"Easy" Hood SummitWe first visited Mt. Hood on March 6 & 7, 2006. This happened to be the start of the heavy-hitting late season storms to pound the Cascades, which continued well into April. Two day-hikes on the mountain - which consisted of whiteout climbing no further than the top of the Palmer chair lift.
So on April 30 Carol and I arrived at Timberline again, sleeping in the back of the car in the lower parking lot. Our 3 AM wake-up time easily came and went, with us finally getting out of our bags at 0500. It was pretty cold and windy coming through our slightly opened windows.
At 0700 we were underway. No need for snowshoes. Climbing to the top of the Palmer chair lift, we had a constant, fairly strong wind from the west. My left leg was considerably colder than my right, including cold toes on the left foot, which virtually never happens to me. I must say, I wasn't very motivated, but Carol wanted to go at least to Crater Rock, so I did the "manly" thing, and trudged along.
After getting to Crater Rock I finally got excited. It was clear the only thing keeping us from the summit was our own desires, and at this point I wanted it. So lets go around the rock and see the Hogback. Then -OK, lets go for it. We went up climber's right through the Pearly Gates. Didn't know which top was the top, so went to both, staying clear of the corniced ridge between.
The wind continued the whole way. The upper skies were clear, though there were constant low clouds below Timberline. Weather forecast had been for 10% probability of precipitation (PoP) with winds at 25 mph, changing the next day to 0% PoP for the remainder of the week.
While there was ample tracks in the snow from the weekend climbers (must have been 50 sign-in sheets in the Climber's Cave), there was only 5 or 6 of us out this day. The ski lifts never did open, probably due to the winds.
Snow was mostly crusty top layer, great for cramponning. If self-arrest wasn't quick, I expect there'd be a good ride.
The bergschrund was open on climber's left about 50 yards from the Hogback ridge. Story I heard is that a boarder fell in a couple days ago, probably opened it up. On climber's right was another opening about 50 yards away.
On our way back down the Hogback, we were pummeled with the most ferocious winds of the day. We had to hunker down and wait, easily two to three minutes at a time. Get up to take a handful of steps, and get pummelled again. Like the mountain gods were telling us "there ain't no way your getting down buddy". Probably took us three times as long to cross the Hogback as normally would.
By the time we got around Crater Rock, the lower mountain was intermittently socked in with clouds, obscuring our view of the lift at times.
My legs were beat the whole way down, doing the "sewing machine" thing anytime I stopped.
Finally back at the car, we changed clothes, signed back in at the Climber's Cave, and enjoyed a nice dinner at Timberline Lodge, a drink at the Rams Head bar, then back to bed at the Hotel Suburban (our car).
Temperature: My cheap REI thermometer registered between 23 to 25 degrees the whole day, morning and afternoon.
0700 - Start at Timberline parking lot
1340 - Summit
1700 - Back at car
Crampons, ice axe, balaclava, goggles.