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Author Topic: July 3, 2011, Mt. Hood circumnav  (Read 2399 times)

Posts: 81

July 3, 2011, Mt. Hood circumnav
« on: 07/05/11, 11:38 AM »

Weather and schedules aligned and we started skinning from the now paved Timberline mud lot at 5am. 
Palmer/Zig Zag to Reid
We headed directly for illumination rock, across the ski area.  From the highway, it looked like it would be straightforward to hit the Reid from below illumination rock, and it would save 300vf.  It wasn’t as simple as that.  We ended up wasting two hours looking for a place to cross onto the Reid.  It ended up being at 8050’, about 850’ below our high point.  Looking from the other side, that and illumination saddle are the only reasonable places to gain the Reid.  We were frustrated at having lost all that time and energy, and we had barely started.  It was a bad sign that we were already talking about how bad the hike to Tilly Jane would be or if we could hitch from meadows.  But we decided to keep going.
Reid to Sandy
The drop to the Reid was short, but really steep.  I skied it, but the other guys used boot crampons.  The only time boot crampons were used.  In every case, with the help of ski crampons a few times, we found that skis were more efficient than booting.  We traversed and climbed the Reid and realized it was only 300vf gain to get back on course.  We felt much better about things.  We descended to 7600 to cross Yocum Ridge.  As we descended we found the worst snow on the route.  I almost bit it in the variable icy sloppy mess.  One of the guys did crash, but luckily didn’t have his toes locked in.  I realized I still had my toes locked in and felt pretty lucky.  I made a mental note to lock the toes as sparingly as possible.
Sandy to Glisan
We efficiently descended and traversed the whole way across the Sandy to our crossing point of 7300’ on Cathedral ridge.
Glisan to Ladd
We descended and traversed a bit, then skinned up to the ridge crossing at 8000’.
Ladd to Coe to Elliot
Crossing the Ladd and Coe were pretty straightforward, ascending to about 8200’ near pulpit rock, descending on skins to about 7900’, then ascending to 8200’ to gain the snow dome ridge.  On snow dome, we ascended to about 8800’.
Elliot to Newton Clark
It was neat to cross the Elliot above the seracs because from below, it doesn’t look like a good idea.  But once at 8800’, there is a nice flat smooth bench.  We ripped skins and descended to about 8300’ to cross onto the base of Cooper Spur, bypassing a potential higher crossing point due to mushy snow.  The snow was still pretty mushy where we crossed, and the climb up to tie in rock was soft.  We took it really slowly.  Once on Cooper Spur we skinned straight up the spur to about 8800’ and transitioned yet again.
Newton Clark to White River
Our slow pace helped us at this point, because the snow was in the shade and firm for the descent/traverse to 8400’, covering 1 mile almost effortlessly.  At this point I didn’t want to ascend anymore.  But we had to.  We did a half ass ascent up to 8800’, descended to 8600’, then trudged up to 8900’ for the white river drop in point.  Our laziness made it harder on us again.
White River to Palmer
We were out of water and hungry and tired.  The wind was howling at the top with crunchy rhime formations.  10vf below was 1’ deep mush.  We ski cut it and were a little surprised at the amount of entrained snow and speed of the sluff, making it all the way to the bottom, spilling into a crevasse.  It was weird that everywhere else the snow was icy and hard, but in this little gully it was deep and mushy.  Descending this rotten gully was a bit challenging, but way better than scrambling on steep scree.  Once on the white river, the extra effort paid off, as we were able to descend/traverse directly out of it at around 8500’ with no climbing.  There was a steep section that had to be traversed, probably 60deg, that was nerve racking, but other than that straightforward. 
Palmer to parking lot
Frozen corduroy.  Arrived at 8:30pm.

My GPS said our total ascent was 6750’ and mileage 13.3 miles.  The most interesting part though was our moving time of 6.5 hours and our stopped time of 9 hours.  Our initial mistake cost us two hours.  The rest of the time was melting snow, eating, transitioning, and figuring out where to go.  It was a neat trip because we had to figure out where to go.  But that portion also took a lot of time and energy.  Our transitions were also really slow.  If we do it again, it would be reasonable to shave off 4 hours.  Maybe more if we ride the lift up!

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« Last Edit: 07/05/11, 04:00 PM by steve_f » Logged

Posts: 2432

Re: July 3, 2011, Mt. Hood circumnav
« Reply #1 on: 07/05/11, 04:24 PM »

Very nice TR and photos.  It's been awhile since I've seen a TR on the circumnavigation.  I assume the coverage on Snowdome is excellent.  Figuring out where to go does make a trip enjoyable and each season the routes change based on the weather and snow pack. 

Posts: 85

Re: July 3, 2011, Mt. Hood circumnav
« Reply #2 on: 07/06/11, 04:39 PM »

Nice Trip.

The last pic is Snowdome from Cooper Spur looking across Elliot? 

Stupid Hurts...Ask Me How I Know...

Posts: 6

Re: July 3, 2011, Mt. Hood circumnav
« Reply #3 on: 07/06/11, 09:34 PM »

Yup.  You can just make out our path across the bench at the top of the Elliot, and tracks down it in the foreground.

Posts: 479

Re: July 3, 2011, Mt. Hood circumnav
« Reply #4 on: 07/06/11, 10:02 PM »

Nice report!  Looks like fun!  Coverage on the north side of the mountain looks excellent!

There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty." - Theodore Roosevelt
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