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Sir Crikalot

Thoughts on Hood South Side...

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I recently moved to Portland, and I gotta say, what a great area! Before moving here, I had no idea Hood was so visible from the city! Which has got me thinking...

 

I have Friday off before school in the evening and am playing with the idea of a summit up the Old Chute before class. Being new to mountaineering in general and new to the area, I am wondering what thoughts this community has on an early season summit idea. Particularly, what opinions people have relating current and past weather to stability of the mountain, as well as other factors that may come into play for early season climbs that would be worth mentioning.

 

Here is a link to previous weather and forcasted weather for Hood to get a glimpse at temperatures/precipitation.

 

Sept. 26tth - Oct. 1st

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Timberline/hindcasts/2017-09-26/top

 

Oct. 3rd - Oct. 7th

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Timberline/hindcasts/2017-10-02/top

 

Oct. 9th -Oct. 14th

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Timberline/6day/top

 

 

If you're interested in joining, feel free to send me a PM as well!

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I think rock fall would be a serious issue. I personally would wait until the mountain gets a lot more snow and it has time to consolidate.

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I agree with DPS. You can also see on the T-Line webcam that the bergschrund is still gaping. The upper area looks like it got just enough snow to dust things and maybe cover over any open cracks, but not fill them in. If there's a big snow dump and the whole mountain gets covered, you could probably go in a month or two without too much to worry about.

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So I want to make sure I am understanding clearly...

 

The danger in rockfall is not something that can be mitigated necessarily by 1) climbing in cold weather and 2) after two-ish freeze thaw cycles w/ perhaps a foot of snow.

 

I'm asking because I am trying to get a sense of what conditions would seem to suggest a reduction in rock fall danger, perhaps a checklist of sorts to determine a go/no go on climbing a route in regards to rockfall.

 

What I am seeing in the updated forecast is about two feet of snow leading up to Friday, as well freezing conditions throughout that time. What thought processes would someone with greater experience go through with this information?

 

Thanks for the reply's and wisdom!

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I personally would not want to see any rocks, just snow and ice. If there are rocks peeking through, in my mind there is not enough snow. You don't want to climb on frozen rocks. Better than unfrozen rocks, but still not ideal. Be patient and wait for more snow so then you will only have to worry about avalanches.

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What I am seeing in the updated forecast is about two feet of snow leading up to Friday, as well freezing conditions throughout that time. What thought processes would someone with greater experience go through with this information?

 

From the quote above it sounds like 2 feet of fresh is brought up as a good thing... which I can understand if you're worried mostly about rocks and wanting them buried. Note that 2 feet of snow is a lot, and would almost certainly make avy risk rather untenable. In general spring is a somewhat easier time for summitting since the snowpack has consolidated, is deep, and avy danger is generally lower and predictable... since the dangers are usually associated with daily changes... sun warming surface layers etc. Winter, and its snowpack of various layers, can be much more complicated. NWAC forecasts don't apply above Palmer on Hood. Not to say that reading the forecast doesn't help, but one needs to extrapolate for those areas outside the forecast zones, and that can only be done with a good background of avy knowledge. Good luck and be safe.

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hood's like a hot chick - worth taking your time, getting to know her good n' proper, before making the big move, then after you've climbed on top of her a good number of times, you get a much better idea of what you're doing and increase yours odds of being able to do so indefinitely from then on after :)

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Here are some resources which collectively make for a pretty good picture of what weather is headed towards the NW at any given point in time. Taken together they can give you a good feel for exactly what's out in the Pacific all the way to Asia. It's particularly worth noting the jetstream forecast to see how strong it's going to be, if it's going to be sitting right on top of us, and if it's likely to be dragging along any bad weather with it if it is.

 

In general it's good to know how big your weather window is likely to be before heading out as, for all the people that get up and down it safe, Hood has a long history of being pretty unforgiving to folks who've run into trouble while trying to sneak in a go with a 18-36 hour weather window and one storm after another lined up all the way to Japan.

 

Take note the 'Stormsurfing' site is for surfers, so you have to read through the surfing/wave aspects of what they put out - BUT - these folks carefully watch weather events across the NW Pacific as far out as Siberia and it is well worth paying close attention to what they are saying about incoming storms.

 

Intellicast Pacific Infrared Sat Loop

 

Stormsurfing - Pacific Storm Forecast

 

Stormsurfing - North Pacific Surface Pressure and Wind

 

Stormsurfing - North Pacific Jet Stream Wind and 250 mb Pressure

 

Intellicast - US Jetstream

 

National Center for Atmospheric Research - Forecasts

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Being new to the area and to mtneering my suggestion is that if you are jonesing to check out Hood is to got for a walk about up the hill to Illumination Saddle. As Ivan says get to know some of her contours. Some will lead to places you do not want to visit like those who have head down from the summit in a whiteout and walked off ZigZag headwall.

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Welcome to the area dude! I admire your cowboyish inclinations to figure this out yourself.

 

I highly recommend you spend a few hours combing through trip reports through all seasons. You might notice certain patters, like the rarity of October reports.

 

When you go, the singly most important thing is for you to be willing to turn back when things get stupid. I made six solo attempts before finally getting up there, in a mess of AMS, and my own cowboyishness has a way of unsettling others.

 

I haven't observed rockfall in early snow, but I'd be surprised if it's worse than late July (when there is still much climbing). I'd be most scared of poking into a poorly covered crevasse, and there will be many in unusual/unexpected places this time of year. The slopes are also more slopey, and even in optimal conditions the Old Chute is unsettlingly steep for most noobs.

 

I hate to say it since going with the flow is so lame, but if you want to be safe your best bet is to go when there are a lot of others present, not only because you probably aren't all making the same mistake (ha), but also because if something happens you will be immediately helped.

 

Happy climbing!

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I appreciate all of the sage words of wisdom. I just got back from hiking the length of the PCT this year (and walking up to Illumination saddle to observe some rockfall on the way through). After spending a considerable amount of time in the Sierra Nevada range, I suppose I'm a bit eager to get after it...

 

 

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Thanks for keeping some accountability in the avy department, alpine et. I didn't want to bring that up and muddle my original question, but it is something I was keeping observations on as well.

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hood's like a hot chick - worth taking your time, getting to know her good n' proper, before making the big move, then after you've climbed on top of her a good number of times, you get a much better idea of what you're doing and increase yours odds of being able to do so indefinitely from then on after :)

 

This is as good as advice as any. I ended up doing some ski touring Friday instead (and skiis on from the parking lot at that...in October!) and got a good taste of what disorientation can really look like when conditions are white out... another bit of experience to add to the arsenal

 

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I appreciate all of the sage words of wisdom. I just got back from hiking the length of the PCT this year (and walking up to Illumination saddle to observe some rockfall on the way through). After spending a considerable amount of time in the Sierra Nevada range, I suppose I'm a bit eager to get after it...

 

 

congrats! not an easy year if you were behind the fires. Hope you got to see goat rocks in good condition, if you hadn't previously.

 

AT ~thru hiker, a decade ago.. since you tour it sounds like you've got a fair bit of shiessa down, so don't take this as talking down at all. Just, I know the feeling of having finished a hike, the shape you're in, save any nagging injuries, but if you finished they're not too bad. At least for me and in my observations of others, there's a kind of bounding confidence after that's both an actualization of higher self and a bit of hubris. I swear on the hike you're continually churning some hiker karma and it gets drawn down as it's needed. Anyways, I've seen a fair share of hikers take this same... intensity and perseverance and apply it to climbing, as greenhorns. It often strikes me as somewhat out of place, even though I understand it. I guess, overserving its purpose, if anything.

 

sorry for the ramble. There can be some fantastic and stable climbing in the midst of winter, dec-jan-feb. Avy a consideration oft less of a factor than expected, esp up to the hogsback, in my experience.

 

threading windows this time of year can be real gamble. half the climb window, and quadruple your climb time, then assess.

 

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hood's like a hot chick - worth taking your time, getting to know her good n' proper, before making the big move, then after you've climbed on top of her a good number of times, you get a much better idea of what you're doing and increase yours odds of being able to do so indefinitely from then on after :)

 

This is as good as advice as any. I ended up doing some ski touring Friday instead (and skiis on from the parking lot at that...in October!) and got a good taste of what disorientation can really look like when conditions are white out... another bit of experience to add to the arsenal

good to hear - if you haven't got an altimeter yet, it's worth it - hood for whatever reason is pretty simple to deal with in whiteout on the south and north sides if you can fix your altitude (don't even need the full gps-deal)

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