Mount Hood, OR


An exciting climb of Mt. Hood on Mariel's 25th birthday.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

We spent Mother's day on the freeway, driving to Hood River. We drove straight to our favorite place, Full Sail Brewing, where we met Brian. Darkness on Mt. Hood

Then we all drove up to Timberline Lodge, famous for being the site for "The Shining." I think Jack Nicholson's character may still be an employee there, but that's another story.

We arrived at about 3PM and wandered about, looking at the lodge and having cocktails while waiting for our room to become available.

Darkness on Mt. Hood
The lodge really is impressive. This picture shows the workmanship of one of the massive columns adjacent to our table in the bar, with marks showing that it was hand-hewn. Julie took this picture just for Boozie. Darkness on Mt. Hood

We finally got checked in to our room. This shot was taken out the room window.

Then we had dinner at the lodge, Brian went swimming (recommended) and we all went briefly to sleep, only to arise at 1:30 the next morning.

Darkness on Mt. Hood

We were on the route at about 2:15, groggy but not cold. There was just a very slight breeze and it was quite warm, perhaps mid-30s. However, the snow was firm so we were off. It seemed like we were going slow, but we averaged right around 1000' per hour.

When we reached the traverse cat track at the top of the Palmer, we turned off our headlamps and put on our crampons. Time for some caffeine (check out Julie's hand, not to mention her eyes).

Darkness on Mt. Hood


Here's me and my girls (well, not all of them) with Illumination Rock in the background as the sun starts to come up.

Darkness on Mt. Hood

Julie wasn't feeling well, so she was the tail of the group. But here she is on Triangle Moraine, still moving at 1000' per hour. After a mental struggle in the dark, the climb was starting to be fun.

The sky was clear, there was very little wind, and the temperature remained mild. Nice, firm snow made the going relatively easy.

Darkness on Mt. Hood

Above Triangle Moraine, the route traverses under Crater Rock. This picture shows the view from the traverse, with the hogsback and the Pearly gates.

The route is lightly dashed in red, going up the left chute of the Pearly Gates. I had not done this before, so was a little curious and nervous about what we might find there.

Dark on the hogsback

We hit the hogsback at about 6:30 and roped up. As we prepared, we watched an elderly gentleman (and at this point in our lives, "elderly" means really old) pick his way down from the Pearly Gates, cautiously move down the hogsback, and grab his pack from near where we were standing. He stated that we were doing it right by putting on a rope.

That made some of our group happy, and others nervous.

But we were soon off up the hogsback. We wanted to get moving to avoid a traffic jam, as others were coming behind us.

Dark on the hogsback

The route we chose was the left chute of the standard Pearly Gates. When we got there, two guys with ice screws and pickets were belaying up. After some time, their leader turned around and came back down. When the guys with the gear retreated (we had no gear) Julie's eyes went the size of saucers.

While this was going on, Brian and I were having a quiet consultation, trying not to be overheard by the two guys. We didn't think the chute looked that bad, but didn't know how long they were going to take. We considered trying the normal, right-hand Pearly Gates route, immediately behind us in this picture. But as you can see, it looked quite a bit steeper.

The traverse of the crater rim

When the guy got down from the chute, Brian took off while I belayed him. It was good to get moving because we were all getting cold from standing around, and I was nervous about being directly underneath a large ice mushroom hanging about 30 feet up the cliff side. As Brian disappeared around the corner, Mariel followed, and then it was Julie's turn.

The traverse of the crater rim

The blue-colored section under Julie is blue ice. As the day went on, the appearance of this section caused quite a few parties to turn around. And trying to climb it turned around those first two. But Julie and Mariel cruised it in style.

Brain and Gugi with Mt. Jefferson in the backghround

After the narrow, icy chute, the snow slope above it opens up and the angle eases. This is looking down, back at the top of the chute.

The summit of Mt. Hood

Turning uphill, we were now very close to the summit. Julie wanted to take a break, but I explained to her that we were less than 5 minutes from the summit. That seemed to make her happy.

The shadow of Mt. Hood

The summit was sunny and windless. We dropped our packs (well, not really- you have to anchor everything so it doesn't slide off) and our helmets and enjoyed the views.

Behind us, you can see one of the more intrepid climbers who turned around in front of us at the Pearly Gates. He instead went around and climbed the Old Chute, so here he is completing the traverse of the summit ridge.

Starting down the old chute

After some food and watching another group summit, it was time to head down- the day was warming up fast and we didn't want to be there when things really started melting.

Steps on the descent

Backing down through the ice was a little exciting, but here Mariel is relaxed after coming around the corner at the bottom of the chute.

Further down the descent
We clomped down the hogsback and did an equipment change, removing ropes and harnesses. The hogsback and some climbers

The upper mountain was still frozen, so we had to walk the first portion of the descent. But once we got back to the Palmer, things were softening nicely and we got in some great glissading on the custom glissading mats that I had built. In order, that is Julie, Mariel, and Brian sliding down the Palmer.

We got back to the lodge right about noon, and beat feet for home.

Below Crater Rock

Mr. Natural Home | 2007 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski