Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

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lazy climber
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by lazy climber »

So we have weather problems here in the PNW, the joke is that summer does not start till after the fourth of July, fortunately the trail heads for these three hills are alway open so access to the climbs are available.

The following comments are my opinion only, others will have different views. It sounds like you are new at this so will stick to the tourist routes on these hills.

Hood has good climbing from Late October thru the first of June, but for the beginner and someone traveling here to climb I would stick to Late May early June and do the Hogs back / south climb. The down side with climbing past the first of June is that snow conditions get poor and the route can be crowded. The last time I climbed it last season ( early June) I counted 70 plus people on the Hogs back and standard route, needless to say I did a different route. The other problem we have had the last several years is that the snow is coming in late ( April, May and june) so weather can be a problem, also this year the Bergscrund opend up really big, you could have put a house in it so it did limit access to the upper routes. The other issue it seems like the snow has been lower so the upper routes are a bit steep and icy. If you are comfortable with spikes, axe and steep slopes you can do HOOD unguided, however if you want to email me I can give you the latest conditions and depending on my schedule I would consider going up the hill with you. Hood may be only 11250 feet but has about 5200 foot of gain so can be a hard hike.

Shasta:

Kind of the same problems as Hood, their weather has really been strange the last few years, the ridge routes are getting blown free of snow fairly early and for a beginner I would not reccommend them as they are steep and can be exposed. The west face is OK but a long 45-50 degree slope to climb. The north side routes are a bit of a hike in, glaciated and not many people on them. Stick to the AVY Gulch route, not very exciting but straight forward. Shasta has a 8K gain in elevation so is a long hike.

Too late inthe season and Shasta is just a big rock pile, not much fun. The weather can be bad, cold and very high winds so it is a crap shoot on climbing, you never know.
Hood and Shasta can be climbed without guides, if you are somewhat of a newbie you should do these hils with someone who has some experience and maybe has done them.

Rainier is a really big hill, go with someone who has been or go with a guides group, may june and july are all good times and the weather starts to settle down bu July so you chances are better.

You could do Hood solo, Shasta solo if you do the AVY Gulch route and are comfortable being on a big hill by yourself, there wil lbe lots of people on the hill at the same time, Rainer you cannot do solo legally witout a prior permit, which they very seldom give out and as a newbie you could not get one or want one.

I live here so if we drive to of those hills( 1.5 hours to Hood, 3 to Rainier and 6 to Shasta) and the weather goes bad it was just a road trip, they will be there next week

Like I said, feel free to email me if you want local conditions
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jwagner
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by jwagner »

Mt. Hood is the only one I've done. Unguided and totally a blast. I can say it was one of the harder summits i've done and we did it January 2014. Hogsback to the Old Chute which was around 50-55 degree solid snow/ice. Ice Axe swung overhead was only able to pierce about a half an inch. Super solid and super fun. You need to know several ice axe techniques in these conditions. Winter ascent= no crowds- we saw 2 other people actually climbing the mountain. We were the first to summit. Started at 1:00am at the parking lot and summited at 7:00am. It was a solid sheet of ice from the parking lot to the top.

I'm not sure what others would say, but i would recommend doing it in the winter. The rock fall danger is gone ( although a golf ball size chunk of ice hit my helmet on the way down) and the ice fall doesn't start until the sun starts warming it up. Also great is the solid ice/snow bridge across the burgschrund at the top.

The best time to train for snow like that is early spring in the early morning when its solid. Winter snow here in colorado is too dry and unconsolidated.


I'm jealous brother! If you get all 3 of those summits next year that will be awesome. We are heading up Ranier in a year or so then Denali in a few. Good luck!
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mtn_nut
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by mtn_nut »

I did the Emmons route unguided this July and wrote it up here - http://www.trailgroove.com/issue17.html?autoflip=15" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I thought it was awesome, and i can't wait to go back to the NW to climb some more volcanoes (Shasta will probably be next for me, hopefully next year)
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spiderman
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by spiderman »

Every time I had tried Hood, we got dumped on with multiple feet of snow. Finally we got tired of flying to Oregon and getting defeated. We took the Palmer Lift up the first half, hiked another 800 vertical feet, and pitched a tent in some obvious sites below the crater. We were the first ones up the next day, beating the hordes of incompetent fools. Many of them had never put on crampons before. The maximum slope of the Old Chute is probably closer to 40 degrees. There was about 50 feet of icy snow near the top but the rest was trivial. The 'schrund was approximately 6 feet deep. I would treat it as a snow climb instead of a glacier ascent.

Shasta we did from the Clear Creek direction; nice and gentle as a 2-day stroll. Rainier has a surprisingly nice highway going up it if the weather conditions are good. That is necessary considering how many incompetent noobs get dragged up it each summer by the guides. Arthur was 10 at the time and thought that it was fun except getting stuck behind a slow party on the Cleaver. Looking back at that climb after recently doing Mt. Columbia (Alberta), Rainier was amazingly tame.


Next summer we are heading up some NW volcanoes: Baker, Adams, S. Sister, et al. Let me know if anyone is interested in joining us. \:D/
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Mike Shepherd
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by Mike Shepherd »

The north ridge of baker has interested me for a while. It's part of the reason I want to climb a bunch of ice this fall/winter/spring, I currently don't know anyone who can safely lead a 70' - 100' section of AI3/4 so my hope is to lead that section when I do it. We'll be looking at Baker for mid june or later, around the time snow season will be winding down here...
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wineguy
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by wineguy »

I've been on Rainier guided, Mt. Hood solo, and one failed attempt on Shasta (twisted my knee a little in the slush down low, and didn't want to continue with injury). I agree with the consensus so far, without experience you probably want a guide on Rainier, and don't need one on Shasta. Hood falls somewhere in the middle. The difficulty of Hood depends on the conditions. I went up the Mt. Hood's Old Chute route on May 6, 2013 and the conditions were a little icy on the steepest part, definitely kept me focused. I couldn't drive the shaft of my axe into the snow, so had to use the pick. Still, overall a great climb. A big surprise for me was how few people were on the mountain. Only one other person on the summit when I got there, and he left before me so I had the summit to myself. I'm guessing only 6-8 people summited that day. If that is typical for early in the season I'd recommend going earlier than June if your schedule allows. It was a Monday and the snow-cat didn't run, so that may have been one reason for the low traffic. I didn't see any guided groups that day.

I'm always a big fan of going unguided when possible. Much more satisfying. You need to get out and play with ice axe and crampons, they are not rocket science, but just something to get comfortable with. Maybe try unguided first, and plan on turning around if you are uncomfortable. Can always go with a guide later.
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lazy climber
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by lazy climber »

Just a few comments on some of the latest postings. Depending on what snow we get this season ( and the rumor is that it is going to be a good year) a lot of trail heads are not open till mid July. The North Cascade climbs are a bit remote and the roads do not get cleared very well, which can add several miles of hiking just to get to the trail heads. It would be best to call the local ranger Stations to see what road and trail conditions may be or at least be prepared for longer approaches.

I may have mentioned it but last year the bergscrund opened big enough to put a small house in it, I have never seen it that big. Who knows if it will fill in or remain somewhat open, really does not matter much as you can go around either end to the old chute or toward the Pearly Gates.

Some one mentioned climbing Hood in the winter ( my favorite time to climb it) but the weather is iffy and traveling out here just in hopes of getting a weather window to climb is really pushing your luck. If you are coming out for other easons bring your gear just in case.
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tlongpine
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by tlongpine »

Did Hood via the Old Chute unguided in the first week of July a couple years ago. Full report here: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepor ... m=tripuser" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I am unable to walk away from the mountain without climbing it. An unclimbed mountain tugs at my consciousness with the eternal weight of time itself. Until I've pressed my face into it's alpine winds, hugged it's ancient granite walls, and put it's weathered summit beneath my heal I'm unable to resist it's attraction.Knowing nature gives the mountain more time than she gives us adds urgency to the obsession. As has been said before; the mountain doesn't care.

It can wait forever. I cannot.
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climbing_rob
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by climbing_rob »

I've climbed all three unguided, Rainier many times, so here are my thoughts, kinda right in line with what has been said:

Shasta, no problem, just basic self-arrest skills (which you won't need in all likelihood) and get comfortable climbing very moderate snow with crampons. Gorgeous peak, really enjoyed it, pretty much the highlight of this year, we did the clear creek route Memorial day weekend. I'd go back in a second to climb this again. you can climb it virtually snow free late in the summer, but much easier and probably safer earlier on moderate snow.

Hood: no real crevasse danger encountered, but it does get pretty darn steep near the top on the Old Shute route (pearly gates were, er, closed when we climbed it). I'd be VERY comfortable on steeper snow before climbing this on unguided, or just place some protection if you have those skills.

Rainier: climbed it many times, but always by the Emmons route, where if you don't have a lot of instruction on crevassed terrain skills, such as roped team travel and crevasse rescue, I would be hesitant to climb it unguided. In many ways it is an easy route, but it is a very dangerous route to those without proper skills and equipment.

those are my thoughts, enjoy and be safe!
jayess72
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by jayess72 »

Sad2,
The decision about guided vs unguided on Rainier may have been made for you already: the 3 main permitted guide services (RMI, AAI, IMG) are all totally booked up according to their websites. Even other services I checked that have one-time use permits (Timberline, etc.) are full. So I hope you've either already made your reservations, or you should find a more experienced team to attempt it with. We are a 3-man team with previous experience, just none on Rainier and are in the same boat. So if any soloists w/ Rainier experience want to join our team, get in touch.
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jchapell
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by jchapell »

jayess72 wrote:Sad2,
The decision about guided vs unguided on Rainier may have been made for you already: the 3 main permitted guide services (RMI, AAI, IMG) are all totally booked up according to their websites. Even other services I checked that have one-time use permits (Timberline, etc.) are full. So I hope you've either already made your reservations, or you should find a more experienced team to attempt it with. We are a 3-man team with previous experience, just none on Rainier and are in the same boat. So if any soloists w/ Rainier experience want to join our team, get in touch.

Don't worry, spots open up throughout the next couple months with each company.
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sad2
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Re: Mt. Hood/Shasta/Rainier 2015

Post by sad2 »

Thank you both for the additional information.
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