See Brian Jenkins's entry below. We took the longest line on Reid Headwall, which normally maxes out at 50° snow. Some of the high angle (60+°) traverses and gullies we climbed through due to ice fall wouldn't usually be done. I also think that the mixed section we did indicates that this route is now out of condition for the season. The bergschrund crossing won't last much longer either. This route has much more sustained steepness than Leuthold Couloir or Wy'east.
A gorgeous day in the mountains. Beginning with a very non-alpine start (7:30am) we were planning on only skinning up part of the way and then skiing down. However when we got to the hogsback the snow conditions were good and we ended up climbing to the summit. Conditions were calm and very warm - and there were surprisingly few people on the mountain. After descending the hogsback and sitting to remove my crampons, we watched as a skiier descended from the summit and set off an avalanche below the west crater rim. Luckily he was not hurt but the sight of all that snow crashing into a smoking fumarole was a bit scary. Just below the hogsback we strapped our skis back on and enjoyed an incredible descent back to the parking lot.
Reached the summit in a whiteout with wind and horizontal snow. Rime was forming on everything, including goggles, and my gloves kept freezing to my ice axe. Snow conditions were about two feet of unconsolidated lying atop a week-old melt-freeze crust. Quite a bit of wind-transport was going on in the Pearly Gates. If it were sunny this could have created a big avalanche concern later in the day.
Left at 2am. Skies clear as report stated. We were the only party that we could see, and only one more in the Timberline parking lot (going on Wy'East).
Snow was perfect for crampons, a quiet and chilly night for climbing: as mentioned, perfect!
Our team of three reached about 9500, just below Crater rock, where the fun would have begun--however one of the members was not feeling well, and so an "executive" decision on my part turned us back.
After a rest, the trip down uneventful, we arrived at Timberline at 9:30am. Despite the _perfect_ missed summit weather (as I saw on the way down) I still had lots of fun.
started at 5:30am, a little later than i wanted to. very windy almost the entire way. the cevasse is open both sides of the ridge. beautiful view from the top. not too crowded. great conditions on the way down.
We took the lower approach, crossing the White River Canyon at 7200 ft, after doing a recon on the upper approach a few days earlier. Once on the lower Wy'east face we found huge suncups and nieve penitentes. Higher on the face snow conditions were much better. From the east crater rim to the summit the route is melting rapidly. Soon you'll be scrambling over rotten rock on this exposed last part of the route. Right now it's covered with a rotten snow/ice hybrid. Get on this route early in the morning while the final part is still frozen.
I took a heavy pack intending to do a "high camp" 2 day climb. Once there, I instead decided to just bring my "golite" summit pack and do the single day Timberline direct to the summit via the Hogback. Beautiful weather (almost too warm but the softend snow was better on the knees on the lower portion of the descent), not too many climbers going up on a Thursday night/Friday morning , nice company - Mark, son Kyle, Steven. Long climb (reached summit at 7:30 am) - nice exposure on a beautiful mountain glazed in ice - stinky volcanoe though and the Forest Service did NOT resupply the Bluebags at Timberline self register >:-0
Went up intending to do Wy'east, but bad weather and an out of condition upper crossing of White River Glacier convinced us to do WCR instead. We took the steeper variation to the left of Hot Rocks -- excellent climbing on 50° snow. We did have to dodge some minor ice fall in the Old Chute. This route is definitely more exposed to ice fall than the South Side, but not as much as Leuthold Couloir. The bergschrund on the South Side is now open with a snowbridge crossing in the middle of the Hogsback.
Three of us summited on a perfect day, views of Rainier, Adams, St. Helens, Jefferson, Sisters and more. We saw one climber at the top of hogsback slip and fall on south side of hogsback to bowl, got up, and summited! Be careful! Two of our team snowboarded from just below hogsback, fastest descent for me.
Climbed solo on an amazing weather day. No moon made for a very dark climb for the first few hours. Snow conditions where great the whole way. NO CROWDS, only a few people ahead of me. Met fellow SummitPost member Caude at the bottom of the hogsback, thanks for the good advice and summit photos. Had the summit virtually to ourselves for about 45 minutes! By the time I got back to the bottom of the hogsback I found myself stripping off layers, it was hot the whole way down! Great day.
The weirdest thing about this mountain is being passed by a snowcat grooming the trails of Timberline at 3am! Very cool mountain (except for the ever-present sulfer smell), and awesome views from the top. There were probably 35 people on the summit of this mountain at 7am. Popular climb I guess!
Started a bit earlier this time, 2:30am. Threw on the headphones and headed off into the dark. Didn't run into as many people this weekend as I did last weekend. Snow was nice a firm the entire way, which made for a speedy ascent. On the way down saw quite a few people on their way up in some pretty soft snow. Great weather. Counting my blessings, two great weather weekends in a row.
Planned to climb the Leuthold Coulior. Even after reading all the warnings about starting up too soon while crossing the Reid Glacier, in the dark we still managed to get off route and climbed the Reid Headwall instead. Actual route started a bit left of the RH route, coincided with it for quite awhile and finished to the right of it. Even with the early start, had some ice fall but nothing major. Strong climbing partner made the trip possible.
Climbed the South Route with Brian Jenkins, had great weather, maybe a little warm. Wow, what a zoo for a winter climb. Had a great time, The Pearly Gates were a little sketchy, mainly from people above kicking down ice on us. Looking forward to trying another route soon.
This was my fifth time (fourth on this route). I love it and will never refer to it as a "slog" even though it is little more than "uphill hiking on snow" to use the words of a good friend and summit partner. The Hogsback was narrow and I didn't like the snow conditions personally. I felt like something wasn't quite right but we headed through the masses (left and 4 a.m. and were on top at 8 a.m.) and made it out and back safely. I don't understand why so many people go so late. There were still hordes going up at 10 a.m. and frankly I was happy to be getting out of there at 8:00... Perhaps I am paranoid about large numbers of novices crowded onto a sunny 40 degree slope all of them on no sleep. Call me crazy. - NOAH
Couldn't have had better conditions or better company. Clear skies at midnight when we started, huge orange moon greated us at the top of Palmer.
We were making better time than expected so we had to kill a COLD hour below the hogsback to see sunrise.
Great views from the top, Sisters, Broken Top, Adams, St. Helens....
Solid snow, loose ice made the decent hairy only because of the mobs coming up at that time.
Overall, amazing experience!
Headed up with jhalz to do Leuthold Couloir. Got a late start (4:10 am) and had some beta from dkantola that it was a warzone of ice so figured it would be a mess by the time we got there so decided on West Crater Rim instead. When we got just below Crater Rock the sun was already on that one and worried about the slab slides we could see so decided to do South Side instead. My fourth time doing it. Conditions were great except in the Gates where lots of little ice pellets and sugar-like snow had accumulated. Up in 5 hours, down in about 2 hr 45 mins and I was holding up jhalz at that pace. A bit of icefall even in the Chute.
Saw fellow summitposters crirwin on the route and Martin Cash in the parking lot. After talking to Martin, I felt better about not doing Leuthold this time. I MUST get back and do that route though.
With a fine weather and favorable avy forecast for the weekend, we decided to blow off work Friday and hit LC before the masses.
We traded crowds for slighly less favorable weather conditions, as a weak weather front provided us with 30MPH sustained winds, low vis and a coating of rime ice.
Think we were a little off route after the hour glass because climbing stayed steep, including couple of short pitches estimated at 60 degrees while climbing around some obstacle or another. Without being able to see much, up was good, so up we went.
Just as we topped out before the airy traverse to the true summit, the clouds parted. Wouldn't have been happy to try and make that traverse in a white out.
Very little ice fall (almost every TR I've read insisted the route was likely to be a bowling alley) was a blessing.
Our group typically is a bit faster than average, but it took us over 8 hours to get up.
Food for thought.....while not technical, this route is a pretty big step up physically from South Side slog unless you get better snow and weather conditions than we had. 2000+ feet of sustained 40-45 climbing isn't for the timid or physically unprepared.
Snow was solid neve thanks to an unusual melt-freeze cycle that started the previous few days. The route never felt steep or exposed, but frequent barrages of ice fall made it more interesting to say the least. Stay away from this route in warm weather.
This mountain is always special for me because it was my first ever climb, back in 1999. My friends Mike, Philippe, and I carried something like 45-50 lbs and camped above Palmer chairlift for one night. Crazy, after looking back (I would just start from the parking lot with a 25 lb pack next time). Plan to head back there in spring 2004.