Mount Hood, Hand in a Cast

Mount Hood, Hand in a Cast

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Apr 6, 1980
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring

Mt. Hood "With My Hand in a Cast" to see St. Helens erupt

This is my first post on this site and since my "prime climbing days" are over, my trip logs will be a bit dated. Funny though, I get called out every month now to do search and rescues for the younger adventurers who get stuck, lost or injured. When I can get some of my photos digitized I'll try to up load them.

My friend at the post office asked if we had time for one more run if we could get down to the lift before it closed. Without even looking at my watch I was off. We chose different runs and I came flying out onto the moguls (does anyone remember in the late seventies when big moguls were the rage? I was going flat out and when I hit the moguls I flew over the tops of a few and hit the face of one in an explosion. Broke my right thumb but put my skis back on and off I was. Skied up just as the operator was closing it and my friend now in line begged to let me in. On the lift chair up, I took off my glove and there was a broken thumb..."why did you get on the lift" I was asked. To get in one last run was the answer.

Took the next day off to see the doctor who promptly put on a cast on my forearm to the thumb. Returned to the Post Office where they said I would be off till the cast came off because I couldn't sort mail. My supervisor tried to get me put on suspension because he said I broke it on purpose. Seems the day before going skiing I said I was gonna break my leg (I was just joking) so I could go up and see Mt. St. Helens erupting.

With two weeks off, off I went for Washington. Stopped at my high school physics teacher's ranch in Oregon on the way up where his 15-year-old son Barry was on spring break. He said it would be good for him to go with so off we went. I decided we should go up Mt. Hood on the way up to see the eruptions from that vantage point. I saw this thing that said the Hood lodge rents crampons and axe so we drove through a blizzard and were told at the desk they don't start renting them till April 15 because they were busy renting skis and the climbing stuff was still "in the attic".

We did an emergency run back down to a town called Gretchen where we were able to rent axe and crampons for Barry. Drove back through this raging storm which stopped once we reached the Timberline Lodge parking lot. By that time it was about midnight so we sat by the lodge's fireplace napping and waiting to do an early morning ascent. During this time I showed Barry some arrest stuff in the event of a fall. To keep my right hand/arm dry and warm I pulled a stuff sack them and off we went.

The snow was perfect above the lifts, wind packed and easy going to nearly the summit (via Hogsback Rt). The climb up was uneventful being basicly a continuous line to the summit (the crevasse was at that time pretty much filled in). As luck was still not with us, we remained in and out of the clouds all the way up. We could see only a few hundred feet during our summit stay waiting for a break to see St Helens until we could stay no longer cause of the cold. Yep, when we returned to the lodge the sky cleared up. If something happened to me I don't know what Barry would have done.

ps We later went to St. Helens and after sneaking past the Red Zone and scoping out the eruptions that were almost on a half hour "Old Faithful" timetable for two days, we decided we could climb high on the west side (up wind out of the ash fall), wait for an eruption and then zoom up for a summit look before the next spasm. While sneaking in over clear cut areas, we tried very hard to not step on the newly planted seedings (they were later wiped clean and covered with ash in the May 18th blast). We got caught by the sheriff crossing the road to Spirit Lake and were driven out...that might have saved our foolish lives!

After parting with Barry, I drove to Moscow, Idaho to visit an old Air Force friend that I would later go to Denali with who was going to school at UI. We went rock climbing at this place and I was able to do the top crux of one climb by wedging my cast in an off width crack.

When the Post Office later heard about my "exploits" and saw the photographs while on sick leave they were... (not nice).

Dumb thing to have done? Sure, but we were young!


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