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I climbed the Old Chute route on March 31, 2013 with two other girls from Seattle. We drove in from Seattle on Saturday and set up camp in the Hood Forest before 6pm. It took a bit of off-roading and guess work to find a "legal" campsite, but we took a recommendation from an employee at Timberline Lodge that worked out pretty well.
We woke up at 12:10am and started hiking at 1:45am. We reached Silcox Hut by 2:50am, so climbing roughly 1,000 feet and hour to begin with. The snow at the base was very soft, but once we started on the cat track it was much harder and easier to walk through. After reaching the top of the Palmer lift, we realized other groups were getting rides up from some snow cats through the resort! A little disgruntled, but still motivated, we continued on. We passed some guys attempting to skin up but weren't having much luck once they passed the top of the resort. They ended up packing their skis on their backs and hiking in their boots without crampons. Climbing past the fumaroles was difficult because the smell of the sulfur really makes it hard to breathe--once we past the last fumarole it was much easier.
We reached the summit at 8:00am and the sun was just starting to hit the route. We shared the summit with 18 other people--busy Easter Sunday! One guy brought up some plastic eggs and an Easter basket. We enjoyed some snacks on the summit and started to head down by 8:30am. There were some guys paragliding off the summit on the way down--really fun to watch! We started descending the Old Chute just as the sun was hitting it, and the ice chunks started to fall off from the cliff lines. I was glad to be getting off the mountain when we did, the snow was heating up very fast. Once we got around Crater Rock, we were able to glissade down the resort and get back to the car by 10:30am. We had great weather. One of the girls in the group brought her hooded down coat and was grateful she had it, but I was fine with only 3 layers. It ended up reaching 70 degrees during the day, but when we were climbing it was still 15 degrees or so. I'd recommend bringing a trash bag or plastic sheet to glissade with and avoid burning a hole through your pants.
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