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[TR] Mt Hood - Not Yocum Ridge (New Variation) 02/10/2018


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Trip: Mt Hood - Not Yocum Ridge (New Variation)

Trip Date: 02/10/2018

Trip Report:


I had to share this one for entertainment value....



Jacob and I have been poking at Yocum for a couple years now with very little (read none) success. After a very thorough study of weather patterns that lead to climbable conditions in the past, and a close look at my own weather notes over the years etc, I had determined that yesterday (Saturday) was the perfect day. 

We set out at a leisurely pace from the parking lot a bit after midnight and dropped our skis at the top of Palmer. The entire mountain was covered in a thick sheet of ice. It was PERFECT conditions for the more eccentric Mt Hood routes and we thought we finally had it in the bag. The slope going down from Illumination Saddle to the Reid would have taken bomber ice screws. It was nuts! 

As we crossed the glacier and looked up at the ridge, Jacob pointed out what he thought were the first, second and third gendarmes barely outlined against the few visible stars on a moonless night with intermittent cloud bands whipping through. I very confidently corrected him and showed him the first gendarme a  little lower down the ridge. We soloed up to the base of what I thought was the first gendarme, hacked our a little belay ledge, and racked up. Ready to head-lock this beast, I confidently cruised straight up the gut of the feature in a steep mixed gully. The climbing was moderate and I had run out about 70 feet to a vertical mixed step above which I had spotted what looked like a good cam placement. Just as I was testing a pick placement (that of course failed and pulled a large chunk of rime off), my fancy, fully-charged Petzl smart headlamp died out of nowhere. Dark doesn't even do justice as a description. After about 3 minutes of positive self talk (read "calm the f*&^ down Mike") I blindly grabbed a sawed off 18" picket off my harness and started alternating between hitting it and my thumb. With unsettling ease, I placed it, clipped it, and started down climbing. 

Back at the belay, after a robust bout of barfies and armed with a working headlamp, I headed back up into the maelstrom. The pitch ended up being superb. Were it on a route, it would be a classic. It was complex and technical climbing on good rock with a wide variety of required skills and decent gear if one is a bit creative. The crux was an overhanging mixed sequence onto fragile thin ice but was reasonably well protected. After about an hour and a half and 65 meters, I set up a belay and brought Jacob up. Thinking we were near the top of the first gendarme, Jacob lead through around a corner to find a 500 foot low angle snow slope...leading up to the bottom of the first gendarme. 

In my haste, I had charged up the head wall on the south side of the ridge thinking it was the first gendarme. How I did this after years of studying this route is completely beyond me. I pride myself in good route-finding and in being well researched and prepared. But I made a rookie mistake by charging straight up when had I peeked around a corner 30 feet to my left I would have seen the whole route clearly, even in the dark. By the time we got up there the sun was out and the rime was falling. We new we were too far being schedule to send, so we soloed down the easy slope back to our start point. Before you head up, ALWAYS LOOK AROUND THE CORNER! Lucky for me Jacob has a sense of humor and headed back to Seattle satisfied to have done some interesting climbing while wasting a perfect weather window for a coveted objective. Good times! 

Anyway, I would like to add this new route variation to the annals of Mt. Hood climbing history. It goes at roughly 65M, 100 Degrees, WI-Silly, M-Notpayingattention. We'd like to call it the "Not Yocum Ridge" variation to the start of Yocum Ridge. 



Gear Notes:
Pickets, Pins, Cams, Screws

Approach Notes:
Across the Reid

Edited by mgetlin
  • Rawk on! 5
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On 2/13/2018 at 2:54 PM, ScaredSilly said:

I think we got further up Yokum Ridge start whilst traversing around to do Sandy Glacier Headwall.

What do you mean? You guys did a similar route heading over to Sandy? I bet that was a wake-up :) Fun? Worth doing or scary and worth avoiding?


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  • 2 weeks later...


On my only summit of Long's Peak, CO via the Kiener's Route (Grade II, 5.4) , following the awesome foot-wide ledge traverse of Broadway (with a 800 feet of air below you), I led a 4th class  pitch just past the gully to the start of the only "climb" on the route (the 5.4 section). I spotted a slinged chock-stone about 60 feet up. Sandbag. Sucker bait. The chockstone was loose and scary as hell. I downclimbed to the ledge below, looking to lower off, my only option leaving one of my BRAND NEW camalots - so fuck it, I decided to push the chimney over the chockstone. Then we dealt with getting our bags stuck several times during the haul. Then, my partner in over-kill plastic boots could barely do the chimney. It took us several hours. It was something like 100 feet. While I was belaying him up the last few feet, a group of 5 people cruised right past... ropeless.... 

Turns out we took the first chimney, wheras the route description clearly indicated the SECOND (or middle) chimney!! 

Then, right as we finally made the summit, a lightning bolt struck the adjacent peak and it began pouring rain. Imagine our delight sliding on our asses down the now-smooth rock on the Keystone route! Scary as hell and we would've been off the climb save for getting sandbagged in the wrong chimney... 


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the great laugh.  I did something similar on that side of the mountain, and was incredibly embarrassed that I mucked up a climb I'd done several times, before.  I did NOT write about mine. . .  I applaud you for putting it out there.

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