| Warm spell on Mt Hood
While in the Portland area for a wedding I thought I'd squeeze in a climb on Mt. Hood.
The view from the plane was ever better than expected. Pro-tip: sit of the left side of the plane for Hood, right side for Rainer, Mt Saint Helens, and Adams.
Some things the other trip reports wont tell you:
Oregon Speed Limits are very low; 50-55 on most roads.
Oregon drivers, generally, are more likely to drive 5-10 under the speed limit than the actual limit.
The Timberline Lodge is 61 miles from the Portland Airport, but it will take you at least 2 hrs to get there. It's not the roads, it's the divers.
The Lodge parking lot was an all hours party for late season skiers/boarders car camping an the base of the resort.
My original plan was to get there early enough to hike to to the campsites above the Palmer lift and camp there. Following a later than planned arrival I opted to sleep in my car at the trailhead.
The trailhead is accessed from the parking lot. Look for a small sign reading "Climbers Trail" EAST of the final road slope up to the Timberline Lodge, opposite (north) the climbers lodge. At this point in the season the route was a narrow ribbon of snow snaking upward. The trail starts with a moderately steep pitch, and progressively grows steeper to the summit.
The view towards the Pearly Gates from just above the trailhead. A Snowcat can be seen preparing the slopes of the Timberline Ski Area at approximately 530am.
You hike along the Eastern edge of the resort until the terminus of the Palmer Lift.
East of the Palmer Lift:
I cut a path east of the hut and unclipped my crampons at the base of this rock slope. Two climbers can be seen ascending above me.
Atop the rock line you'll approach Devil's Kitchen, which will greet your arrival with the pungent smell of sulfur. Hike to the right of the large rock visable ahead. Keep the rock at climbers left and traverse above Devil's Kitchen to access the Hogsback. Due to the lateness, and unseasonable warmth, the trail along Devil's Kitchen was prone to post-holing.
The hogback can be seen below. Once on the hogback the snow firmness improved again:
The trail follows the hogback to the Bergschrund. In the photo above you can see the 'schrund (the large horizontal scar). It was open wide enough to make access to the Pearly Gates very difficult, so the Old Chute route was the better option at this point. Well formed trails plotted west to the Old Chute Route (which tops out upper left of photo). You can see the trail in the foreground descending into the Crater - and other just beneath the 'schrund. Because the crater area has been the site of multiple asphyxiations I elected not to descend into it, and opted to traverse along the 'schrund. Many successful summits were traveled through the crater that day.
This photo (snapped on the descent) is a good view of the Old Chute from the Hogsback:
One you top out on the Old Chute you're treated to splendid views of Adams, Rainer, and St. Helens. You'll never guess which one is St. Helens.
This photo looks down the Old Chute. A climbing party can be seen traversing the Hogsback. The Palmer lift is upper left.
The Old Chute accesses a very exposed catwalk that traverses above steep glaciers. This was definately a no-fall zone. I took a few minutes to soak in the view before I carefully made my way across the narrowest sections. As seen in this photo the route eventually widens- the top of the Old Chute route is hidden in the rocks in the background:
Turn around, for this view towards the summit:
Shortly before 10am I reached the summit. The wind was howling so I quickly ate, snapped a summit pic and began my descent.
After some spectacularly long and fun glissades in soft snow I reached returned to the trailhead shortly after 11:30am. Many of the other trip reports suggested this route would take significantly longer, but I found it to be a great morning out pondered what to do with the rest of my day.
Leaving Mt Hood, I drove 15 minutes to Trillium lake and enjoyed lunch with a view.
As for the rest of the day? Oregon drivers provided the answer.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):