Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain - via Mirror LakeDate:
I parked at Ski Bowl at 6am this morning with the goal of hiking to Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain via Mirror Lake, and skiing back to my car within the Ski Bowl resort. Ski Bowl doesn't allow uphill traffic so if you want to hike up you have to go via Mirror Lake and traverse the ridge to Tom, Dick, and Harry. I thought this tour would take me 3 hours but it took 5.75 hours instead. I had to break the trail the entire way and above Mirror Lake it was untracked and really deep, so my progress was really slow.
The weather was fog on top, and 23-28 degrees, but calm wind. Really, the weather was pretty desirable for this route because they had fresh deep and dry snow and because there was no wind. I was concerned about avalanche conditions, especially because I was solo. NWAC had announced a "Considerable" avalanche assessment for the Mt. Hood region, so I had promised myself to avoid steep terrain as much as possible. The trail passes through two slide paths, but to achieve my goal, I really could not avoid that section. Fortunately nothing bad happened there.
Here's what the trail looked like. I had to work hard to get through the deep snow and a lot of leaning trees.
I followed the Wind Creek Trail all the way from Mirror Lake to the top. The snow was too deep to try to shortcut the trail up anything steeper.
Here's my route:
At the top of the ridge, I ventured toward the edge to see if I could see Mirror Lake. My exact location is where you see the green dot to the left of the blue dot in the above trail map. To my surprise, I unintentionally walked on top of a small/medium size cornice on the north facing slope. I heard a boom and it caved with giant snow boulders the size of a small car. I was able to turn around quickly and catch myself so I didn't fall with it, but it was way too close for comfort! I'm pissed at myself for forgetting about NWAC's caution about wind loading. I saw rocks nearby so I thought I was on solid ground, but I definitely misjudged that.
Here's what the cornice and the slide debris looked like:
An hour or so later, I reached Ski Bowl's boundary, I skied back down inbounds, through light to medium heavy powder back to my car.
I'm glad I was finally able to do this circuit. I have tried to do it before but I always seemed to run out of time. On the other hand, I'm really f'ing pissed that I let myself get so close to disaster when I had deliberately intended to play the day conservatively.