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MtnHigh

Hood North Face

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Conditions on Hood north face routes has been excellent the past couple of weeks.

 

Two weeks ago the traditional route up the right hand couloir was climbed by a couple of friends.

The majority of the route is frenchin' up 50-60% neve' with two steps of 60-90% ice.

The second step is by far the most interesting, offering about 100' of near vertical water ice.

 

Last weekend I climbed the left couloir variation. Even though 1-2' of snow had fallen in the

past two days, there was little fresh snow in the couloir. The couloir was in excellent shape, rock

hard 45-60% neve' from bottom to top with three short steps to negotiate. The steps were perhaps

15'-25' in length, consisting of 60-70% mixed neve' and ice. The most difficult part of the climb

was the wind. While on the lower half of the route the wind gusts were us throwing off balance,

forcing us to hug closely to the mountain as we climbed. Oh my achin' back.

 

The bergschrund at the foot of both routes is easily passed on it's far left margin.

On both climbs the descent was via the Sunshine route.

 

We camped on the Elliot at 7800' in the middle of garden of toppled ice blocks that were

shaped like the upper back fin of a fish. There were dozens of these around the camp,

ice bouldering at it's finest.

 

Pete

[big Grin]

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pete,

 

sounds nice. i've had my eye on that one for a while. in fact my partner and i backed out on it this wknd. we made the mistake of believing the forecasts...

 

i am a little confused with the "I" and "we" in your post. you went solo or with a partner?

 

mb

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Cracker,

 

Soloed a few gulleys and couloirs on Hood, but not on this outing. The north face left couloir climb was a two man effort.

 

Pete

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Pete,

 

Thinking of heading in there soon. How far could you drive and what was your approach from the car? I assume you came up Cooper Spur Road??

 

Thanks!

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What, you didn't go up the 1937 leuthold's c./hogsback variation? [Wazzup]

 

How did you come down?

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DonnV,

 

Winter/Spring access to Hood's north side is best done from the Cooper Spur Ski area. The ski area parking lot/trailhead is at 3700'. A well marked and used trail takes you up to 6000' were the trail begins to leave the forest for open terrain. At about 6800' descend the hideous morraine to gain access to the Elliot. The left margin of the Elliot is crevasse free up to about 8500'.

 

Pete

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Iain,

 

What is the 1937 Leuthold variation? What publication did you find this in?

 

The route I did is documented in Jeff Thomas' "Oregon High", route #5 North Face Variation 5B. The north face has two prominent ribs, with a couloir to the left of each rib.

Var 5B is the far left couloir.

 

We descended the Sunshine route. Down Cathedral Ridge to ~10,000, then down the Elliot.

 

Pete

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Oh I was only joking, since people have complained about all the Leuthold's C. and South Side climb reports on this board. After reading your report a second time, I saw you mentioned Cathedral as your descent. Sorry to make you repeat yourself. Congrats on your climb, hope to get out there myself soon. Climbing sandy hw on Fri/Sat if conditions and wx are decent. Mazamas have an Eliot hw trip scheduled. That could be interesting.

 

-Iain

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quote:

Originally posted by MtnHigh:

 

We descended the Sunshine route. Down Cathedral Ridge to ~10,000, then down the Elliot.

 

Pete

Pete, why the Sunshine and not Copper's Spur, Poor conditions?

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wdietsch,

Two reasons why I did not descending the Coop.

 

1) I've have not climbed it, so it's unknown terrain for me. After climbing it a time or two and becoming comfortable with it I might be more apt to use it as a north side descent route.

 

2) Due to the accidents and bad press on the Coop, I'm a bit freeked about walking down it's upper section.

 

Pete

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This has very little to do with the North Face (which is one of the best steep snow/ice lines in the Cascades!), but I circumnavigated Hood on skis last Sunday and found awesome conditions. The only tricky section was trying to save time and not lose elevation on the Elliot, we stayed high (i.e., 8600-8800') and crossed right below the huge fin shaped ice fall mentioned above. This was dumb because we did punch through a few crevasses in the middle of the glacier.

 

PS - This ski will not be in much longer, and probably should not be done after April due all the rock that is just becoming exposed on lots of the ridge crossings.

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For what it's worth...unless there is a crazy cornice on top of C Spur I would pick it any day as a safer decent alternative to Sunshine. Late season Sunshine has more rockfall and a berg plus it gets steeper as you go down for a while where as the coop's slope eases as you decend.

 

It is true that if you don't know the first thing about self arrest and stumble toward Elliot you could be in trouble on the Spur...but I trust that is not the case if you just climbed a NF Route.

 

BTW How far can you currently drive up CS road...clear to Cloud Cap? What about LoLo pass; is it open?

 

[ 05-02-2002, 08:29 PM: Message edited by: Terminal Gravity ]

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Cooper Spur is the most tame descent but I think a lot of people are irrationally creeped out by it (me included) from its history. And self arrest only helps so much on 50° in that ice/rime. Even the experienced hang their crampons in a dangling prussik occasionally. A bunch of boot-axe pitches on descent is a pain in the ass so you unrope and take your chances. That said, you can probably pin almost every single accident on Cooper Spur to bad decisions on bad snow.

 

Yeah, a fall off parts of sunshine would be ugly, but you'd probably see me over there on descents. Less early sun exposure too.

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I don't follow the strategy of hanging crampons in a dangling prussik.

 

Can someone explain that to me?

 

Thanks,

 

S

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I was just saying shit happens. My reference was catching the spikes in something hanging from your harness, or your pants leg, etc. on steeper stuff. A pretty stupid blunder, but I wouldn't count myself out of doing it. I'd also say that a lot more people climb C. Spur than any other N. route so you'll obviously get more accidents. It's just that every accident seems to be a fatality.

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