Ascent to Mount Hood-Bergstrund on 2012-09-16

Climber: Drew Gajan

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, September 16, 2012
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Mount Hood - Bergstrund
    Elevation:10571 ft / 3222 m
    Remaining Elevation:668 ft / 203 m (12% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

Attempted a late off-season climb up Mount Hood's southern route after fires closed planned Mount Adams ascent. There is a good reason why August and September are very off season on Mt. Hood. The bottom half of the southern slope was sand and gravel moraine that, while the % grade is not substantial, is tiring to slog through. The snowfields started halfway between the Silcox Hut and the top of the Palmer chairlift, I donned my crampons and started making better time. However, the glaciers are very pocked at this time of year and made the ascent a bit more difficult. Had to move between ice pack and moraine fields often, with the moraine being fairly unstable. Met a 2 person team at the base of the Hogsback who had turned around at the Bergstrund. I made my way up to the Bergstrund and it was not good. The crevasse was gaping and additional parallel crevasses had opened up right and left of the headwall. I sat there for 15 minutes contemplating routes including a) moving right and scrambling up the rock around the Bergstrund, then regaining the chute up the Pearly Gates - I eventually rejected this due to the notoriously bad rock on the right side; b) picking my way left around the Bergstrund, then regaining the chute up to the Pearly Gates - I rejected this option as the slope above the Bergstrund was pretty narrow, the ice was getting soft, and I had no desire to fall into the Bergstrund; and finally c) pick my way through the opening crevasses, swing left (West) around Crater Rock, and take the steeper approach via Wy'East - I rejected this primarily because I felt tired from slogging for 6 hours through poor approach footing, degrading ice(the longer than expected approach put me at the Bergstrund later than I anticipated), and anticipation of how poor the downclimb conditions could be as a solo climber. I decided to call it quits and consider it a good prep for my upcoming Mount Rainier climb later this week. Met another 2 person team coming up the base of the Hogsback, they asked my opinion (which I laid out as above), they concurred and turned around. I'll be back to Mt. Hood, but it will be in the May/June timeframe next time!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4714 ft / 1436 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12 mi / 19.3 km
    Route:Palmer Glacier/Crater Rock
    Trailhead:Timberline Lodge  5857 ft / 1785 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:6 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 

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