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[TR] Mt Hood - DKH- Elliot HW linkup 04/03/2021


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Trip: Mt Hood - DKH- Elliot HW linkup

Trip Date: 04/03/2021

Trip Report:


Unable to secure a partner for Saturday, I opted for some soloing on Hood over the less preferable slog-to-climb ratio in the Three Sisters.


Drove up from Bend at 3am and was skinning by 5 from Timberline. Ok skinning to Palmer, complete trash above that. Should've ditched the skis there, or booted the whole thing. 

Looking up DKH1:


Looking down above the crux:


DKH1 was spewing a near constant stream of little rime pebbles despite the freezing temps and there's a considerable debris field at the base. The main couloir itself was in pretty gross shape, lots of exposed rock and thin plastered ice, but not too steep. However the crux was a bit fatter and better ice than when I climbed it in late January. I climbed it carefully, anticipating being hit in the arms or head at any moment, but went off without a hitch. At the fork I headed right for a couple more fun moderate ice sections. There was a fork about 200ft below the ridge, went left, looked more fun, delicate move over a little rock and ice bulge then more easy ice and snow. 

I had to make a couple awkward, catwalk like moves to bust out left from the top of the couloir onto the very upper Wyeast face. Here I found the least consolidated snow of the day. Easy walk to summit from there. 

The weather had been looking marginal, cloudy with chance of increasing winds, but at the summit it was calm and the clouds seemed unthreatening and happy to remain pretty high. I figured I'd head over to check out the Elliot, taking a look at the exit options from the summit ridge. Looked steep! The leftmost exit in Mullee looked like very steep snow and shitty ice to gain the ridge, the rightmost exit looked nicer. 

Elliot from the base. I took the flow just left of the rock center of photo:


I sat at the little saddle above Horseshoe rock to have a bite and look at the route. The amount of ice back there is incredible! Go get it folks, it's fat, and it's good. I traversed in and down on steep snow, above the schrund, to the base of a pretty fat WI3 ish flow that seemed like a logical way to start. From there I trended slightly left, then back right, aiming for the obvious "Wallace 5.7 chimney" exit described in Mullee. Many more WI2 ish sections followed, all on bomber ice, interspersed with some steep snow. It's truly a pick-your-own-adventure headwall! 


The exit looked steeper and steepr as I got closer and I could feel the adrenaline starting to pump through my veins; thankfully it was filled in with a nice little WI3/3+ ribbon. There seem to be lots of fun mixed exit options all over up there on half decent looking rock. 


I plugged a couple screws at the base of the last pitch and took a breather, psyching myself up. It was surprisingly steep, but was able to get good stems up it with the occasional pon-on-rock stem. The exposure was a little heady, I took my time, and soon enough was on epic easy ice and a few feet of steep snow back onto the ridge, a nice cornice-free top out. 

The cloud cover kept the snow above Palmer nice and rimey all day, so I had to take the walk of shame back to Palmer where I could finally ski back to the car. Pretty psyched on the linkup possibilities on Hood! 

It's go time in Oregon!

Gear Notes:
3 screws, 3 alpines, 4 pins and 60m x 6mm tagline for bail options (not used)

Approach Notes:

Edited by ACosta
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Sick. Thanks for this. I've only approached (i.e. traversed in) the Eliot Headwall once, and we didn't climb it. It's a bit intimidating from below not knowing what the upper cliff band is like. Seeing your photo of the little ice flow definitely makes me eager to try it soon!

Also I feel like the "leftmost exit" you mention always looks like complete shit.

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Very nice! Great shots as well. Way to get creative and get the twofer. I’m with you, the alpine cragging possibilities on Hood are fantastic.

(I think we were synced up on most of the approach to the DKH. Dropping back into the crater I tried to get a shot of you in the route, but my shitty old iphone gave me a blur.) 

Also, I was booting Saturday so my own walk of shame went all the way back to the car, haha.

Edited by Nolan E Arson
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My friend and I recreated your climb (sort of) this morning. We simuled DKHW then dropped over and followed your tracks across the upper Eliot. This was an impressive solo, that last little smear was not trivial. I was happy to have a belayer, and it was easier for me reusing a bunch of your pick placements! Though I did manage to take this picture on lead using one hand to hold the phone and my tongue to operate the touch screen:





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