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Is Mt Hood technical?

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Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby matai » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:56 pm

Please excuse my ignorance but I haven't found a good answer to this question. Is the South Side Hogsback route on Mt Hood technical in that we'd need to be roped up? It looks like it's actually shorter and less elevation gain than Adams. Just trying to find out if it'd be safe for my wife and I to climb without being roped up, we haven't had any training in 2 person crevasse rescue but we feel good about our self-arrest skills.

What do you think?

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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby robertjoy » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:14 pm

Mt Hood is usually climbed by experienced parties without using a rope. When a party has beginners, a rope travel is often used, but this may be to provide psychological security to the newbie, or "liability" protection to the leader: remember, roped travel on steep snow if you do not place pickets.
However, you may discover on climb day that conditions are "icy", you may find it quite discomforting to be without the option of using a rope. In brief, the route itself is generally "not technical", but under icy conditions use of a rope may be prudent to belay a climber down a short icy section, etc.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:39 pm

The only section that may require a rope is bypassing the bergschrund and the Pearly Gates if it is icy and requires running protection and/or anchored belays. If this is the case you will also need a couple of pickets and screws. Otherwise just crampon and ice axe skills are necessary; the 'schrund and Pearly Gates can be avoided by climbing to the climbers left.
Last edited by ExcitableBoy on Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby lcarreau » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:42 am

Hmmm ... is Mt Hood technical ?

That's like asking if my wife likes to look (shop?) for shoes in the Mall ..

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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby edl » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:03 am

This is a really good question, and I hope my answer doesn't come across as snarky, because it isn't intented to be. But if you have to ask the question if you should rope up, you should. Hood can be soloed in good conditions by competent climbers who are familiar with the mountain. But there can be spots where you absolutely do not want to fall. If it's icy, a self-arrest will not save you. Weather can turn bad, rocks can fall, ice can fall, blah, blah, blah. You know the drill.

So yeah, first time, go with someone who's done it before and rope up. Then the second time you'll have enough knowledge to judge for yourself if you feel comfortable soloing.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:58 am

Only rope up if you're going to run protection. No protection, no point... just risks you both instead of one of you.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby bananachips » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:07 pm

I was on a rope team of four once, above the bergschrund, heading for the Pearly Gates. We had no protection placed. One climber slipped and began a slide toward the bergschrund. The rest of the team arrested and was able to stop him before he went in. Without the rope, he likely would have fallen in. Just offering this to suggest that there are few absolutes. Assess the risk and make your own decisions based on your tolerance for that risk.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:33 pm

4 is a lot different than 2, on a rope. But what position was he in? What was the condition of the snow? And how likely is it that he would have ACTUALLY continued had everyone not arrested him?

Let us not forget probably the single most poignant example in living memory of the hazards of roped/unprotected climbing- http://www.pmru.org/pressroom/headlines ... 53002.html . On Hood, no less. Several serious injuries, three KIA, and a crashed Pavehawk... one guy took out three separate unprotected rope teams.

I just don't understand why, if you're going to take the time to rope, you wouldn't just go ahead and finish the job by slamming in a few pickets. And if the snow won't take pickets, then it's also very unlikely that a single person would have any trouble arresting.

You're right- there are no absolutes. And I've certainly climbing roped/unprotected- but never for sake of protection, just as a matter of convenience between belays. Still stupid, but at least there's no expectation of safety- to the contrary, we accept that if one goes, both die.

As an aside, the Bergschrund isn't under Pearly Gates right now... it's to the west. Won't be under the Gates again for probably another few years. And, I should add, it's this condition that's also made the Gates a technical climb- most guys are taking Old/Mazama chutes up these days.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:48 pm

Ben B. wrote:I just don't understand why, if you're going to take the time to rope, you wouldn't just go ahead and finish the job by slamming in a few pickets. And if the snow won't take pickets, then it's also very unlikely that a single person would have any trouble.


Good point. A rope with out either a running belay and intermediate points of protection (ice screws or pickets) or an anchored belay and intermediate points of protections only serves to bind everyone's fate on ground that is too steep and/or icy to self arrest on. If you bother to bring a rope, bring a couple pickets and screws.


Ben B. wrote:As an aside, the Bergschrund isn't under Pearly Gates right now... it's to the west. Won't be under the Gates again for probably another few years. And, I should add, it's this condition that's also made the Gates a technical climb- most guys are taking Old/Mazama chutes up these days.

Thanks for the conditions report. The last time I climbed hood was descending after a winter ascent of the North Face. Some friends the day before had V-threaded down the steep and icy Pearly Gates, at the bottom of which, at the time, was the bergschrund. We scrached our heads and walked down the dead easy Old/Mazama chute.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby bananachips » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:06 pm

Ben B. wrote:As an aside, the Bergschrund isn't under Pearly Gates right now... it's to the west. Won't be under the Gates again for probably another few years. And, I should add, it's this condition that's also made the Gates a technical climb- most guys are taking Old/Mazama chutes up these days.


This was during my first Hood climb, about 25 years ago. You're right, it looks different today.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby dskoon » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:35 pm

One other point I'd like to add to the discussion of roping/nonroping, etc. is that of utilizing a short-rope.
I first went up with Timberline Mountain Guides, and as a crew of beginners, we were all put on a short-rope w/out placing any pro. .
I'm not experienced enough to profess that this is the way to go, and one should also understand that we were trained, at least for a day prior, on self-arrest, walking with the rope on, etc, etc. Short roping seemed, and still does, like the way to go for a small group of beginners; this also presumes that the leader on the rope is someone experienced, and that the rest of the group is knowledgeable to some degree, of the aformentioned basic skill set.
Idea being that if one falls, the rest of the rope crew can stop him/her if they don't stop themselves first. Very minimal falling time due to the short rope.
I've witnessed others on Hood employing this method, and it seems inherently safer than some I've seen who have a good 15-30ft. of rope between climbers, w/out any protection placed.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:36 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:Thanks for the conditions report. The last time I climbed hood was descending after a winter ascent of the North Face. Some friends the day before had V-threaded down the steep and icy Pearly Gates, at the bottom of which, at the time, was the bergschrund. We scrached our heads and walked down the dead easy Old/Mazama chute.


When was that? You go right or left? Some guys got up on the Nordwand this winter, but it kept looking thin to me. I think after this warm spell, it'll be fat and ripe next weekend, though, and I'll finally be able to get on it.

I've only descended the Gates once- and I had to rappel 20' of near vertical ice. Fortunately, a mangled screw I'd left there a couple weeks before was still there, so I didn't even need to v-thread. I've descended Old Chute a time or two, but I almost always go Mazama Chute- not because it's easier (sometimes one is over the other) but just because it's closest. Last time I traversed the "knife edge," month or so ago, the Old Chute looked about as walk-up as you could ask for. 40 degrees max
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:15 pm

Ben B. wrote:
ExcitableBoy wrote:Thanks for the conditions report. The last time I climbed hood was descending after a winter ascent of the North Face. Some friends the day before had V-threaded down the steep and icy Pearly Gates, at the bottom of which, at the time, was the bergschrund. We scrached our heads and walked down the dead easy Old/Mazama chute.


When was that? You go right or left? Some guys got up on the Nordwand this winter, but it kept looking thin to me. I think after this warm spell, it'll be fat and ripe next weekend, though, and I'll finally be able to get on it.


This was back in 2006. We walked off skier's right. The Gates were pure ice wheras our descent route was dreamy, step plunging dense powder.
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Re: Is Mt Hood technical?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:15 pm

Oops- I meant right or left gully, on the north face
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