It's always hard to write up a report having not made the summit. You did a very accurate job recounting the obstacles we faced. I'm really glad I got to know Redwic on this trip.
... that I was the only one not feeling sick. Strangely, the higher we went, the stronger I felt on this trip. But there was no way I was going to leave you guys and continue on. We were a team, and I would rather turn around with the summit virtually in sight than take a chance of somebody getting hurt. We made the right decision (to turn around), and for that I think this trip report might be helpful for other Mount Hood climbers. We'll go back and summit this mountain together, sometime. It was great meeting Gimpilator, as well, as I really like his attitude and trust his judgment.
Great job guys and making good decsions. "Da Hood" is not forgiving- All of my family lives in Sandy, Boring and Gresham and pretty much hate the mountain above the ski lifts.
All my best,
You guys made the right decision. I'm just wondering....Does anyone know if this is a common problem on Hood? I remember smelling them myself, but felt no ill effects. Do the fumaroles sometimes emit something more noxious that causes problems?
I think the fumaroles were extra potent this time because of several key reasons:
1) A LOT of snowmelt during the week leading up to the trip.
2) That snowmelt then filtered into the fumaroles, causing snow-sulfur reactions... Hydrogen Sulfide (i.e. Rotten Egg Smell) and Sulfur Dioxide (i.e. Burnt Matches Smell).
3) Relatively no wind during our climb, which meant the gases just lingered in the crater once released.
4) If someone is already feeling minor effects of altitude sickness, the Hydrogen Sulfide fumes brought out the effects even more than normal. Some people are affected more than others.
These reasons are all speculation on my part, but I do recall turning around, during our descent, and seeing a haze looming in the crater/Hogsback area; it could have been the gases.
I guess this is better than intoxicated SPers gassing on Hood!
As far as whether this is a common problem, I think it's pretty uncommon to be bad enough to turn people around, although apparently it can happen. Way back someone went into one of the fumeroles and died. Don't try that one!
You would be surprised. This seems to be the "dirty little secret" about Mount Hood, and not many people seem to mention the effects of the fumarole smells much. However, I have now visited Mount Hood multiple times, and each time I encountered people who felt very sick from the smells and/or who turned around because of them. It happens more often than what is mentioned on SP, which is why this TR has some good value.