Ski Mountaineering Summit of Mount Hood

For a July long weekend adventure Sam suggested we hit up Rainier, Shawn countered with Mount Adams, we settled on Hood. It was our first time backcountry skiing at Hood. However, at the last minute Sam had to back out due to a injured knee from the Seattle Rock n Roll marathon. Shawn and I being pretty new to this scoured the Internet for info and I got in touch with my friend who had just climbed Hood. Sounded like typical departure time was midnight, the standard route is on the south side out of Timberline Lodge, you wanted to be out of the summit area by 10 am because of snow and rock fall hazard, and there shouldn’t be much crevasse action.

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To be on the safe side though I picked up a 60 m half rope at REI before we headed out (we spent most of our time at camp debating whether we should cut it in half, leave it, or do a 40/20 cut.) Shawn grabbed a map and compass.

We left Seattle Saturday morning and I ended up messing up on how to get there so we took the long way via Hood River and ended up at Timberline Lodge Saturday afternoon. We had been planning on camping at the Alpine campground which was closed (likely due to snow), so we had to camp down lower at the Trillium Lake sno-park beside a group of fathers and sons outfitted for a massive hunting adventure (guns, boats, bow and arrows, smoker, the works!)

All our research pointed to a midnight departure but that didn’t really jive with our plan to ski down in spring conditions so we set our alarms for 2 am, packed up our camp site as the party kids were going to bed, and headed back to Timberline. After registering at the climbers cave we headed up the climbers route out of Timberline Lodge at 3:15 am. It was super windy the whole time but clear skies. Kinda eerie with no moon and a ton of snow cats ripping around working on the terrain park. After a couple thousand feet of vertical Shawn was having a tough time since he didn’t have ski crampons so we decided to put our skis on our back and boot it instead. Amazing how much easier skinning is!

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When we got up to Hogsback it looked like everyone was headed climbers left, we decided to break against convention and took climbers right around and above the bergschrund, which I believe is the Pearly Gates. It was a fun route!

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We topped out around 10 am and napped for a few hours. Things didn’t really soften up top so we climbed down 100 feet of the “old chutes” before putting our skis on and suffered back down some icy snow to just above Crater Rim which is where the skiing got good.

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Looks like we were the only fools to carry our skis all the way up. We did see a lot of skiers on the way down. I’m guessing they went up to Crater Rim and then turned around. The skiing was awesome down from Crater Rim through Timberline. We had a blast!

Now if in January when JJ and I skied at the Timberline resort you had told me I’d summit Mount Hood this year, I would have said you were crazy! Glad to see there are still some surprises left.

Next rainy day I’ll need to dig up the helmet came footage and string it together.


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