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joshinoly21

Question about climbing Mt Hood

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Hello everyone! Me and a buddy have been waiting for a good chance to climb Hood and we were hoping this sunday would pan out well for a summit. Forecast called for mostly clear skies all day but has recently changed to 20% chance of light snow before 10 am and then mostly clear skies after.

 

What do you guys think about climbing hood with a slight chance of light snow? I am wondering if this slight chance of snow will potentially compromise visibility up there to an unreasonable extent. (also a later start might be an option so that we summit around 10am and can possibly get some clear sky with some views)

 

Other than that the snow pack from December storms seems to be consolidating quite well and with a close eye on avalanche forecast I think a summit may be very doable.

 

Any insight on climbing with slight chance of light snow is much appreciated! Any insight on climbing hood in these current conditions right now will also be appreciated as I have not found any recent trip reports after the storms. Thanks!

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In general climbing with a slight precip prob forecast or small accumulation is feasible. A big risk will be increasing avy danger from any new storm or wind slabs or the effect of increasing load on the existing snowpack. It doesn't take a lot of new precip coupled with wind transport to make for dangerous slabs. Your other main risk is losing visibility. Whenever you go out you should be prepared to get back in limited/no vis. This means knowing the headings you need to safely back down. Mt Hood south side is not a place to navigate by dead reckoning. What seems straightforward in good vis is actually quite deceiving in a white out.

 

For this particular case I'm not sure what forecast you're looking at. Right now I see chances for light snow all day Saturday. NWS says little to no accumulation but mountain-forecast is calling for 5-8" depending on elevation. If you want to climb Sunday pay very close attention to actual accumulation totals. If precip comes through as forecasted on M-F climbing in the early hours on Sunday could be dangerous.

 

As always have a plan B and allow for your objective to change with changes in conditions and your observations.

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Diepj gave you the polite response, but I think you may need something a bit more blunt.

 

Seeking advice from the internet for a winter climb several days out isn't a great plan. The forecasts are quite prone to change this far out, and may change right before your eyes on the mountain. It is the winter, after all.

 

And, if you didn't already know that....

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Thanks Diepj! I found the forecast you were looking at. I am seeing at least 6" of possible accumulation on Saturday. I will take your advise on this one. Unless precipitation reduces drastically for saturday I will be looking into new objectives for sunday. thanks!

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Thanks Jason, but I see nothing wrong with a plan that includes seeking advise from any recourse that I have available to me even if that includes the internet (which is actually a very rich recourse for anybody interested in snow travel).

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climbing the s side of hood in potentially iffy weather is pretty safe, assuming you have good clothes, basic common sense, and (very importantly, especially if straying above the top of the miracle mile) a gps/altimeter and knowledge of how to use them

 

when the weather's really shitty, it's pretty hard to screw up as you usually get demoralized before getting very high - if you're near the summit and the visibility goes away, you need to be able to not freak out and follow your gps/altimeter back down to the lift and the simple hand-line that takes you back to timberline

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assuming you haven't marched around much on the mountain, even just hiking up a few thousand feet through challenging conditions (wind/snowing/deep snow) is plenty of adventure and pretty fun ('specially w/ the right medications on board) - it's hard to appreciate a summit you can't see anyway :)

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Josh- the internet is also a good resource for advice from jackasses such as myself. Have a good trip.

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al gore invented the internet

 

al gore is from the south

 

everyone in the south is a redneck jackass

 

therefore, redneck jackasses invented the internet :)

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if you're near the summit and the visibility goes away, you need to be able to not freak out
+100

 

In poor visibility, do NOT follow the natural fall line down from the summit. That will tend to lead you over onto the Lower Zigzag glacier and a possible fatal fall off the top of Mississippi Head.

This is true, but here's a navigation tip if you make this error...

If the visibility is even ten feet (it can be zero) you can actually use this feature as a navigation aid. In actuality if you follow the fall line you will likely encounter Big or Little Zig Zag Canyon, instead of Mississippi Head, which is several hundred yards to the north. Where people usually get in trouble is they drop down into one of those canyons, then continue west down into the trees and eventually get cliffed out. Instead, when you reach the corniced edge of either canyon, go south (skiers left) perpendicular to the fall line. If you are on skis just stay on as shallow a line as possible and you will hit the lift station at the bottom of the Magic Mile ski run.

I should add that if you are on skis in very poor visibility I have found it is better to just stop and not move if you think the visibility will soon improve (visibility often comes and goes during a storm) as continuing on slowly and blindly risks falling into a blowhole.

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