This was one of the more introspective climbs I've had. With all of the recent accidents, I noticed a little bit of anxiety in Amy when I told her I was headed up in the morning. Normally, she doesn't worry. I promised her I'd be extra safe, whatever that means. I think it means I'll be more conservative in my decisions but I still don't know. Alot of people think that climbing by yourself is unsafe so in their eyes, by setting foot on the mountain I was being dangerous. Hmm...
View down the N face, excuse the ice tool but it was hanging from my wrist when I took the pic, its the only shot I have down the N side
The recent death of the woman who was struck by ice shook me up a bit. Last year, I was climbing one of the gullies between the Mazama Route and the Pearly Gates. The climbing was more difficult than I anticipated, therefore, it took me longer than I was planning. As the sun hit the snow, it started to sluff off. I noticed a bit of snow balling so I decided it was time to turn back. When I got to the Hogsback, I was relieved to be off of the AVY terrain. Below the triangle moraine, I talked to a girl who was still going up, I told her I turned back because of AVY danger. She continued up. From the Palmer, I could see her working her way up the steeps to the summit ridge. I didn't see her in the paper the next morning so I figured all went well. Maybe I should have kept going? A couple weeks later, I ran into her and her husband while I was on the way down. (near the top of the Palmer) They were still headed up. I hoped her lateness wouldn't catch up w/ them. Eventually it did. As Vincent noted earlier, sometimes the difference between prudence and wrecklessness isn't an attitude, its a couple of hours. I'm sure she'd want us to learn from her mistake. If its going to be warm, be early.
When I reached Crater rock, it was real icy but I didn't hear any ice falling. It was still real dark and there was no moon, as matter of fact I felt like I was on the moon. I began working my way up and right along the Crater Wall. It was definite 2 tool terrain. The ice was unlike any I'd ever seen. It looked like the scales of a fish. Scalloped/Serrated. It offered great purchase for crampons and ice tools. I reached a bench of lower angled stuff about a third of the way up. I took a break and waited for a bit of sun light. It was still pitch black and I wanted to have a better idea of where I was headed. I was an hour earlier than I'd planned. After a few minutes, I could see well enough. I started out onto the upper crater wall. After about 30 feet, my right boot began to loosen. Because of the steepness of the terrain, there was nothing I could do. Atleast there was only another 700' of front pointing! As the sun brought a little more light, the feeling of being on the Moon slipped away w/ the darkness. With the light, I could see that I was securely (sort of) grounded here on our very beatiful, Mt Hood.
I walked across the summit ridge. Somehow it felt wider than usual but I suspect I'm just getting stupider. (is that a word?) When you start down climbing, face in, you always wonder how you got up this thing anyway. When I was back at the Hogsback, I looked at the Devil's Kitchen Headwall and considered heading up it. It was still pretty early after all. For some reason, I flashed back to the night before when I told Amy I'd be safe. It didn't feel unsafe to start up a new route but somehow, it just felt like the wrong thing to do. Besides, that loose boot gave me a blister that I'm still dealing w/ 2 weeks later.
Safely back at the Hogsback, I had time to soak in some of the Beauty I often take for granted
How many times have you been on a mountain and just craved a nap? I placed my tools in a manner that would keep me from "rolling out of bed" and I dozed. The Alpine Nap, nothing like it. When the sun hit my face I woke up. I expected to see the masses heading up. I peaked down and saw no one, it was only Friday afterall. Even though the weather was perfect (cold and no wind) for climbing, I suspect, many people couldn't justify heading up the Trecherous Mt Hood. I also suspect that many climbers spouse's werent' going to let it happen. Sitting atop my very own Volcano, not another person in sight, I was overcome by feelings of greatfulness. To have good health, good weather, a mountain less than 2 hours from my bed and more than anything, a wife who lets Jess be Jess.Illumination Rock, I wonder why they call it that?