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vsigler

trip planning for summer Mt. Hood climb

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Hi Everyone:

 

I am planning to introduce a couple of friends to mountaineering by visiting Mt. Hood in June. My goal was to spend 3 days on the south side of the mountain. On day one, we would climb to camp above the Palmer Lift or near Illumination Rock. After establishing camp, I will teach them about moving in crampons and ice axe and rope use (preferably on some steeper terrain). On Day two, I want to teach them about mountain safety, i.e., self arrest, anchor building, crevasse rescue and self extraction from a crevasse. On day three, we will make a summit attempt and descend. My specific questions: (1) are any decent crevasses present in the upper Palmer Glacier/ Illumination Rock are near which we can practice the crevasse skills (trip is in mid-June)? (2) are any steep slopes available nearby to practice self arrest (from photos it looks like either side of the Hogsback might do (crazy?), but I've never seen what's at the bottom)? (3) Is camping possible near Illumination Rock in June? (4) How long are the Pearly Gates and Old Chute couloirs? Photos make these appear to be around 150 feet in length or so. I'm trying to gauge rope management in these sections. Thanks for your input.

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1) crevasses on palmer - no. Going NW over illumination saddle down on the reid glacier, yes. Can't honestly say how practice would be there--might not be an ideal spot.

 

2) yes there are steep slopes right around illumination saddle that you could practice self arrest on (no need to go up to hogsback specifically for that). Not crazy to practice at hogsback per'se... but dep on conditions/time of day.. you're above a toilet-bowl fumerole on one side and a flat patchy of muddy sulferous venting on the other..if a self arrest wasn't successful. plus on any decent climb day in june it tends to be a zoo up there--which could be distracting for learning.

 

3) yes you can camp there in june.

 

4) old chute isn't too much of a chute.. compared to pearly gates but yeah 100-150 foot is probably right for the area of it where it 'constricts' more-so.

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for it's worth, i'd recommend the n side for your mission - much cooler, majestic side of the mtn - the elliot has great big gapers you could throw yourself in if you were so inclined, plus you can do a high camp up at tie in rock if you were so inclined - you would most likely won't be able to drive all the way to cloud cap, but it's an easy hike.

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Yes, the Elliot on the N side would be better for crevasse training and that side of the mountain is, as Ivan stated, much more majestic - classic alpine, but N side is not good for a summit attempt w/o experience.

 

I would accept the fact this will not be a wilderness experience and keep to the crowded south side. There are crevasses at top of White River Canyon (climber's right as you hike from Palmer to Crater Rock) that will be opening in June. Also, you can always hang off a cornice and practice the same thing, as long as you do it when the cornice is bomber - not after a storm or in the afternoon on a day when everything is collapsing. There are cornices up high on White River Canyon, on Zig Zag Canyon at the bottom of Zig Zag Glacier (down the fall line below Crater Rock), and above the Timberline parking lot on Salmon River canyon. The latter may be gone by June though, depending on how warm a spring we have.

 

Edited by pcg

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Yes, the Elliot on the N side would be better for crevasse training and that side of the mountain is, as Ivan stated, much more majestic - classic alpine, but N side is not good for a summit attempt w/o experience.

 

little old ladies climbed that side in knickers w/ alpenstocks 100+ years ago :P

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little old ladies climbed that side in knickers w/ alpenstocks 100+ years ago :P

 

Yes, but they climbed the south side first and... they were Mazamas! :/

 

Also, that's when women were men, and men were really men.

Edited by pcg

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they were Mazamas!

 

I put my shorts on over my polypro just like the rest of you -- one leg at a time. Except, once my shorts are on, I break longest round-trip time records.

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Good advice thus far....

 

You really can't go wrong at Illumination Saddle. Even if the weather is poor, it's still a very cool place to be.

 

June is the peak season so don't expect solitude. Week days would be ideal, especially from a safety point of view because of the weekend crowds.

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Thanks for all of the input thusfar...very helpful. Will keep all in mind as I plan. We will be there during the week, so I would expect that the crowds will be reduced somewhat. That was actually my first consideration when planning this. I will probabaly come out a few days earlier and attempt the Sunshine route (carryover to normal route) with a friend of mine based in WA. Will do some reconaissance during that trip too. I'll be sure to bring my knickers and alpenstock.

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While I would also agree that the north would a better place for such an outing but as said remember that the road up to Cloud Cap may not be open yet. In 2010 it opened July 4th weekend. That would not stop many as you can hike up from Tilly Jane but something to keep in mind. Especially as one can day hike out Cloud Cap to the Elliot.

 

That time of year an ascent of Copper's Spur is good fun. Coming down may be different story. However, as I have down twice before after a north side route is to come the south side and walk back around via the Newton Clark.

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going donw the spur really isn't bad, it's just freaky b/c there's all that exposure - go down face in to the slope and bring a 2nd tool and you can scamper, scamper - i love the gradual easing off of the angle and exposure as you near tie in rock, the way the tension just melts away :)

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come down the south side and walk back around via the Newton Clark.

What elev. do you cut back towards Wy'East?

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come down the south side and walk back around via the Newton Clark.

 

going donw the spur really isn't bad, it's just freaky b/c there's all that exposure - go down face in to the slope and bring a 2nd tool and you can scamper, scamper - i love the gradual easing off of the angle and exposure as you near tie in rock, the way the tension just melts away :)

 

Very true have done that on many of slopes, but for many it is not that easy - especially for newbies. And unfortunately, the runout is rather deadly for Cooper's Spur.

 

What elev. do you cut back towards Wy'East?

 

Seems like around 9400 feet give or take. Then stay above 8600 feet until it is possible to regain Cooper's Spur at around 8000 feet. Or something like that.

 

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Yeah, but every year someone falls off it coming down. East exposure to sun turning it to slush I suspect.

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