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[TR] Mt Hood - North Face - right gully 3/25/2013

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Trip: Mt Hood - North Face - right gully


Date: 3/25/2013


Trip Report:

The north face has been at the top of my list of routes to do on Hood since I started climbing, one I have been dreaming of for a while now. To kick off my spring break, I figured it was time to give it a go and headed up for a solo climb of the right gully.


Left from the Tilly Jane TH late Sunday afternoon and reached my bivy spot behind a large rock at about 7400 ft on Cooper Spur just before dark. The mountain was entirely engulfed in clouds on the approach, and I was really hoping it would clear out before morning. As I sat eating dinner, the wind began to slowly blow out all the clouds and the mountain came into full view. The bivy was beautiful laying under the bright moon and stars and watching the north face, with only moderate wind.




Left the bivy at 5 am, and I was a bit unsure of where to drop down onto the Eliot glacier. Visibility wasn't that great in the dark while it was lightly snowing, and I missed the best spot to drop down. I kept climbing higher on the spur and eventually realized that I was much too high up. Oh well, I figured I could just traverse across the face above the glacier to the right gully.


I saw tracks in the snow on the spur and came across a tent. As I began the traverse at sunrise, I met up with Spencer and Tom from Eugene, who were also climbing the north face.






We reached the left gully just above its ice step and originally wanted to downclimb it and traverse to below the 1st ice step of the right gully. It had a very steep and hairy looking portion that would have been fun to climb but not downclimb. We decided to just traverse over the ridge into the right gully instead, and ended up popping into the upper portion of the 1st ice step in the right gully.


Spencer & Tom traversing into the right gully:



I was a little bummed to have missed out on the first ice step of the route, but next time around I won't miss the drop onto the Eliot and I will climb it then! The gully was steep and filled with powder snow, and after kicking steps up it for a while we reached the 2nd ice step, with loads of spindrift pouring down it. It looked awesome.


Looking down the gully below the 2nd step, Spencer below:



Nearing the 2nd ice step:



We stopped to fuel up before heading up the step. I wanted to solo it and started up the right side. I immediately started getting showered with buckets of spindrift that didn't seem to stop. It froze on my glasses and I couldn't see through them at all! In between spindrift showers I would look up between the thin slot between my glasses and forehead to locate my next tool placement. The ice was very hard, and my dullish horizontal frontpoints would not bite into the ice worth a shit--fucking sucked not being able to trust my foot placements. When I started the pitch my gloves were pretty wet, and shortly into it my gloves froze into an icy/spindrifty block. My hands were completely frozen like I have never felt before-very numb, extremely painful, and I couldn't move them. All this made for a very gripping climb up the step to say the least. I was very relieved to be at the top! I frantically tried to get blood and warmth into my hands, which felt completely fucked up. I sat at the top of the step for a bit just cussing as the blood rushed to my hands along with intense pain. Then I melted some snow and hydrated while Spencer and Tom climbed the step.


Me climbing the 2nd step:





We regouped and headed up together, encountering a mix of powder snow and ice.


Upper mountain above cathedral spire:



Me pullin onto the summit:





Spencer & Tom on top:



Myself on top:



I descended the south side while Spencer & Tom descended Cooper Spur back to their tent. Great guys to climb alongside and cool as hell. An awesome climb and adventure--one that I will always cherish.


Pre-climb at the Tilly Jane TH -- fresh and ready to go:



Post-climb at the T-Line parking lot -- completely knackered:






Gear Notes:

Ice tools, crampons w/ dull front points, helmet, snowshoes.

Edited by BrandonU

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Brandon, epic climb, nice trip report, my balls were in my mouth when you soloed that pitch of ice, crazy stuff. Get me your email address so I can send you my pics of the climb!

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Thanks all! Who would wanna go to Cancun for spring break when we have this?! Well maybe it would be nice afterward. :)


Thanks for the sweet pics Tom, I added a couple in here, love that sunrise pic of me on the traverse. :brew:



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Seems like everyone descends this route on the South Side and then shuttles back around. Are there other decent descent options? Cooper Spur?


Also, how long is the approach right now?


Thanks and nice work!

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the spur is an easy, albeit heady-at-first, descent - helps to have climbed up it previously :)

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That was what we where hoping for! Instead we found it steep (some sections ~60 degrees) and completely wind loaded getting blasted by the early afternoon sun. We had to solidly down climb about ~1,500 ft of the damn thing before we could walk/glissade. All in all it was doable, but definitely the least safe part of our day. That being said, the ski out to the Tilly Jane TH is much more enjoyable than the south side will ever be, even if you spend half of it on your ass like I did.

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Seems like everyone descends this route on the South Side and then shuttles back around. Are there other decent descent options? Cooper Spur?


Cooper Spur is the obvious choice for directness but as said above not always the safest due to avy danger and the chance of an uncontrolled bum slide on to the Elliot Glacier. Other options are Sunshine or Newton Clark.


I have gone down the South side and walked back to Cooper's Spur a couple of times. It is a bit of a walk but not so bad with firm snow. The last time it took us 12 hours (7 up - 5 down) after doing the NF. With skis it would be a blast.

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