Mount Olympus Six Peaks Route

Mount Olympus South Summit: 9,026'
Mount Olympus North Summit 8,960'

Six Peaks Total Elevation Gain: ~5,000 ft.

Wasatch Mountains
Salt Lake City, Utah

This is a combination of West Ridge Route and the classic South Summit Route.

This route hits all six peaks among the twin massifs of Mount Olympus.
There are five subpeaks on the Northern Massif : N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, and one peak on the Southern Massif : Olympus South Peak.

This route isn't for the faint of heart. This route will require about 1/2 a mile of bramble bushwhacking, tons of routefinding, rock climbing and down climbing. Also it is in the sun for the entire time. The entire route is about 8 miles total. Although not necessary for everyone, I would recommend some climbing rope, and maybe some climbing shoes.

Like all off-trail routes, always be ready to back up if you get in a difficult situation. Pay close attention to the route well before you get there.
You'll be much better able to navigate if you are continually looking far ahead and formulating a gameplan well in advance.


As you go up the actual West Ridge, try to slowly trend all the way to the far left (north) edge of the giant northern slab. Go diagonal northeast climbing up and over minor slabs along the way. Wait for the right time to cross over.


Near the end of the hike, after you pass the North Face Trail, which comes up steeply on the left, there is a break in the ridge. You will need to decend. There are many opportunities to get hurt through here. Go slow and be ready to back up.

I went in a straight line from the northernmost peak of the Northern Summit (Subpeak N1) up and down to the South Summit. This isn't recommended, as it can be serious if you make even a little mistake. The crux is near the southern base of Subpeak N5. You can either down-traverse a 5.7 or do what I did, jump 10-15 feet down.

South Summit from Subpeak N4

Tolcat Waterfall
To safely get down from Subpeak N5 into Tolcat Canyon you can traverse right or to the east.
You can hike down Tolcat Canyon, I've never done it, but I would guess that it would be steep, with broken trees all over the place, lots of bushwhacking with some downclimbing.

North Summit

South Summit
Tolcat Canyon

South Summit North Face

After enjoying the silence of Tolcat Canyon (Neffs Norths Fork on the other side), I climbed up the broken, but stable face on the north face of the South Summit, the holds were excellent all the way up, the angle was between 70 degrees in places to mostly about 50 degrees. I unwisely went up without a rope, in my street shoes.

There are usually thousands of biting flies and mosquitos this time of year, but on this day their numbers were biblical. They left me alone for most of the hike, but they came in swarms as soon as I got to the South Summit (The popular peak) and from then on, they tormented me down the trail. It was ridiculous how many were coming at me, climbing under my sunglasses and under my shirt, I must have smashed 2,000 of them into my face and head. I slipped on the rocks dozens of times as I swatted at them.They were unrelenting until I passed an unfortunate couple sitting along the trail in the forest. Apparently, parasites prefer nonmoving hosts. I kind of felt bad later as I could hear them far behind, trying to outrun the files.

I encountered a kid with an old dog, stuck on the trail about half way down Blister Hill. The dog was of the 150+ pounds variety, with a thick fur coat. The dog's feet were hammered, and it seemed to be dehydrated and hyperthermic. The dog simply refused to budge. Everytime I've brought an old dog up this trail (Mount Olympus South Summit) in the summer, I've had to carry it down. If you have an old dog, be sure it is small enough to carry.

Watch out for Rattlesnakes.

Use a walking stick to thump on the ground every so often. They will hear you before you get there, usually they'll just slither off, if not, at least they'll be rattling to give you a warning.

June 20, 2008

Near the beginning of the Classic Olympus South Summit trail.
This is how most of the trail looks.

Busy Bumble Bee

Bushwhacking and rock climbing up the rugged hillside toward the West Ridge.
Looking East toward the two Olympus Massifs.

Looking East toward the switchbacks up Blister Hill.
This is the section just after the stream crossing.
Twin Peaks sits in the distance in the background on the right.

A waterfall along the Tolcat Canyon Stream.

The Northern Massif of Mount Olympus.
There are 5 subpeaks on the Northern Peak.
From left to right, we will call them N1,N2,N3,N4, and N5.
Subpeak N1 isn't really visible yet, Subpeak N2 is the highest point.
The rock that is just to the left of N1 and the large tree isn't a subpeak,
and was ignored along this route.

Looking east up Tolcat Canyon. There is still quite a bit of snow up there.
The quartzite slab in the middle is Mount Olympus South Summit,
which is the peak people normally hike to from
the trailhead on Wasatch Blvd. (Next to Pete's Rock)
That trail trail climbs up from the right or south side of the peak.

Nearing the base of the Northern Massif.
Looking east up Tolcat Canyon toward the Southern Peak of Olympus.

Inching up the steep quartzite in the sweltering sun.
Looking northwest toward downtown Salt Lake City and the Great Salt Lake.

From near the top of the West Slabs, I encountered 'Rattles', the guardian at the gate.
He was a little more grouchy than normal, so I didn't try to cuddle him.
If you want to avoid rattlesnakes, walk with a stick or a cane.
They can feel you approaching much easier, thus they will start rattling earlier, or they will just hide.
You're never really in danger unless you are almost stepping on one. They are actually very timid.

After passing the Apollo Coulier, and the top of the North Face Trail, on the left,
nearing the top of the northern group of peaks.
Mount Olympus South Peak sits in the distance.

Looking north toward the northernmost peak on the Northern Massif
(Subpeak N1).

A telephoto of a large raptor sitting on top of the highest point on the North Peak.
It almost seemed like it could be a vulture, but I've never seen one in the Wasatch.
He sat there with his wings spread out for about a minute.

Looking south toward Subpeak N2, the highest peak on the Northern Massif.
You can see the bird on the very top.

Looking east from the top of Subpeak N1 down Wildcat Ridge.
Neffs Canyon is on the bottom left.
Subpeak N1 is also the top of Kamps Ridge,
a multi-pitch climb that starts along the North Face Hiking Trail.

From Subpeak N1 looking west over the southern Salt Lake Valley
and the Oquirrh Mountains.
I-215 is the prominent road below.

A telephoto shot of Triangle Peak, the first obstacle along the route over Wildcat Ridge.
Wildcat Ridge is considered the most difficult mountaineering route in the Wasatch.
I would bring a rope, long sleeves, pants, glasses, and a machete.

From Subpeak N1 looking north over the Northern Wasatch.
Below is Olympus Cove and Neffs Canyon.
Neffs Ridge, Grandeur Peak, Grandview Peak.

From Subpeak N1 looking south toward Subpeak N2.

From Subpeak N2 (Highest on the northern group of peaks) looking south
toward Subpeak N3. You can climb up Subpeak N3 from the far right,
then traverse to the left across the crack in the middle.
You can see Cottonwood Ridge, and Thunder Mountain in the background.

The tippy top of Subpeak N2 looking north. Grandeur sits in the back on the left.
This is where the bird was sitting in a previous picture.
The white stuff on the rock is bird poop. I found this out while I was sitting up there.
I had to rub my hands in some dirt dust to get the smell off.

From the base of Subpeak N3.
Looking north toward Subpeak N2 (Northern highpoint).

Looking east across the traverse across Subpeak N3.

From the top of Subpeak N3 looking west.
The rock to the right, looks like a peak from below,
but as you can see, it is much lower.

Between Subpeak N3 and Subpeak N4 looking west over the Salt Lake Valley.

From the top of Subpeak N4 looking west.

From Subpeak N4 looking south over the
southernmost peak on the Northern Massif (The rock that is purplish below)
and Mount Olympus' high point, the Southern Peak.

Views of interest rock fracturing on the walls of the South Peak of Olympus.
That's a large pine tree in the middle.

Looking south from the top of Sub Peak N5 toward the South Peak of Olympus.
I saw a few hikers on top, but they didn't see me.
This wall is the peak that you would reach if you hiked the classic trail all the way to the top.
People think this peak is a big pile of boulders, it actually solid slabs of quartzite.

This entire face can be climbed, I would definitely use gear on the left.
The right side has 5.4-5.6 routes, which resemble the West Slabs.
It's fairly easy to navigate up, just take your sweet time.

From Subpeak N5 looking east.
Notice the angle of the purple rock, the left side used to be flat.
It has been broken and rotated about 75 degrees from the lower right.

If you look in the background,
you can see the entire ridge has endured the same fracturing and angling.
It's been pushed up from under on the right, from deep within the Earth.

Looking straight down Subpeak N5 toward the gully at the top of Tolcat Canyon.

This chute goes down into North's Fork to the east,
and down Tolcat Canyon to the west.

I was planning on climbing up this section which I heard was a mild 5.5.
But, the snow made it look impossible without an axe and crampons.

I decided the safest way would be straight up the dry rock face pictured here.

Halfway up the Southern Face of the South Summit,
looking north toward the Northern Massif.
Grandeur Peak and Neffs Ridge sit in the background.

After a day of solace and natural beauty,
it was sad to see all of the graffiti on top of the South Summit.
I think it's a crime to vandalize nature.

"Don't live by how people think, but by how you Feel.", It says.
Translation: "Do whatever you want, who cares about anyone else..."

I wonder how Bradley and Heidi would feel,
if everyone who passed by their car or house
spraypainted a cute slogan on it.

It would be nice if the trail maintenance crew put up a sign or something,
It could say something like:

"Please don't vandalize the rocks,
if you need to impress someone,
write or carve your name on this post.

Looking south from the summit of Mount Olympus South Peak over Heugh's Canyon
toward Twin Peaks and Lone Peak.

A telephoto of Broad's Fork Twin Peaks.

A telephoto of Monte Cristo and Mount Superior.
Below is Sundial Peak and Lake Blanche.

And then it got dark about an hour before I got down...
It took me almost 10 hours, that's going to hurt for a few days.

For a map of this route: Mount Olympus West Map


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© Copyright 1999-2019 Dale Meier, unless otherwise credited. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.