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spionin

[TR] mt hood - sandy glacier hw 3/9/2013

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Trip: mt hood - sandy glacier hw

 

Date: 3/9/2013

 

Trip Report:

z-man and i climbed the sandy glacier hw in 17 hours on saturday. we encountered a mix of conditions, including neve, styrofoam, and deep pow-pow stashes throughout out trip. overall, it was great, and the headwall is freaking long!

 

after driving down from seattle, we slept for a couple of hours in hood river (warmer), and started driving to timberline a little before midnight. left the car at 1 am, and skied up to the top of palmer. there we left the skis and started slogging over the illumination rock.

 

the snow started at about boot-top depth at first, thought we encountered totally icy sections at regular intervals.

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the night was very clear, but i kept thinking that it would have gratly benefited from a moon. in the dark we approached yocum and started looking for a spot to cross. we moved down fairly low, traversing on a steep slope that kept alternating between deep pow and perfect styrofoam.

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we crossed way low and still had to downclimb to sandy glacier. i'm guessing that normally there is 1) less snow, and 2) existing snow is way softer and easier to navigate. nonetheless we made quick progress.

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we saw a pair of skiers who followed our tracks but attempted to cross the ridge higher up. from what i understand, they got a little stuck. here's a view of the ridge around where they'd have to downclimb.

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anyways, we proceeded to traverse over to the headwall - slogging through knee (and above-knee)-deep snow... the weather was awesome, though it was quite chilly. i wore a shell and my belay jacket the entire time.

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the route itself was fairly cruiser - again alternating between styrofoam, neve, and occasional wind-blown pow. the bottom part of it looked awesome for skiing, but the top was just made for methodical, mindless daggering. it went on FOREVER. endless 50 degree white slope.

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the conditions called for soloing. i can only imagine that pitching this thing out would have taken even forever-er.

 

but at least the views were nice!

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i think the altitude caught up with me at the end. i was happy to finally reach the top, where z-man was waiting.

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long slog down EVENTUALLY brought us to the skis. then we shredded the heck out that tracked-out 15 degree palmer goodness back to the car.

thanks, z-man, for the awesome trip!

 

 

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Gear Notes:

brought 30m glacier rope, 2 screws and a picket. ended up soloing.

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thanks.

nothing flew at us, but the temps were consistently low. the headwall route is fairly wide (again- begs to be skied if there's enough snow!).

i think the biggest time sucker for us was having to break through occasional sections of deep snow. oh, and it's a long freaking walk!

 

my gps battery died before the summit. but here - this shows the uphill tour-de-mountain:

hood17.jpg

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Nice TR. We saw you guys top out, we were the group that came up N Face. It was pretty incredible weather, I also wore my belay jacket the entire day. I didn't realize you guys skinned up the Palmer and left your gear cached, is that a pretty standard way of doing it?

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I didn't realize you guys skinned up the Palmer and left your gear cached, is that a pretty standard way of doing it?

 

The easiest way is to skin all the way up to Illumination Saddle and leave skis there. On the decent at the bottom of the Hogsack drop off to the right side of Crater Rock which will bring you back to the saddle. That said the headwall is not so steep that one can schlep them along which means a quick crossing of the Reid Glacier.

 

For the OP sounds like you did the standard traverse which brings one to the shoulder of Yocum on the Sandy Glacier side which requires some down climbing. I too was surprised by the traverse and in some ways it is the crux.

 

Also most people miss going out to Queen's Chair which a nice place to plunk yer butt down for a few minutes and gander out on the Elliot Headwall. The Queen's Chair is right below the last hump up to the summit.

 

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I enjoyed your TR. But saying "We encountered a mix of conditions" is the reason I am mostly a rock climber. :wave::moondance:

 

No offense, I just don't like the ephemeral conditions of snow and ice. I prefer suffering in heat or cold and maybe rain on solid rock. Of course pulling loose rock off or taking a bad fall isn't much fun either making me a hypocrite.

 

On a good climb of any medium, there is white smoke. On a bad climb there is black smoke.

 

Good for you guys.

Edited by matt_warfield

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thanks, all!

 

I didn't realize you guys skinned up the Palmer and left your gear cached, is that a pretty standard way of doing it?

 

The easiest way is ...

 

thanks for the beta, SS, makes sense!

top of palmer seemed like a natural stopping/gear stashing point. i'm not sure that skinning up to the saddle would have won us much given the conditions.

i also agree that the route is totally doable with skis on the back. this said, there were definitely times in the trip when i was happy to not be carrying more stuff! :)

 

i should also mention that ski boots were perfect for the climb and spared my calves on that low-angle ramp!

 

dave, yeah i remember seeing you guys on the summit. nice trip.

 

matt, the "mix of conditions" made for a fun and varied experience, rather than a snow slog :)

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Wow, great pics, thanks for sharing!

 

Not that many climbers do the Sandy HW because of the long approach, the Yocum crossing and the need for good conditions. Hell of a long day. Looks like you guys did great, should be proud.

 

Bet you never forget it. :brew:

 

 

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Well done! Love that route. I agree, the crossing is the crux, the rest is just conditioning. DS dragged my ass up there about 15 years ago, on an overnight blast from Seattle. It feels like you have the whole mountain to yourself over there.

 

I seem to recall we elected to rap down to the Yokum and the Sandy, using a snow bollard. Might be quicker than going way down low to find a suitable down-climbing spot. Of course, like anything, it's conditions-dependent.

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thanks again!

 

It feels like you have the whole mountain to yourself over there.

 

well said, Eric.

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nearly got my dumb-ass killed soloing it a decade ago when a cannon-ball sized chunk of ice hit me just below cathedral ridge - hit my thigh and i thought for awhile it had snapped my femur - couldn't walk uphill at all and it was a miiiiiiserable retracing of my steps back to t-line - the best was putting a pic of me, my giant bruise and my infant daughter up here and immediately having it yanked off b/c i looked like a pederast :)

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