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[TR] Hood- West Side 2/10/2005


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Climb: Hood-West Side


Date of Climb: 2/10/2005


Trip Report:

Needless to say, recent conditions on Hood are not trivial. On Thursday, my friend Greg and I designed a quick plan of attack of the Sandy HW. The plan was to start hiking at midnight and be at the foot of Yokum Ridge by the time the sun is up. This would give us some light to cross dangerous ground of Sandy Glacier and climb HW in relatively cold conditions. We had to be back to work at noon of the next day.


Skipping the boring slog, we got to the top of Palmer lift by 3 am, discovering that the weather is less than favorable - cold gusty wind and chill. We spent the next hour in the Palmer lift bunker re- hydrating, re-fueling and sorting our gear. We slowly started off towards Illumination Rock at 4 am. At the Illumination Saddle, we faced fearless wind and low visibility - billions of icicles flying around in the air. We hoped, by the time we drop on Reid Glacier, the weather will improve and the wind will cease.


The next hour or so was fun. We started downclimbing the steep slope and discovered beautiful snow conditions - icy consolidated crust with patches of ice. Although we couldn’t see the way, we were making good progress and hoped to reach Reid Glacier within minutes. I turned around and saw a vague shadow of the lower Yokum Ridge - the line of our attack. I got exited. The conditions worsened. Visibility dropped to zero and I lost a sight of Greg who was climbing just above me. I was wondering he took a quick ride. Suddenly, the character of snow changed from ice to unconsolidating sugar. We saw little microavalanches flowing around us. Curiously, we felt emptiness below us and could feel the every movement on the mountain under our feet. The situation became serious. We traversed to the left towards Reid HW hoping to meet more consolidating ground - the same. That said, we decided to retreat...



1) In winter, this route is better done in two days with a daylight approach and night climbing.

2) Crevasses are filled in with funny snow powder - skirting around the outline of the glacier maybe a better idea than just cutting across. Skis would be helpful.

3) Head walls on the West side of Hood may have similar conditions we encountered at Reid. May require further consolidation.


At Illumination Saddle






Perfect morning





Gear Notes:

8mm x 30m glacier rope

4 pickets

4 ice screws

second tool

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Hey Oleg and Greg- Nice to meet you guys up on the mountain on Friday. Thanks for the heads up about the Reid... I was probably going to bail on the HW by the time I reached the Ill saddle just because of the wind... I figured all sorts of crap would be coming down the gullies. When I saw headlamps pop back up over the saddle I knew it must have been crappy down there. I ended up slogging up the west crater rim to the castle crags route (after it mellows out, not the spicy part) and following that to the summit. I got great views of the upper Yoccum and down the Elliot headwall, and had the summit (which was suprisingly windless) to myself. Anyway, thanks again for the avy forecast at Ill saddle. Not every Hood trip that you get up to the minute, first hand beta for what conditions to expect. thumbs_up.gif

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