried to make it over to the summit of Mt. Olympus. Just know that this “mile bushwhack” is more so a sketchy up and down ridge walk and requires another slab down climb and up climb to get to the true summit. With snow and tennis shoes this is not a beginner hike. The views are beautiful and if you aren’t afraid of heights go for it, just study the route to the summit before you go, and would highly recommend going later in the season to avoid snow and ice.

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