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Pwelco

[TR] Mt. Hood South Side - Pearly Gates Deviation 5/3/2008

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Trip: Mt. Hood South Side - Pearly Gates Deviation

 

Date: 5/3/2008

 

Trip Report:

Having waited all year for the chance to take a trip, I had been watching the weather for days and it seemed like a reasonable choice to go for the summit the AM of Sat. the 3rd. We started off in snowing contitions and a white out, not a good start but hey its the south side and hard to get lost after 13 or 14 times right? Trying to follow a faint set of tracks we had to break trail as we are the first tracks up there today. We ended up at the edge of the White River Canyon. Oops, can't see anything but blackness. We turned left coming up to Crater Rock in the dark. Hey where is that shelf before Crater Rock to rest at? Oh well keep going through deeper snow around the right side of Crater Rock, man this breaking trail stuff is tough, should have maybe started a little later right? Heck no, keep going!! As we were nearing the Hogs Back it was still dark yet at least the snowing had stopped and no wind to speak of the whole way up so far. Trudging through waste deep powder, where the heck is that Hogs Back as I keep looking up hoping it would appear in the darkness. Finally I see it, the lip is right there only 15 more feet having to pack down snow for each inch we are finally on the hogs back with another couple groups blitzing up behind us, how nice for them (and me every other time I have gone! :))! Finally getting light we can at times see up the Hogs Back as the clouds blow through. The Pearly Gates look crazy, the Hogs Back doesn't even aim that way. It has formed towards the west a little and there is no shelf leading over to it. One of the other groups heads up the Hogs Back, sweet, let them break trail for a bit! The three of us wait to see about the shrund and what the heck are they going to do about getting up there? I'm thinking Mazama Route to the left but with some heavy snow there has been groups in the past that have had trouble with avalanches in these conditions, sure wish it was colder so we were on more icy conditions! The other group has a guide who assesses the conditions to find about a 2ft layer ready for a slab avalanch. They skirt around the shrund only having to go about 10 feet or so off the Hogs Back then back again. Slightly above that he holds his group and and checks the conditions again for avalanch, I see them put on there harnesses so off we go up the Hogs Back. The guide ventures out to look at the gully that has formed below the Pearly Gates which is full of powder up to his neck so he heads up to check the gully directly in line with the HB. Its about 5ft wide, we catch his group as he enters and then down climbs back to the group saying its a no go, not what they are looking for as its mixed climbing rock and ice , they head out and we are alone with only a 2 man group behind us and they are done too! I'm thinking to myself maybe there is a reason we are the only ones up here, we shouldn't be!

Well, having talked to a guy who had summited 2 weeks prior he told me they went the Pearly Gates and used two pickets and an ice screw, I had strapped on three screws and 3 pickets so we had the gear, heck lets see whats around that corner up in that gully, I head up there, he was right it is mixed climbing with little ice and just rock with powder on it for about 10 feet then I found some thicker ice allowing a couple screws for a belay I bring up my two guys to the base of the gully. They belay me from there and I ice climb up through the gully and to the left to find a nice pearch and belay them to me. I keep the belay and send them higher up to see where to go from here they go a ropes length to another shelf and belay me to them where hey I see the summit and no tracks either, thats a first! With one more pitch we are on the summit ridge and glad to be half way and heading down way too late. Back the way we came I leave a picket above the ice gully (have at it!) we get back to the HB and feel much better. All in all a great day but feel like we got away with something being one of only two groups to summit (the other went up the Mazama Route with no issues)!

 

Gear Notes:

3 pickets and 3 ice screws, rope of coarse and two tools instead of ice axe

 

Approach Notes:

Deep powder

Edited by Pwelco

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Thanks for the post- I was wondering how things were up there.

 

How were conditions on the walk up the Palmer, and/or when did the snow turn to waist deep crud?

 

Thanks in advance-

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:) Well, to be honest we rode the cat up to the top of Palmer trying to give the group the best chance for a summit (been there done that on the long hike up Palmer) but started off in over shin deep powder from there. Even with the cat it took 15 hours to get back to the car.

It went waist deep just below Crater Rock and around until the Hogs Back. Hope to not see that again any time soon! We'll be back for another go with a couple new guys on the 16th and 17th of this month though from the parking lot for an over nighter. Hope the temps change for some hard surface cramponing up there. I have some photos coming from this trip in a couple days to post so check back.

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were heading up about the same time. going up late afternoon/early evening friday, getting up early and attempting to summit saturday.

I agree, hoping for some harder snow than what ive seen so far!

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Good TR on the climb, but did you dig any snow pits given the described conditions? Just want to put it out there to keep checking the snow layers, bonding, stability and shear values. If you dont dig, you really dont know what you have underneath given the recent weather on the hill

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Ya, The guidein the other group right next to us dug one on the East facing slope and the Southern facing. WWent down about 2 feet to a layer of hard stuff. The Western facing slide off but the Southern stayed put. For that reason we stayed off the Mazama route and went for the steeper ice and rock.

 

Good point to those heading up there, Thanks!

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Weather looks to be turning for you, be safe and yes dig the hole to see whats what!

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we are headed up tonight teaching a noob group. I'll let you know how it goes...

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did you make it up? how'd it go? hope you had fun. We are still planning on going up friday, but we'll see. supposed to be a hot one. as long as it freezes at night we should be good though eh. heres hoping!

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