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suge

[TR] Mount Hood - South Side 2/17/2008

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Trip: Mount Hood - South Side

 

Date: 2/17/2008

 

Trip Report:

I'm getting older and fatter every day, and this winter isn't helping my waistline at all. With all the snow this winter, alpine climbing has pretty much been a distant memory and I've been spending more time drinking beer at the Harmon than in the backcountry. But then the weather decided to take a break. Clear conditions and a favorable avy forecast, a rare treat on a weekend. So, The Great Destroyer, V Girl, Kevin "I'm not a 140 pounds" G., and I decided to head down to Mount St. Helens. The only problem was that the Forest Service decided not to plow the road to the snow park. So, we went to Mount Hood, where the Forest Service there can apparently plow a road 3500 feet higher than the St. Helens one.

 

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Hood was looking good on the drive through Portland. The guy in the pickup didn't really like me blazing away with my camera, but there wasn't a whole lot he could do about it.

 

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Later on, Hood lit up with amazing alpinglow.

 

 

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We got some beds in the Mazama lodge and, after a beer and dinner in Gub'mint Camp, went to sleep at 8:30 pm. Its been more than 6 months since my last alpine start, and I wasn't super happy about waking up at 1:30 am for this one. Yeah, I know I was in a lodge and got to sleep in a bed, but I've gotten soft in the last 6 months. When your only training is putting away pint and pint of IPA, this is bound to happen.

 

We drove up to Timberline and, after some beacon checks and filling out paper work, we were headed upslope, alone, at 3:40 am. The air temperature was pleasant, in the 30s, and there was little wind. We had the moon to guide us for a while, but that soon set and we were reduced to headlamp navigation. That means we used our headlamps to find the ski lifts and just followed those. Navigationally hard Hood is not.

 

After about two hours we had gone beyond the ski lifts and passed two groups of climbers, one of which had camped out. The east began to get light as we crossed 9000 feet. Below, TGD rests for a bit before starting the push to the Hogsback.

 

 

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As the sun rose, we were treated to a shadow of Hood cast down upon Portland.

 

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The snow was perfect for easy cramponing, but eventually became too icy to make skinning feasible. Below, you can see Jefferson and the Sisters lighting up, with the rest of our party coming up. Below them is the beginnings of about 15 Mazamas on their climb up.

 

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The obligatory crop and blow up of Jefferson, the Sisters, and Broken Top.

 

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We climbed past Crater Rock and got a good view of what we had ahead of us. The Hogsback with a waiting climber on one end. The Pearly Gates with several climbers inside. Only, the bottom two climbers were not moving. There were two climbers above them, and they seemed to be having a lot of difficulty. In the below photo, you can see the waiting climber on the Hogsback and the two stuck climbers at the base of the Pearly Gates.

 

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We regrouped and ate lunch (at 8:30 am!), consisting of sundried tomato roasted turkey sandwiches with pepperjack cheese, courtesy of V Girl, who will be taken on every single climb I ever go on (TGD almost proposed). The two bottom climbers still hadn't moved, but the waiting climber had run out of patience and had crossed the Hogsback and was in the process of climbing around them. We moved up into the sun, finally, at the base of the Hogsback where we could warm up.

 

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After watching the episode in the Pearly Gates climbers still hadn't moved, but seemed to still be healthy and seemed to be getting ready to climb down), we decided to contour over and take the West Crater Rim route. Some old steps led over there and the snow had been super stable so far. TGD and I headed out in front as V-Girl and Kevin "I need a nickname" G. finished un-freezing their fingers.

 

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We got to the top of the Hogsback in time to see the other two climbers at the base of the Pearly Gates, and then detoured to the left through awkward snow.

 

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The tracks were several days old and the steps had to be re-kicked by TGD. Normally this wasn't too bad, but occasionally he'd just hit ice, making for slow progress. We slowly rounded (in the now roasting sun) the corner and ran into a climber who was coming down from the top. He had gone through the Pearly Gates and found the climbing to be difficult at best, with a lot of ice. After we rounded the corner, I took over and kicked step s up the 45 degree slope to the rim. There were some old steps from time to time, which helped a lot as the snow was pretty icy. At 9:40, we topped out all alone.

 

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The climber who had come down must have been the solo climber waiting at the Hogsback. So, where were the other two climbers? Had they also gone down? Or were they still working their way up? We celebrated on the top for quite some time. Kevin "You know my name" G even did the worm.

 

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The Mazamas and a few independents slowly filtered in. After nearly an hour, two tired looking climbers came up from the Pearly Gates. It wasn't clear if they were the two we saw or not, and they looked too tired to answer and questions we might have. It was getting hot out and so at 11 we set off for the descent. TGD had hauled his skis all the way up so that he could ski all the way down.

 

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With the super icy conditions, the steepness, and the narrow constriction, we were all pretty sure that he was going to die, but watched anyways.

 

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Slowly he slipped away and made it past the worst of the ice. We down climbed, follow the Mazama groups. I spied him ripping turns further down, then cresting over the Hogsback, and continuing down the other side. Those of us on foot were all jealous.

 

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After the down climb, I followed the now massive boot track that TGD and I had kicked out in the morning down to the Hogsback, and then down the Hogsback to the top of Crater Rock, where I found him sunning himself, pleased like a cat who just found a mouse to play with. Our party eventually regrouped and, after dodging a second ice fall that had tumbled down, we set out for the Lodge and beers.

 

Keving eventually picked up his skis and was able to get a bunch of turns in on the way down to the lodge.

 

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V-Girl and had to walk down. Eventually we got to the parking lot, de-geared, and met the others in the Lodge where, the beer was flowing liberally. Now, this was the kind of training I was used to! None of this climbing stuff. Just glass after glass of frothy goodness.

 

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Gear Notes:

Axes and crampons. If you're going to go into the Pearly Gates, a second tool and perhaps screws, harnesses, and ropes would be a good idea.

 

Approach Notes:

Road to Timberline is well plowed. Snow is in good condition for hiking, but is pretty icy in places for skiers.

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Just when I thought I couldnt bear another S.Side TR, I find here a really good one. Thanks

 

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A guy from PMR soloed the pearly gates on Saturday when I was up there. It sounded like the gates were pretty cool right now but you definitely need a second tool.

 

Nice TR and pics.

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As the "waiting climber on the hogsback" I feel I must add my 2 cents worth regarding the route that day. The conditions were perfect in the early morning, baking by 11, a perfect time for the beer I stashed in the snow! The Pearly Gates provided a champ finish to an otherwise monotonous slog. One must exit the hogsback about 20ft. below the spot where the two hapless individuals are stuck in the above photo. The gully leading into the gates is somewhat steep and capped by a section consisting of two ice steps, one about waist to chest high, the other chest to just over-head high. There is a small platform (one person) between the two steps. The ice section is a little more than shoulder width, providing a deceptively cozy feel. I brought a second tool and was glad I did, the ice took picks great and I moved with confidence. It was disappointing to see it end really. I would NOT descend this way as it would require ropes/screws or proficient downclimbing ability. Also the gully is an absolute funnel, so beware party inflicted debris from above and put a helmet on for christ sake. End beta spray transmission.

 

Great photos Suge. and nice tele turns by your bro.

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As the "waiting climber on the hogsback" I feel I must add my 2 cents worth regarding the route that day. The conditions were perfect in the early morning, baking by 11, a perfect time for the beer I stashed in the snow! The Pearly Gates provided a champ finish to an otherwise monotonous slog. One must exit the hogsback about 20ft. below the spot where the two goons are stuck in the above photo. The gully leading into the gates is somewhat steep and capped by a section consisting of two ice steps, one about waist to chest high, the other chest to just over-head high. There is a small platform (one person) between the two steps. The ice section is a little more than shoulder width, providing a deceptively cozy feel. I brought a second tool and was glad I did, the ice took picks great and I moved with confidence. It was disappointing to see it end really. I would NOT descend this way as it would require ropes/screws or proficient downclimbing ability. Also the gully is an absolute funnel, so beware party inflicted debris from above and put a helmet on for christ sake. End beta spray transmission.

 

Great photos Suge. and nice tele turns by your bro.

 

We did the Reid Headwall on Monday and descended the gates to see how it was shaping up this year. It was quite surprising to see how steep it was this year. The ice was hard and made for great purchase though and would have probably been easier with a second tool. The traverse from the hogsback is damn steep too. On our way out we found some boot tracks that stopped halfway between the hogsback and the gates. It appeared that the party probably decided to turn back (and traverse from lower down) when the snow got harder and the exposure got to them.

 

The truly bizarre thing about the climb was watching three climbers head towards Devil's Kitchen headwall at about noon! The way the mountain was coming down on us on the Reid in the shade was enough to get us moving faster. I can't imagine climbing the DK Headwall in that heat.

Edited by Robert Howell

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Nice TR! It was good chatting with you guys (and gal) throughout the day. Sorry we missed you @ the cervesa dispenser, we were just happy to be off the snow and not cooking in the sun.

 

Nice job recovering that ski btw, I noticed that didn't make it into the TR :P

 

See you up there next time...

 

:brew:

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I was up the S Side on Monday and elected not to go higher than the hogsback due to the ice bits coming down and the snow turning sloppy in the sun on the old chute. Most people (and a dog) I saw were turning back at that point. Pretty warm for Feb. :(

 

On the way down I talked to a party of three that said they might try out the Devil's Kitchen Headwall. :eek:

 

Entertainment was provided by the guy glissading off the hogsback with crampons on.

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Nice TR! It was good chatting with you guys (and gal) throughout the day. Sorry we missed you @ the cervesa dispenser, we were just happy to be off the snow and not cooking in the sun.

 

Nice job recovering that ski btw, I noticed that didn't make it into the TR :P

 

See you up there next time...

 

:brew:

 

Yeah........I was hoping none of the 30 people sitting around or descending/climbing had actually seen that. I was just glad it didn't wind up in a fumarole!

 

Good TR Suge.

 

Happy Trails

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Wow - looks like everyone on the mountain Monday was a CC.com sprayer... We turned around at the top of the Hogsback just as Robert & crew were finishing up the last of their gnarly P.G. descent. Looked like pretty slow going but good on ya for purposefully descending that mess. Lots of little ice bullets coming off the cliffs above. I too was surprised to see that group heading straight for DKHW at noon. You can get away with that nonsense in February but not in May. Oh wait - it was February. Felt like May though...

 

Helluva day to play on the mountain!!!

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Monday I was riding my motorcycle back from Cannon Beach. Made the loop through Longview to Long Beach Sunday, then down to Cannon on Monday and back to Portland just in time for stop and go traffic from Sylvan to I-5 bridge.

 

It was a nice ride but the TR/pics remind me I gotta get back to the mountains soon...

 

d

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