Utah || Mt. Olympus: 9,026 ft

September 2018


I did a thing I’ve always always wanted to do since moving here: Hike up Mt. Olympus, camp on that gorgeous saddle and then pop up the rock scramble in the morning for a sunrise summit!!

Mt. Olympus is an iconic peak, towering along the Salt Lake front. The hike is nothing too scary while reading about it online…only 4 miles to the top. Seems like no big deal, right? However, you’d be wrong to think this was just a little walk up a hill. The elevation gain is a grueling 4,129 feet. There are times along the way that you can literally reach out in front of you, and touch the steep trail in front of you. It’s a classic hike, but I’ll be honest. It’s not really all that fun until you get near the top, where there’s a serious rock scramble to the summit.

The last time I tried to summit this mountain, I got all the way into the rock scramble and had to turn around to go to work. It took me much longer than a 4 mile hike over had before. I’d just hiked the AT, after all! I could surely cruise this thing in 3 hours! Ohhh, how wrong I was…. This mountain was so much harder and steeper than I’d ever imagined it could be. Realizing how long it had truly taken, I started running down the steep trail in an effort to get to work on time, and rolled my ankle hard. With an audible pop, I flew off the side of the trail into the scrub oaks. I clawed my way back onto the trail, called work to tell them I was gonna be incredibly late, and hobbled the last 2 miles back down to the trailhead.

I felt super bad for the uber driver that picked me up (in a suit and tie at that!) I was definitely sweating and bleeding all over his nice leather seats. I was surprised he didn’t charge me extra money. It was an epic for sure, and not in a good way.

It was also the first time I hadn’t completed a peak bagging objective. Oof.

But here we are again, attempt #2. I made it up the hard stuff after the heat of the day. Arriving at the saddle to camp for the night, the city glowed silently like a million stars beneath me. I tried to hammock at first, and was eaten by mosquitos for hours into the night before I finally gave in and set up my tent. Sometimes these adventures aren’t the perfect picture of tranquility, but that’s ok.

I woke up groggy and not very well rested. But coming back to bag the peak in this way, and for sunrise, was perfect retribution to my super failed attempt last year. I mean, I can’t even begin to explain how close I was the first time around. I sat atop Mt. Olympus completely alone with the mountains splayed out on one side of me, and the Salt Lake valley slowly waking up on the other, and a perfect pastel sunrise painting the morning with vibrant purples, blues, oranges and pinks. Perfection.

I love these mountains, I love Utah, and I love Salt Lake City.

Published by alexandriacantrell22

Trail-name: Pocahontas Atlanta-native and based out of SLC, Utah. Appalachian Trail 2016, the Colorado Trail 2018, Timberline Trail 2018

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