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[TR] Mt Hood - Devil's Kitchen Headwall Variation 0 02/18/2020


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Trip: Mt Hood - Devil's Kitchen Headwall Variation 0

Trip Date: 02/18/2020

Trip Report:


Climbed a variation to the left of the regular DKHW left ("Variation 1" in Mullee) route on Monday along with CC members Nolan E Arson and kadyakerbob. I'm quite sure this wasn't a FA as it's an obvious line on a popular aspect of the mountain, but as far as I know there are no documented ascents of the route. Makes sense to refer to it as variation 0 following the Mullee numbering.


The beginning of the route is currently a mix of exposed rock/rime. It turned out to be a lot steeper than it looked from the bottom. The rime takes good sticks but there are some surprisingly delicate, balance-y moves to move through the rock patches. Above the exposed rocks there's a flat-ish area where it looks like the gully splits into right and left options. The right option (more visible from the crater) didn't really look passable to me but the left had a nice, short, near-vertical step on solid rime. Above this we came out to a small clearing from which we could see climbers on the Hogsback. We went right and followed the narrow, snow filled gullies to where they meet up with the regular DKHW left variation (above the crux).

Random Notes:

  • The challenging climbing is all at the bottom of the route (the visible rock and the rime step above it). I don't think the upper portion could get significantly steeper than it is now, though it would be a lot more fun if it had ice instead of deep snow.
  • In current conditions it seems unprotectable. You can put screws in the rime (and maybe rap on them) but there's no way they would hold any kind of fall.
  • If legitimate ice ever forms on the route it would be great, and probably superior to variation 1, as it's longer, steeper, and more sustained. I will definitely check this route again once I know that there is fat ice on variation 1.
  • I'd give the route the typical, meaningless AI3 rating. Right now it's noticeably harder than anything I've encountered on variation 1.

The line we took:


Some very steep snow in the entrance gully:


Short rime fin below the rocks:


Bottom part of rocky section:


Top part of rocky section:


Going left over the rime step:


Wide-angle shot of above the rime step. Follow the narrow gully right.


Typical deep snow in the gullies:


Looking down from where the route joins variation 1. Variation 1 crux is just below and to the left of the central rime mushrooms, we emerged on the right. 20200218_101432.thumb.jpg.ee9cb9b555232f4d2fe7ea3bde7bbaef.jpg

Gear Notes:
Rope, screws, draws, etc., were all good training weight, useless on route.

Approach Notes:
When I walk it it's deep powder, when I ski it it's chickenheads.

Edited by zaworotiuk
  • Rawk on! 2
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Thanks for the write up, Matt! Dead accurate approach beta.

It was awesome to run into you, Bob. Thanks for the pics!

It was great fun to eyeball a line and just give it a go. It’s definitely weird that this gets zero traffic. Guidebook blinder syndrome?

When we finally get ice on the kitchen steeps, I’m definitely in for another lap. 

Couple more pics:

Matt about to leave the ice climbing and re-enter the swim zone 6F8B02DD-897E-4BB6-9FFC-A2CDE780A2F5.thumb.jpeg.558be1e8dffd81ee823939f183164092.jpeg

And Bob at the top of the vertical rime stepF4DAB7F2-5F72-42DF-BB00-5A5B41EB90E5.thumb.jpeg.c22a88a5b47ed10dcdf007dc9e3594ce.jpeg

Edited by Nolan E Arson
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