| All Good 'n the Hood
Mt Hood, Oregon, from Timberline via the Hogsback and Pearly Gates, 6/19/2012
Crew: Brittany (mntbikerskierchick, "mbsc" in photo credits), Matt (pioletski)
7 miles, 5239' vertical
It seems that a few of our 14ers.com peeps have headed to the Cascade volcanoes this spring in search of the snow we never got in Colorado this winter, yielding a crop of juicy TRs: Aubrey on Mt Hood and Mt Shasta, Lordhelmut on Mt Shasta, Benners on Mt Rainier. My opportunity to contribute came courtesy of an invitation from Brittany, who was planning to ski Mt Shasta (TR to be added here) and wanted to extend her trip. One does not pass up an opportunity to join in the Peregrinations of the Purple Pants, so I planned to spend a week in that neighborhood; we would ski as much as the weather allowed in that time. As it turned out we had 3 great days, here is #1.
I flew in to Portland on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Rainy by Colorado standards that is; I imagine that Oregonians would consider it pretty bright. We hunkered down with some friends in Portland and watched the weather forecast deteriorate by the hour: rain in town, snow in the mountains. Juneuary, the Hood River locals call this month, apparently this happens a lot. This is why they drink so much beer in Oregon. We gave up on climbing Monday but headed out to Timberline Lodge to gather what information we could (very interesting place, I must add), then continued on to Hood River, planning an early start the next day.
Tuesday had looked great, but again the forecast seemed to slide in front of our eyes. Looking more closely, Brittany suggested that we should go for it but delay our start time. NOAA was still forecasting clearing weather, just a few hours later than anticipated. The snow should stay cold, it appeared, so as long as we found adequate visibility and stable snow we expected to be fine. This plan worked out brilliantly. We left Hood River at about 9:00 am and were greeted with this view of Hood (note the clouds still peeking over the west skyline, right side of the photo):
Climbs on this side begin in the Climbers' Cave at the Timberline ski lodge, where the various permit applications are filled out. Red tape is abundant in the PNW, though it is nice to have a facility with a 24-hour bathroom... Here we are gearing up for our 10 am not-quite-alpine start:
We set off in drizzle and fog but surrounded by a cloud of hope for better conditions higher up. Brittany's optimism was right on; the murk gave way to spectacular views (not to mention easy navigation) as we skinned up above about 9000 feet:
Just below Crater Rock we paused to change skins for crampons in bright sunshine:
Looking back, things still looked soupy down at Timberline:
We approached the landmarks of the Devil's Kitchen...
Crater Rock, Hogsback and the steaming fumaroles of Hot Rocks:
From the Pearly Gates we looked down on a sea of clouds...
and across at the crystalline rime-coated pillars...
and scrambled up the short steep (40 degree) choke...
to arrive at the summit:
Mt Adams to the north reared above the clouds but the other Cascade summits were not vislble:
One really nice payoff for our gamble with the weather: we had the summit to ourselves. I understand this is a rare treat, as it is with the 14ers at home.
Well, nothing to do now but ski back down!
Brittany below the Gates:
We skied back down into the fog...
as the mountain gradually disappeared behind us...
until we arrived back at Timberline Lodge, still shrouded in fog and sleet:
Thanks for reading!
Also a big thank-you to Deena and Rhodes in Portland (Rhodes was until recently a stalwart SAR volunteer in Vail), Dane and Rana in Hood River, and to Brittany for instigating a great adventure (and taking awesome pictures).
Link to Brittany's TR on 14erskier.com here!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):