Amazing conditions, no people on the route, gorgeous weather ... what else do you need !
January 1976 - Too much excitement on the headwall and a cold bivi on the descent at Crater Rock. (Date in that month is my best recollection.)
We started from the saddle at 2:00am. Descended Reid Glacier and crossed over Yokum at around 7800ft. Traversed Sandy Glacier to the headwall and started the long climb up. Climbed with no breaks from 8500 to the ridge at 10600 while under a barrage of ice balls. Summitted at 9:30am. It was my first "technical" climb. Good time!
It was a cold evening starting at 1:00am but it made for a fast ascent of the ski slopes. Arrived at the notch at 3:30 and traversed across the reid glacier. No big isssues with cravasse danger. Most of it was closed up with the exception of a few. Stepped into one covered one. Made it to the headwall by 5:30. Winds were howling which made for a interesting ascent, with a consistent pelting of small ice, and a barrage of softball sized chunks of ice cleaving off from the warmth of the sun. Some water ice, but mostly crust and the occasional soft powder. Made it to the summit by 2:30. Off the mountain by 5:00. Great climb worthy of the effort!
Climbing team: 3 males from Pittsburgh, PA.
All other parties climbed the Regular Route during our days on the mountain. No other climbers encountered on our route (ascent and descent).
All indications were that Hood had received normal amounts of snow during this winter season.
Started at 3:15 am. Wind and rain from previous night had ceased. Sky clear. Temp 33 degrees. Illumination Rock by 4:30 am. Across and down Reid glacier, downclimb across crevasse, and up on to Yocum Ridge low, but not at the bottom. Spectacular early dawn view of Mts. St. Helen, Adams, and Rainier.
Across Sandy glacier to start of route. Clouds roll in an reduce visibility significantly. Elevation 8400’. 1st half of Sandy glacier Headwall route is sustained, pickets and ice screws used. 2nd half continuous, eventually rolling off at what is thought to be top of headwall. Visibility below 200’, route not clear. Traverse several hundred feet left. 11:30 am, temps rising to 40 degrees, causing surface to soften and small rocks and ice to start raining down upon us.
Ascend steep, icy gulley several hundred feet, placing some protection, to a no exit, further progress blocked by steep rock walls. Rapidly downclimb with no protection as debris continues to rain down. Traverse L onto moderate slope glacier. Ascend 1000+ feet, eventually out of falling debris. Exit via steep narrow chute, bowl, onto final summit slopes.
Final slopes and summit ridge navigating to summit at 4:32pm, in extremely low visibility. Light winds. Temp 31 degrees.
Descend through Pearly Gates to below the bergschrund of Palmer glacier. Unrope and rapidly descend to gear stash. Final descent to vehicle at 8:30 pm. 17 hour total summit day.