Trip SummaryLocation: Mt. Hood, Cascades, Oregon
Elevation: 11,249 ft.
Personnel: Luke and I
Trip ReportMt. Hood is about 50 miles east of Portland and is home to 12 "glaciers"/snow fields. After camping in the forest below the lodge, we departed from the Timberline Lodge parking lot on the southern flanks of the volcano at 6:30 a.m. The trail literally goes straight up across several glacial moraines, volcanic debris and snow fields. We reached Crater Rock at 9:30 am. To the east of Crater Rock the Coleman Glacier emerges and carves its way down the southeastern slopes. At Crater Rock, we had to make a decision.
The traditional Hogsback route heads up a glacial ridge, up a rocky, steep couloir, through the pearly gates towards the peak. Unfortunately, in the summer this route becomes very dangerous as rocks become dislodged by the continual nightly freezing and daily thawing. The alternate route heads up a steep ice face up to the summit ridge. Below the ice face are deep crevasses. A fall on the ice face would result in a fall into one of the crevasses. In fact, the day before our climb a body was recovered from one of the crevasses. Naturally we chose the ice face route. We strapped on our crampons, readied our ice axes and headed up. From Crater Rock, it took us 1 hour to reach the summit. The ice face was not easy navigating and I would use ropes on a future climb. The peak offered views of the subduction zone volcanoes Three Sisters and Mt. McLoughlin to the south and Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier to the north. I popped a can on pringles and enjoyed the view.
The descent on the ice face was more dicey than the ascent. A storm was blowing in from the west and down climbing isn't a climber's preference but it was our only option. Luckily we were off the ice and on solid ground by the time the storm blew in. We glissaded almost all the way down to our car. The mountain behind us was covered in clouds. The trip took a measly 6.5 hours.