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Mount Olympus

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mount Olympus (center) from Hurricane Hill (bobcat)


Mount Olympus is the central and highest peak in Washington's Olympic Mountains. Although it is a relatively middling peak in terms of height, the annual heavy snowfall has contributed to several glaciers forming on its formidable slopes, the largest being the White, the Blue, and the Hoh. The termini of some of these glaciers are below 4,000 feet, making them the lowest elevation glaciers at this latitude on the planet! The mountain is the centerpiece of the Olympic National Park, created in 1938. The summit cannot be seen from most cities in the Puget Sound area or from the Pacific Coast due to other peaks that obscure it in the direct line of sight. The east side of the mountain can be fully viewed from Hurricane Hill.

Mount Olympus has several peaks, the highest being West Peak at 7,980 feet. Other peaks include Middle Peak, 50 feet lower than West Peak, and East Peak (7,762 feet). The ascent is technical and the peak registers 5,000 feet of prominence. Climbing the mountain involves a lengthy approach, compared to most Pacific Northwest peaks, as well as exposed ridges and glacier travel. Backcountry permits are required.

Mount Olympus was named in 1778 by Captain John Meares after the peak in Greece of the same name which was revered as the dwelling place of the gods. The Native American name for the mountain was Sunh-a-do.

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