Trip: Mount Hood - North Face Right Gully Solo Trip Date: 11/21/2020 Trip Report:
X-posted from PNW Mountaineers on FB for those not on there.
The gullies are in! Skied to the bergshrund with Evan and Andrew and then solo'd the R gully. Hardest climb I've done both physically and mentally, but it was so rad! Snow conditions in the gully were overall great, ice was fat (albeit a little brittle), and sticks were generous. Carried over skis and had a sunset ski down Old Chute back to Timberline with my quads telling me to go fuck myself the whole time. Evan and Andrew brought me a surprise burrito after driving back around, winning the most thoughtful and amazing climbing partner awards for at least the next year!
**Given the new snow starting today, this will be theoretically obsolete by the time the weather turns nice in a few days, but this week looks eerily similar to last week (little more wind), so shouldn't be too far off for the window next weekend.**
Skinnable snow from the trailhead Tilly Jane, pretty firm and tracked out and an easy skin to where we dropped onto the glacier. The descent onto the glacier was fairly rocky where we went down (about a hundred yards up from the cairn), but the smart move would have been to keep skinning up the ridge towards Cooper Spur and there were some great, rockless lines to ski which also would have cut off some down and up. The snow on the glacier was pretty deep so skis or snowshoes are mandatory, post-holing would have been up to the thighs or waist. Sticking to the left of the glacier avoided any obvious crevasses and those that were still open were mostly filled and only about 20 feet deep.
Just before the bergshrund, I punched through into what looked to be a fairly deep cathedral while I was testing a suspicious spot. The bergy was open but on the right it was less than a foot across, though the unconsolidated snow made for a tougher crossing for those heavier than about 200lb (gear included).
The L gully entrance was near vertical for probably 40m, but looked fat.
Also a few nice flows along the L cirque that looked to be in very climbable condition.
Once in the gully, the snow was overall waaaaay more ideal than the unconsolidated Eliot had made us think it would be. For the first 2/3, I was able to kick in enough to have a platform to the arch or my foot or heel, but it was consolidated enough that the kicked steps fully supported my weight. There were some areas where I had to find the certain line that was consolidated enough, but it was never difficult and rarely had to move more than a few feet to either side. Towards the top, it got steeper and less consolidated and I was swimming for the last five hundred desperate feet to the summit. The last step (staying R after cathedral rock) was super thin with some mixed moves and I was way to gassed to feel safe on it, so traversed to the left and topped out at the top of the L gully. Check out the pics for descriptions of the three steps I got on. Summited about thirty minutes before the sun set and enjoyed a ski down in the twilight and then dark, quads screaming at me the entire time. The snow in Old Chute was fantastic and I was able to find at least a few inches of powder the entire way back to the lot.
First step, WI3+. 25-30m. Took the line just to the right of the snow (60-70 degrees) and then traversed over the bulge to the right (a few vertical moves) to stay on the water ice.
From the top of the first step looking at a small AI2 step before entering the main snowfield. Don't think this is typically ice.
Main snowfield with the third step (2nd?) in the distance.
Steps were kickable, post-holing wasn't bad, and made for easy rests through the main section.
Third step, WI/AI3+, 25-30m. Some sections of water and some alpine ice with great sticks throughout. Again, 2-3 vertical or near vertical moves.
Third step, beginning was about 60 degrees before becoming more vertical.
Final snowfield before cutting left to the L gully. To the R of the buttress is the final ice step, was so burnt that I forgot to take pics of that step.
Second favorite Hood summit (proposing to my fiance has to take the cake).
Last light halfway down hogsback, great snow.
12:25:41 Tilly Jane to Timberline
7300 ft ascent
5410 ft descent
Max speed 49.4 mph
Gear Notes: Skis, glacier rope, two North Machines Approach Notes: See TR.