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[TR] Mt Hood - Sunshine Route [Slight Eastern Variation] 5/17/2014

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Trip: Mt Hood - Sunshine Route [slight Eastern Variation]


Date: 5/17/2014


Trip Report:

Hi-dee ho everybody!


Had the excellent opportunity to do a new personal route on Hood, and double bonus for it being my first adventure on the north side. I know how many of you guys come here for some photo beta; so I decided to deliver first and then details of the actual trip below.


The Sunshine Route as we did it, with a bit of a direct-line cut-over above the bergschrund step.



Here's a photo of the upper part of the mountain from below the Snow Dome after the Elliot Glacier crossing.



Here's a photo of what Cooper Spur / North Routes currently look like. [As of May 17th, 2014 around 9am]



Here's a pan over to the Elliot Headwall[As of May 17th, 2014 around 9am]



Here's a glimpse of upper Elliot Glacier.



So, what I've been told and read about so far about the Sunshine Route before actually doing it, is that it's barely any more difficult than the south side / old chute route... except with a glacier crossing and just a bergschrund step, no big deal. We decided to cover it in a single push, up and over, and was looking forward to a big long but easy day.


So, we[team of 4 total] packed appropriately: harness, helmet, crampons, 5 pickets, ice axe, ice tool[you know, just in case, and mostly for looks :/ ], 60m rope, some cordalette, and a hand-full of alpine draws each.


We left the car at midnight from the Tilly Jane Parking Lot / Cooper Spur Ski Resort [Cloud Cap Road still closed] and began our hike up. Made it to Tilly Jane campground in no time, and navigated through the forest and darkness without a single hitch up and out of timberline. [if in doubt, look for the tallest ridges to the east of the stream and keep going UP].


Made it out past the shelter[couldn't see it since it was dark and possibly buried in snow, but I knew it was nearby from earlier adventures] and did a long traverse down to the Elliot Glacier. The snow was ultra firm, and went ahead and put on crampons there as we made our way down to the glacier around 7300 feet.


We roped up, and crossed the Elliot directly over towards the opposite area between rocks, with only two visible crevasses to cross, both of which were only 2 inches wide, but ran several visible feet. Finished the crossing by 4am.


Then hiked UP towards the snow dome for what felt like a really long time. No trouble there, until we got above snow dome and hit one or two extra-icy sections; we simply did quick prussik belays since we still had them on our 4-person rope team. Guess now might be a good time to get that extra tool out....[good thing we brought them!!!]


We were mostly aiming for the bergschrund to the right of the icefall and directly upwards from snow dome, since we thought our best success for crossing would be somewhere there from our vantage point.


Well, when we got up there, we couldn't find any stable bridges, but we got a good look of the inside of the 'schrund. Approximately 10' to the back wall, and anywhere from 20' deep[shallow side] to way way more. This was significantly more of a danger we anticipated. However, being prepared, we decided to go with the narrowest step we can find[and see below and around], and were able to protect a potential 'schrund fall with a picket dead-man anchor directed uphill before the crossing.


Our buddy stepped up and over without any issues, and we belayed him out until he built another anchor on the other side [sierra / mid-clips were working great in these conditions], and we started running belays as we crossed up.


We ended going directly upwards between those 3 massive rock piles, it was fairly high-angle for what we were used to,

45 / 50 degree with the 'schrund opened up below, and so we kept to a running belay; prussik-belaying-in the rope completely whenever we ran out of pickets.


Made it above the rock piles, and decided that we had enough of the belayed pitches [on our 4th and counting] and made the decision to try to traverse directly to the right to the Queen's Chair ridge. This was especially affirmed to be the right idea once we realized that the snow here was fairly facetted at 10k since there hasn't been any thaw/freeze cycles this high up, and any anchors above this point would just be a joke.[super fluff non-consolidatable snow] After a few cycles of white-out to blue openings in weather, we made the traverse over the ridge, and had bluebird sky for the rest of the day. We ended up summitting at 1:15pm, and went down the south side where we had our other car parked. Super soft post-hole city and at the car by 4pm, a nice 16 hour adventure all and all.


This route was significantly more technical than anticipated...but we made due with zero issues, some good on-the-fly decision making, and generally extremely happy we all had similar good training up to this point.


If you guys have any questions about conditions or looking for any other photos, let me know.


Thanks for reading and see you out there!!


Gear Notes:





5 Pickets

60m Rope

Ice Axe

Ice Tool


Didn't Use

Ice Screws

Edited by w21irving

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Thanks for sharing, man.....that looks fun. I was up on Cooper Spur last week, and I kept looking over at Sunshine, thinking that one would be next for me.The bergshrund crossing sounds quite exciting right now.


I love the beauty and relative solitude of the north side!

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very fun to do as a big loop too, up the sunshine then back down the spur - did it in 100+ conditions in june years ago and recall it was verticalish slush-swimming on the way back down :)

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