Ascent of Mount Hood on 2013-06-15

Climber: BMS 914

Others in Party:Collin Kamholz
Joseph K
Date:Saturday, June 15, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Hood
    Elevation:11239 ft / 3425 m

Ascent Trip Report

Collin and I flew into Portland from Las Vegas, arriving later than expected at around 10:15 PM. Our original plan had been to fly Friday, hang out on Saturday, then head to Timberline Lodge in time for a start around midnight Sunday morning, then fly out Sunday evening. But the tricky aspect of Cascade volcanoes seems to consistently be getting acceptable weather, and the forecast was showing possible thunderstorms for Saturday after 11:00 AM on into Sunday.

Undeterred, we picked up Joseph at the regional airport, as he had flown his own plane in from Cedar City, UT. So after a quick stop for some supplies, we drove out to the lodge for an early Saturday morning start.

As expected, the parking lot was a flurry of activity at 12:45 AM, with climbers starting for the summit, or getting ready for a bid like we were. I noticed a few puddles of vomit, apparently someone was getting off to a rough start! After joking about it to Collin, turns out HE was the one puking, the unfortunate byproduct of either nerves or his decision to end his self-imposed caffeine moratorium with a double shot of Five Hour Energy; he wasn't sure which.

After filing out the requisite permit, we started out on the Palmer Glacier at 2:00 AM, an hour or so later than we would have preferred. Joseph was wearing his AT skis, shuffling along easily in the darkness with his skins attached. The snow was torn up by the Snowcat, and awkward to walk on. We made good time, though my legs were still feeling the Tahoe Relays (running race) from the prior weekend. Collin seemed fine after the nausea troubles in the parking lot.

At length we reached the end of the Snowcat area, and the choppy path gave way to the boot prints of climbers above. A steady conga line of headlamps snaked their way up the mountain in the darkness. The boot prints proved a major boon to my calves and injured Achilles tendon, as they were like little flat spots that weren't hurting the tendon. At last I started moving well as dawn broke. It was cold, mid twenties, which is a good thing on Hood as it falls apart when it gets above freezing. None of the major icefall problems from my trip last July were a concern this time: the weather was ideal.

As we approached The Hogsback, it became clear that overcrowding was a major issue. There were 80-100 people ahead of us, nearly all heading for our chosen route (the Old Chute). After some debate, we cut right just below the bergschrund, and made for the Pearly Gates route instead. We could see one three person party nearing the Gates (so way ahead of us), with seemingly everyone else going to the Old Chute or Old Crater routes. The route proved steep and exposed near the bergschrund, but better that than risking getting taken out by unanchored rope teams of novices falling on us in the chute (or them knocking stuff down on us, which is almost inevitable).

After summiting, things had thinned out a bit, so for fun we opted to descend the Old Chute. Few were descending at this point, and all of them were taking a variant to the west that was more moderate; so our group had the Chute to ourselves. We were able to descend without incident, and Joseph got ahead and just used his skis to beat us to the parking lot by over an hour. Collin and I made some protracted glissades, marred for me by the loss of my second ice axe when a connecting cable on my pack broke somewhere. Collin ended up with a friction blister on his tailbone that I refused to treat for him. Some things are best left to medical professionals after all! The snow on the lower mountain, torn up by the Snowcat tracks and previously frozen, was now a lot like a giant unflavored Slurpie, and was frustratingly slow going once it got too soft to glissade.

An Ice Axe IPA at the Timberline Lodge capped the end of a great day. We all headed to a motel near the airport in Portland to crash at around 2:45 PM for a long, well-deserved nap! Collin was so tired he fell asleep at a red light in Gresham, which was a problem since he was driving the rental car.

Joseph flew out the next morning while Collin and I stopped at Fire on the Mountain Buffalo Wings for lunch and beers at the Widmer Bros taphouse. Both are highly recommended!

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5355 ft / 1631 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5355 ft / 1631 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.4 mi / 11.9 km
    Grade/Class:Grade I, AI2
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow Climb, Glacier Climb, Ice Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Headlamp, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Clear
Clear and cold, perfect for Hood
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5350 ft / 1630 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5349 ft / 1630 m; Extra: 1 ft / 0m
    Loss on way in:1 ft / 0 m
    Distance:3.8 mi / 6.1 km
    Route:South Side - Pearly Gates
    Start Trailhead:Timberline Lodge  5890 ft / 1795 m
    Time:5 Hours 57 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5354 ft / 1631 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 5349 ft / 1630 m; Extra: 5 ft / 1m
    Gain on way out:5 ft / 1 m
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.8 km
    Route:South Side - Old Chute
    End Trailhead:Timberline Lodge  5890 ft / 1795 m
    Time:2 Hours 39 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by BMS 914
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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