Ascent of Mount Hood on 2012-07-27

Climber: Brian Friedrich

Others in Party:Laura Friedrich
Date:Friday, July 27, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Hood
    Elevation:11239 ft / 3425 m

Ascent Trip Report

We started from the parking lot at Timberline Lodge at around 1:00AM and found the snowpack to be very firm all the way up. The route was easy to follow, particularly once you're higher up and the night starts to give way to dawn. A couple of parties reached the decision point between the Pearly Gates and Old Chute route - all opted for the Old Chute as the bergschrund was already quite wide and a "companion" crevasse had formed on the right and below the 'schrund. Above these slots, the rockfall hazard looked to be more of a concern and the snow cover was scant - definitely looks as though this option is now out-of-season (not impossible, of course, just undesirable).

We ascended the Old Chute variation by traversing left slightly under the bergschrund and then straight up to the ridgecrest. Most parties ascending/descending today backed off the final summit ridge climb because of the somewhat exposed traverse at the top. It was about 2-5 feet wide, with significant exposure if you should lose your footing, but does not involve any technical climbing. Parties without a fair amount of mountain/scrambling/exposed snow experience would be recommended to bring a rope (and know how to climb with one, of course) - this goes for the Old Chute (a longish face climb with a nasty runout) as well as the summit ridge traverse.

After spending about an hour on the summit - to ourselves, which was surprising for such a popular peak - we reversed our ascent route. The one exception was dropping off the summit ridge all the way down to the fumarole that abuts Crater Rock - this was deemed a little faster (and safer) than traversing back over toward the bergschrund. The only other notable issues on the descent were i) the amount of rockfall - thankfully on walls not close to us (other than a big boulder coming down the Old Chute from one of the neighboring pinnacles, so be careful!), and ii) just how incredibly soft the snow down toward the lifts and lodge had become - like walking through a Slurpee!

In any event, a very fun day trip that will help us acclimate for a couple of Montana and Wyoming objectives this week (our ascent time reflects way(!) too many consecutive days spent at sea level lately and needing to huff and puff our way up).
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5282 ft / 1610 m
    Distance:6.8 mi / 11 km
    Route:South Side - Old Chute
    Trailhead:Timberline Lodge  5957 ft / 1815 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2+ snow
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:6 Hours 52 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 5 Minutes

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