With BirdDog in town leading up to our planned assault on Mount Moran, the opportunity presented itself to get some practice on extended 4th and 5th class terrain. Recognizing our lack of knowledge regarding the route and combined poor routefinding, we chose to contact Utah Mountain Adventures for professional guidance. We were thrilled to by paired up with Mike Kaserman, who not only proved to be extremly technically competent, but also had tips to pass onto us about what we could expect on Mount Moran. Thus early Thursday morning, we found ourselves at the TrailHead leading to the West Slabs of Olympus. The hike up the gully was marked by lots of loose rock and dirt. According to Mike, our unusual wet spring snows have significantly altered the landscape of the gully and resulted in much more loose rock and debris.
Once onto the rock, Mike was kind enough to weave a route which maximized our time on the face and traversed through one of the overhanging ledges.
In relatively quick time we reached to top of the slabs and set our sites on the North Summit of Olympus. None of our team had been on the North Summit, so we guessed that the easiest route would be to follow the ridgeline from the top of the West Slabs to the highest point. As we moved through 3rd and 4th class terrain, it became apparent that the North Summit is one of multiple points along the undulating ridgeline. Realizing the futility in gaining the summit by this technique, we tried dropping down onto the southern slope of the ridgeline. After several hours of losing and gaining altitude, while thrashing through an assortment of loose rocks and quality bushwacking, we finally dropped down into Tolcat Canyon and followed the upper part of the trail. After negotiating several short sections of scrambling, we climbed up a short section of jutting rocks to a ramp system that eventually led to the North Summit. Much rejoicing and eating of Cheeseburgers commenced.
Our descent backtracked our earlier route, while trying to find a more direct way of traversing from the North Summit to the West Slabs. Needless to say we spent multiple hours before again gaining the ridgeline above the West Slabs. After a few double rope rappels,
we were able to slip and slide our way down the rock filled gully to the Trail head for a trip totalling just over 12 hours of climbing, bushwacking and summiting. The trip was only marred by one slight injury as Bird Dog tried to stop a falling boulder with his shin.
Perfect preparation for Mount Moran!
Have you hiked a peak to enjoy a tasty cheeseburger? Sign in or register to submit your post.