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| | |-+  Jan 19th, 2013 Mt. Hood Old Chute
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Author Topic: Jan 19th, 2013 Mt. Hood Old Chute  (Read 1049 times)
TAndrewSki
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Jan 19th, 2013 Mt. Hood Old Chute
« on: 01/22/13, 10:20 AM »

Started skinning up from Timberline Lodge just before 1am, I wanted to be off the summit and out of the ice fall danger before the sun had time to warm things up too much, and I'm a little out of shape so I gave myself some extra time.

Temps at the lot were approaching 50 degrees, and skinning was fast and easy until just above the Palmer lift (~9000ft) where by that time the winds had picked up, and temperatures had dropped into the lower 30's. At this point, I decided to strap my skis to my pack and switch to crampons as the snow field was a mixture of glare ice, with pockets of wind deposited snow. Initially, the ice crust was breakable, and I was plunging mid shin into the snow (snow shoes would have been great here). A few hundred vertical feet later, the crust and the snow underneath firmed up, making for great crampon conditions.

As I rounded Crater Rock and attained the Hogsback, I decided to leave my skis on the ridge and forgo my plan to ski from the top. With sunrise approaching and the sound of ice shards trickling down the slopes due to the unseasonably warm temperatures, the idea of getting to the top and back down to the Hogsback safely was more appealing than skiing the 800ft of chunky wind effected rime ice that awaited me.

(Once the sun hit the ice, the chunks became larger and larger by the minute, planning on being out of the fall areas before 9am would be recommended)

After a quick break, I fueled up, took some pictures and headed back down to where I left my skis. By this time there was a line of parties making there way up the Mountain, the Mt. Hood super highway was open. As I was in no hurry to get down, and with the sun quickly warming the temps into the low 50's according to my key chain thermometer, I decided to have breakfast, work on my tan, and let mother nature work some magic on that icy snow.

By around 11am I decided it was time to head out, so I strapped on my skis, and hoped for the best. What I got was ~2000 vertical feet of glare, and wind effected melt/freeze ice. Not that I really expected spring conditions, but I was hoping. After descending below Crater Rock I traversed right to try and find bigger stashes of wind deposited snow that I was hoping would have collected on the Western aspects. Luckily for me, I was right, and found beautifully warmed soft wind deposit all the way down to where I had to cut right to get back to the resort.

Even though the first part of the descent rattled my teeth a bit, it was a beautiful day on the mountain, and finding the stash of smooth stuff leading to the groomers on the resort made for a fun and speedy descent back to the car. No regrets lugging my skis all the way up there what so ever. Smiley


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