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[TR] Mt. Hood - Reid Glacier Headwall Ski descent 05/31/2022


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Trip: Mt. Hood - Reid Glacier Headwall Ski descent

Trip Date: 05/31/2022

Trip Report:


Retroactive trip report from May.


These past few spring/summers I've been living in my van somewhere on Mt. Hood, riding most days, usually solo. As you all know, this spring was plentiful in the snow department and created some stellar late spring skiing conditions. I woke up around 5am to more wind and cold than I was hoping for, turned off the alarm and caught some more sleep.

Around 11:30 I took the dog for a long walk and started packing, typical Mt. Hood winds whipping across palmer and keeping temps quite cold for a late may early afternoon. I started up from Timberline around 1:45 only intending to skin up to Illumination Saddle and take a peek at the Reid for the first time. What I didn't expect to find was 8"-10" of perfect corn with no wind effect. I grabbed a snack, mulled over the fact that I was up there Very late in the day... However without the sun directly on the headwall yet and firm but pleasant cramponing conditions, I started my way up around 4.

The climbing was nice and a very mellow schrund crossing gave me confidence to continue for a short while until the sun was on the face. Unsurprisingly, it started shedding shortly after with small wet sloughs coming down every few minutes, but no icefall and staying climbers right made it easy to stay out of the way of the sloughs. I pushed on, moving quickly until I was just below the rime towers that signify the top of the west crater rim. At this point it was time to go down. I was late. Too late for my liking, but steep turns beckoned. 

I transitioned and the sloughs grew larger by the minute, the corn was far gone by now and it was obvious that every turn was going to release a large slough, plenty large enough to get knocked off my feet and carried the 1000 feet down to the base of the glacier. Ice axe in hand, I ski cut the upper Reid face, traversing roughly 400 feet to a protected saddle and watched the entirety of the face slough off, racing down to the Reid glacier and revealing the previous days sun crust, which at this point was rather edgeable. It certainly wasn't the hero corn run I was wishing I had gotten out of bed for, but any bluebird day up high is a good one in my book, and steep turns high on the Reid made it that much better, good snow or not.

Three days later I finally had the right partners and warm temps to ski the old chute naked... but that's a story for another day.


Gear Notes:
Splitboard, pons, one tool.

Approach Notes:
Timberline to Illumination Saddle




Edited by HoodSplitter
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