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[TR] Mt Hood - Wallace-Olson/Eliot Headwall 02/18/2022


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Trip: Mt Hood - Wallace-Olson/Eliot Headwall

Trip Date: 02/18/2022

Trip Report:


My partner and I climbed the Wallace-Olson Route on the Eliot Headwall and found fantastic conditions on the route. It was either alpine ice, snice, or very hard neve from top to bottom. We departed from Timberline, went up the Old Chute, and descended via the Sunshine to approach the route. This took about six hours to the base of the climb. There was some knee-deep wallowing approaching the Hogsback that slowed us down. The coverage on the Eliot is relatively thin, proved when I punched a leg through a crevasse on the traverse to the route. There were only about 18 inches of hard snow covering the crack. I could tell from high on the route that there was some sag indicating its presence, but it was not evident from the glacier. 


We climbed the route in four pitches to a point just above the exit chimney and then did a short pitch to the summit. The total time on the route was about 3.5 hours.

Pitch one had about 30 meters of AI3 which was fat and took screws well. Pitch two had a variety of options. We took an AI3-bulge to steep neve but you could have skirted it and climbed lower angle ice. Pitch three was more steep neve and AI2 with some protection options where blobs of ice stuck through. The final exit pitch up the chimney was not protectable with screws because the ice was very aerated, so it was about 10 meters steep, no-fall-zone climbing. It went at AI3. We were able to get solid screw belays all the way up and plenty of protection options, minus the final chimney. In the photos, you can see this feature just right of the obvious tower. 

There were many variations that one could have taken on the route. The mixed exit ramps were all iced up and looked tempting as well, but we chose to take the steep line. The route as a whole was nearly a perfect plumb line from bottom to top and well worth the approach. It was a stellar day in the alpine with near-perfect conditions.

Photos: Pitch One (there is a little camera trickery happening here. It was not that steep). Pitch two. Looking up pitch three. Exit pitch


Gear Notes:
10 screws: I was able to place 16cm's and in one case a 22cm at the belays. Stubbies were not necessary as there was almost always ice for at least a 13cm. We brought a small rock rack, pins, and a picket but didn't use any of it

Approach Notes:
Via the South Side Route and down the Sunshine. Keep an eye out on the Eliot Glacier for weak spots. I was not the first to recently bust through.

Edited by 2121
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