The North summit of Mt. Olympus can be seen from most of Salt Lake City. The West Slabs are on the far right of the visible face. They can easily be picked out by a big drainage (often filled with snow) which goes up to the base. Above the drainage is a huge low angle face. The face can be climbed basically anywhere, and is over 1500' feet high.
Check out Ruckman's newest guidebook for really good directions. The old Wasatch Climbing North guidebook by Ruckman has out of date instructions which were the norm before new houses were built.
The parking for this face is in a subdivison above Wasatch Blvd. To get there, turn from Wasatch onto Oakview, then a right on Jupiter, a left on Adonis, and a right on Thousand Oaks Drive. Keep following the dead end signs up to Thousand Oaks Circle. Park here.
At the end of this circle, a really steep dirt trail heads up the hill. Take the first left off of this (not very pronounced, only a short distance from the road), which goes up to a dirt road. Go left on this dirt road, almost immediately encountering a black gate with a security camera in view. Skirt around this fence on the uphill side using the obvious trail. Drop back down to the road once past the fence. Follow this road for quite a ways, eventually finding a cairn which makes an exit trail. Follow this a small ways to another good cairn in a drainage. This drainage is the key to finding the route. Just follow the drainage, which trends right (south), and eventually starts climbing up to the slabs. The last long strectch which approaches the slabs is often filled with snow. An ice axe is very useful, and some people even use crampons (probably not necessary). Finish up this couloir to the base of the slabs.
The face of the West Slabs can be climbed almost anywhere. The slab is extremely wide, allowing tons of variations to try. Although it doesn't matter which way you choose, I will describe my route as a rough idea of what to expect. Also included are rough estimates of the pitch lengths. All told, the slabs are probably close to 2000' feet of climbing. In early season, an ice axe (maybe crampons) may be helpful on the approach couloir. The snow isn't that steep and I was easily able to kick s...[more]Browse More Classics in UT
We did this this morning following Peter's directions which were great. I wanted to add that we followed the road past 2 switchbacks and the road just became the trail. Shortly after a short section of boulder hopping the trail dumped us into the obvious drainage where a good cairn pointed the way. From there it was about 40 more minutes of scrambling up the drainage to the base of the slabs. Easier at first and pretty steep with some fifth class moves near the top. Took us about an hour total.
After re-reading the directions after this trip I realized they are very accurate for the most part. However- don't turn onto Thousand Oaks Circle- rather follow the dead end sign PAST Thousand Oaks Circle- park near the end of Thousand Oaks Drive. Look for a set of Railroad-tie type stairs leading up from the cul-de-sac on Thousand Oaks Drive. Those stairs are the "steep dirt hill" in the main description- from here the directions follow the same. I'd also like to add that there are two switchbacks after you pass the fence- then the "dirt road" narrows to a trail. Soon afterwards you'll come to what looks like a campsite (it's not) where there are some left over railroad ties, then a short rocky section, and then very shortly afterwards it dumps you out into the drainage- make a right at the drainage and follow that to the couloir. I'd estimate the distances as about 1/4 mile to the gate- another 3/4 to the drainage, and then maybe 3/4 to 1 mile more to the couloir- which is maybe 1/2 to 1 mile itself (short but rocky).
There is no longer a "dirt road" in the approach. The trail is a nice, obvious singletrack. Matt's comments are still pretty accurate. Start up the railroad ties, then switchback up to the black gate, though there really isn't a need to "sneak" past it, no security cameras or anything. The trail goes around it up high. Follow the trail up two switchbacks to a small rocky section, then it dumps you into the couloir. Really easy. Casual pace 15 minutes to couloir.
It's worth noting that you do not continue straight on the trail for very long after the first direction switch toward climber's right. There is a signed junction with another trail that continues straight and level around the side of Mount Olympus; instead, at this junction you take the trail leading uphill and climber's left. It's currently marked with a sign (in the middle of the trail) that reads "Private Property, stay on trail". I misinterpreted this and thought it was just a spur trail to access someone's private property and continued straight on the signed trail, but realized my mistake and went back after 10 minutes of flat hiking and no other sign of the second switchback shown on the overview. This will take you to the railroad tie "bench" and from there to the rocky area and couloir.