As a young boy looking at an Olympic National Park Wilderness Map its hard not to notice the mountain in the center of the Olympic Mountains.
Then in the recent 5 years it has became an obsession of mine to put feet on her ice. Even at the point of my computer wallpaper being an image of the raw beauty of the snow-capped rock.
In the evolution of my own personal minimalist journey. I wanted to do it as close as the first human to step foot on the mountain.
All within trying to keep basic safety; since it involves glacier travel. Knowing my limits I have however am very safe person. When your feet are that close to the earth; in this case ice. Your neurological system is at such a heightened state, I am less likely to take stupid chances.
Saying that, I left the trailhead with a net weight of 21 pounds on my back. This would be everything needed for a three and a half day trip, for roughly 50 miles of trail. This included lightweight winter gear made of Tyvek, standard glacier travel rope, 1 carabiner and harness.
|First view of the Blue Glacier of Mount Olympus|
The first night only a few miles from the trailhead. We all stayed up until at least midnight watching a lightening storm that surrounded the mountain. It was amazing to watch from only a few miles away. This winter I plan to invest in a camera that shoots better at night. Would have been nice to capture it; however it will be forever engraved into my memories.
|The Hoh Rainforest Trail - a small highway to the Modern Mountaineer loaded with 60lbs + Backpacks|
|One of the many logs to cross on the Hoh Trail|
|Heading up through the Jungle|
|the 'High Hoh Bridge' roughly 13 mile mark|
|Slippery Log Bridge|
|One of the many Gully's to cross|
|Mountain Goat in the Trail|
|Rope Ladder to get across a washed out Gully|
|and then back up the left side to get back on the Trail|
|Home - Gossamer Gear Spinnshelter at Glacier Meadows - It rained nightly and I was dry|
|Starting the day off|
|Ascending out of Glacier Meadows|
|Ascending the moraine with my gutted Gossamer Gear Gorilla; with only a few things I will need.|
|Roping up - Wearing my modified Vibram Five Finger Spyridon LS (to increase breathability, shave weight and fix design issues)|
|Heading down onto the Blue Glacier|
|Splitting bottomless crevasse's|
|Looking back at whence we came|
|Life Line - wearing my homemade MYOG Tyvek Jacket for sun protection|
|Watch your step|
|Headed off the glacier|
|Ascending Snow Dome|
|my top for the day - Snow Dome|
|Modified mountaineering footwear|
|Chillin on Snow Dome|
|now for the 18 miles out in rain forest mud|
|All trail miles with my Luna Sandals|
My Short Video Clip:
This was a major accomplishment for me being the first human in Toe Shoes on Olympus.
I doubt modern mountaineering drifting toward going minimal; since its such a gear driven sport. However I foresee the need to lighten up their backpacks in the coming years. Carrying an fully loaded 60 lbs+ pack can not be enjoyable. One should be focusing on the experience and their surroundings. Not the overwhelming feeling of wanting to pass out only a few miles from the trailhead.
Updated in December 2015 by Barefoot Jake
Disclaimer/Comments: One should train their feet for some time for this type of winter conditions. It helps never wearing modern shoes or socks. That way your body can adapt to the surrounding climates.
Biking, hiking or backpacking in minimalist footwear takes strong feet. Since as we aged wearing shoes have lots most of our natural foot muscle. Give you body time to adjust to this type of footwear before attempting anything you see on this site.