Back packs and parking lots.
Nine Members of the Obsidians outdoor club made the drive from Eugene,Oregon to the parking lot at Timberline lodge on Mt Hood for a twelve A.M. start.
That bieng agreed, six of our group decide to meet in Sandy,oregon at the Calimity janes burger bar. We loaded up on protien,carbs,and regaled each other on climbs past. The other members, our trip leaders wayne,mark and doug would end up arriving closer to the time of departure.
The six of us In three vehicles head for the mountain, in hopes of getting a little sleep before the climb. Five of our group of six have not summited Hood. The first timer hopefuls are myself,juli,chance,kim,and craig. The sixth person roy has been to the top once before.
We retire for the night about 9:30 pm. I do recall from the trip briefing that you really don"t get any sleep before the climb. I know why now, I thought it would be the usual anxiety and butterflies.
I am getting a little sleep I think, but there is a commotion a brewing outside of the vehicle. There are automobiles milling about, Headlamps from all angles backpacks and gear banging on the pavement,(Damn) whats up!
The Portland climbing community and other Hood savy folks all show up just before the climb. Ok so sleep is just not going to happen so I join the commotion and start tossin gear around.
We get are selves put together and meet at the climbers cave to get are head count and sign in. Were all here so It's time to move out.
As we approached the top of the palmer the wind and the cold intensifies,It becomes apparent at least for the moment that the wind is going to be a factor.
We duck in next to the snow cat shed to get out of the wind and so did the rest of the hood climbers at this point of the climb. It was a good spot to layer back up but a bit crowded,We decide to proceed upward In to the wind. I notice it also appears to be much darker then down lower,with Head lamp on we huddle up into a tighter group.
The slope becomes steep and a bit froze as we approach 9,000ft Time for crampons. At this moment the trip takes a bit of a turn. There were four of us including myself that rented boots and crampons from R.E.I. Three of us have been climbing long enough now I'ts about time we do own plastic boots. I think this incident woke us up to this reality. The problem I humbly admit is I and the rest of us should have made sure the crampons worked with the boots. I personally was lazy, never had a problem with this before, I new how to adjust them I did not give it a second thought. Ok R.E.I should better monitor there gear before renting it.
Realtime dictates we must improvise now! It is 2:00am the wind is a howling and It's colder than shiiit. The malfunction of the crampons are that the strapping on all four pairs have been shortened by previous users. We dive into are packs and pull out webbing,perlon and string whatever we have and start rigging up a by pass to tighten them down.
My fingers are numb and this just sucks.
We finally fix are dilemma and move on. As we move up the mountain we have varying complaints of feeling sick, falty gear"suprize" and general fatigue. It seems for a time the climb is going to disinegrate(crash and burn). Better minds will prevail, we get a motivational pep talk. The sun will be up, you will begin to feel better,this is Hood you know you want it. O.K, were all back on the same page. We take a quick check of everybody,s equipment "Game on"! The only thing left to contend with before the fun begins is to breath deep as we pass along the devils kitchen fumeroles.(nothing like the fresh smell of sulpher in the morning, yee ha) on are way to the hogsback.
it is a good time for a break. We hydrate, force some nourishment down,rearrange clothing and get into are harnesses. We flake the ropes out, clip into are positions on the ropes and wait are turn. The going is slow,the wind is blowin hard. There is a hold up appears to be in the pearly gates up around the corner. Im on the second rope middle position, im calm and content with the moment. I know personally I have put a lot of physical effort out and am not in a hurry. The shrund is pretty awesome there is a crack a foot and a half wide going the through the length of the snow bridge,but still solid. There are climbers on the west crater rim variation "good idea", plenty of solo climbers on self belay mode coming up and down.
The third rope is growing weary of the wait. Mark decides to take his rope team up along side are rope. We all eventually have to side step are rope teams over to allow decsending parties to have right away coming out of the gates. It all clears out and we resume are rope positions and acsend through the gates.We take the left coulier seems the popular way to go. I hear from above, the summits in sight. The climb is steepest at this point,going through the gates.
It would still take a half hour to summit due to thin air and lots of little rests. We arrive on the sun washed summit, high fives and back pats go around.
To the north Mt Adams and majestic Mt Rainer rise above the emerald green forests below. To the south Stately Mt Jefferson and the snowy three sisters rise above there respective green robes.
We bieng a club, reward are climbers who by reaching the summit of Hood have climbed all of oregons ten major volcanic peaks.
Today the honor went to kim sawyer congratulations! The climb is annual and is designed to honor the climbers who assist in are mountaineering clinic held in april.
The climb is only half done at the summit. we refocus and proceed to downclimb back through the pearly gates. It begins to bottleneck again, we decide to set pickets for the down climb. We negotiate the busy Hogsback and the major part of the climb comes to an end.
We glissade as much as possible and return safe and sound back to are cars. One of these days I will bring my skis for the descent below the hogsback. The climb up and down had taken us from 12:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eight hours up four hours down. A succesful day had by all.