Mt. Olympus

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Chris and Chad

Chris, Chad and Shaun got dropped off at the base of Mt. Olympus West Slabs early in November to take advantage of a perfectly mild autumn.

Unfortunately, this supposed 5.5 12-pitch turned out perfectly mild as well.

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Mt. Olympus Base Camp

At the slab base we found a nearly-level spot just large enough for camp. While tossing rocks around and watching the sparks, the camera flash took Chad and Chris by surprise. Supposing it to be a sparkk from a giant boulder, they momentarily thought their seconds were numbered.

Secondly, the guidebook topo was off, perhpas partly due to so much new construction. If you follow it's instructions, you'll end up in the drainage to the east--head sraight up to the end of Zarahemla Drive instead.

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Chad gets the day's most interesting lead.

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Chris tackles the biggest roofs he can find.

The guidebook called the route a 5.5 with mostly 5.4 or easier. Even taking the hardest possible route, we never quite felt we hit 5.4.

A pair of guys from Provo's Rock Garden gym soloed up past us as they day went on.

We ran the three of us on one rope, eventually turning to a running belay (leader places occassional pro, second clips past it, third cleans).

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Chad and Chris simul-climb

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Chris and Chad doing the rope work just for fun.

All day long the cliff lay just in the shade, protected from the fierce November sun, but we stayed plenty warm.

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Salt Lake City far below

We finally summitted and made our way back around and down, skirting the edge of the slab. We reached civilization just after dark and walked to Highland Drive where our ride picked us up.

All in all it was a worthwhile experience, but mostly only due to the companionship and getting to know a new mountain. Don't go if you're looking for a challenge. Go if you want the easiest "big wall" experience in the world.

But don't try to call it a big wall. Call it a Big Slab.

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