Trip: Mt Hood - South - Hogsback/Old Chute
Given the clouds & downpours the day before and rapidly changing forecast we weren't sure how conditions would be for a summit bid. We were surprisingly pleased.
Started from the lot at 1:30am, the snow was firm and there were so many people already ahead of us that there were boot tracks to step in much of the way to the top of the Palmer.
We put our crampons on at that point & began hiking with Axes as well. Snow was absolutely perfect for cramponing. Just below the Hogsback there was a flat spot where we roped up. Due to the warm temps and size of the bergschrund we figured we would head up the old chutes, and that is exactly where the most established route was. There were quite a few people ahead of us, and at the top of the chute we climbed there many climbers not making progress & blocking the way. Frustrating, but holiday weekend climbing at its best I suppose. Upper route was definitely steep & icy.
Once above the chute there was a narrow exposed traverse over to the summit that was clogged with traffic. We skirted past most of the people, and made the summit around 8:30am. It was windy but not near as windy as we had expected. Snapped a few pics and rested a bit before starting the trek back down.
Decided to go down a different chute then we had climbed up, due to the numerous amounts of people (once again) standing, roped together, and not moving. Down climbed the chute and then traversed back towards the hogsback. At that point we were approached by a man on his phone behind us talking about a man in his group that fell. Since my boyfriend is an EMT we asked a few questions and headed down to the hogsback to assist with the rescue. Portland Mountain Rescue was on the scene shortly after and started asking for more people to assist in the rescue effort.
It turned out, due to the extent of the climber's injuries, extreme caution was needed to get him out of the fumarole/crevasse. The amount of climbers that volunteered with the effort, handed over ropes, pickets, and helped out was absolutely amazing . One guy even removed the bindings from his snowboard in case PMR needed to use it for spinal immobilization. I'm not sure what time the climber was finally lifted out, but it was at least 3 hours later. We headed down sometime after that. Snow was soft & slushy but we were able to glissade for much of it...AWESOME!! On the way down we saw the Blackhawk helicopter come in to airlift the man off the mountain. The entire operation was incredible.
Hit the parking lot around 2:30pm and it was full of news reporters. We managed to avoid being interviewed, but being up there when such an accident occurs definitely reminds us that climbing is a dangerous sport. No matter how much experience one has or how perfect the conditions seem, you can never be too careful.
Rope, ice axes, crampons, helmets.
(Not used: 2 pickets each & 2 screws each. Prussiks, pulleys, & crevasse rescue gear.)