Had a GREAT time climbing Mt Hood on Saturday, Jun 11th. Here is a flickr stream of photos:
We left around midnight and it was a perfect night for climbing. It was nicely in the mid-20’s (which kept the snow frozen for easier travel) and only 5-10mph winds. We were about halfway to the crater rim from Palmer as sunlight starting coming out around 4am. We hit the crater rim around 6am as I recall. Fantastic views and we got really lucky with the cloud cover. There was a lot of low-lying clouds around Timberline lodge level, but also a layer of really high clouds which kept the sun off the top of the mountain. Keeping the sun off the top of the mountain is important later to prevent ice and snow from melting and falling from above. But we had a wonderful window between the two layers and enjoyed it. We did the Old Chute route, and there were easily 50 other people doing climbs as well. One or two groups did the Pearly Gates, but it was pretty icy and a good number of people switched over to the Old Chute for the way down. The snow was nicely consolidated all the way up.
I did find out more about the slide that happened on Wednesday. I took a picture while I was up there since it was the very route we had to take(!), and we think this is where it happened:
The time of the slide was supposedly around 7am – which surprised us at hearing it had being so early. Usually these sorts of slides happen after the sun has been shining for a few hours (noon/afternoon). It was apparently a bunch of ice that fell off the wall and then slid down. The lady who got hit did end up falling a couple hundred feet, sustained ‘a couple fractures’, and went to the hospital but was expect to make a full recovery. It was small/mid-sized slide by the look of it and you could see where it had left big chunks laying around as we climbed up. We’d had below freezing temps all night so there was nothing coming down; but the sun was shining directly on the wall section right where it had broken loose by the time we arrived. Being new to Hood and climbing, I was a (understandably) worried but we got up and down as quickly as we could. Since we got up there a little later than we wanted, we didn’t run across the summit ridge to get to the true summit. The sun had been hitting the chute walls for well over an hour by the time we got up there, so we played it safe. We got to summit ridge, took a good look around to enjoy the view, and then came down again to be safe.
Most of the folks we ran into up there were really well prepared and safe. As for poor form awards of the day, we ran into a ski patrol guy on the way down that said a lady had broken her ankle on the way down because she was glissading with her crampons on (a classic, big no-no). Another guy had done the chute in the simple metal band crampons tied around his hiking shoes (not boots) and a hoodie (no coat, no pack/extra gear/etc). He got stuck up at the top until someone who had found an extra ice ax (the one that the guy in the slide lost??) lent him it to go down with.
Oh, and a dog made the summit too. 🙂