Monday, February 11, 2013

Mt Hood - 2013 winter attempt

Location: Mt. Hood, OR
Date: February 2, 2013
Type: Steep snow climb with ski descent


So this past weekend a couple friends and I attempted to climb Mt Hood in the middle of the night (Saturday early am) to avoid the looming storm and high winds.  We started at the Timberline Lodge on the southwest side of the mountain (5,960 ft) at 1:30 am.  We made our way up the mountain in the pitch black (new moon).  The shadow of the mountain could be faintly seen when our headlamps were off.  The stars were amazing, especially due to the large number of "shooting stars" I saw as we made our way up the peaceful mountain.
Picture from www.fs.usda.gov
As we got higher, we could see the summit was covered in clouds.  We continued to move up, the wind picking up as we got higher.  Every minute or so, we got a strong gust of wind.  The gusts were strong enough to knock you off balance so I usually would stop and lean into the wind until the gust stopped.  This continued until about 8,000 ft elevation when things picked up considerably.  We entered the cloud that covered the peak.  We moved slowly up hill in the dark, in white-out, with continuous 30 mph winds with gusts of 50 mph.  At 9,500 ft, the only climbing group ahead us turned around.  At this point, we too decided to turn around.  The winds were so high and the visibility so low, that we had to stay within 10 ft of each other as we skied down.  

The ascent from 5,960 ft to 9,500 ft took approximately 4.5 hours.  The descent took approximately 45 minutes.