Hood April 16

I first want to thank all of the new students at climbschool who made this years class so much fun. I'm looking forward to climbing w/ all of you. But be warned, you may find yourself in this blog, for better or worse. Probably for worse.
I wanted to give a special thanks to Steve Dougherty who put on another successful route finding school. Its a tremendous amount of work and a great service to the community and to the club. When you tie into a new rope this year, realize that route finding school is a major funding source for the club. Three cheers for Steve!

Also, as much as it pains me to say it, Wild Bill also put on a great climb school this year, again. Everything went pretty smooth, aside from the wind shutting down the second long rappel. I've been trying to think of ways to blame this on Bill but I've come up dry. I think the school is pretty organized and its always amazing to me that it works out, when I consider those of us that do it.
So lets face it, many of you took climbschool because you wanted to climb Mt Hood. Back in 2006, Hood was generally an easy walk up, the last few years its been more difficult and dangerous. With the shifting of the Hogsback (giant snow ridge in the caldera) you're forced to traverse to the old chute to the West or traverse East to the Pearly Gates. As of last Friday, the route is as easy as its been since 2006. I'd still give it an S1+ OR S2-.
Andrew Trachsel (climb school last year) and I both ended up not working on Friday so we thought we'd have a look n see. The heavy snow from the previous week had been through several freeze thaw cycles but I was still concerned.

We ran into a friend/acquantance, Adam, at the Hogsback. Him and his friend were considering turning around. His friend wasn't feeling it so Adam tagged along w/ us. This is a pic of him in the slight variation Chute. We didn't traverse all of the way to the old chute because there was a weakness in the rhime ice towers that was very reasonable. By doing this, we also avoided the knife ridge. The conditions made for an easy climb. the snow was sturdy enough to hold body weight but soft enough that kicking steps wasn't too much work.

We reached the summit five hours later which is pretty respectable considerring its early season and it was Andrews first time up. My general opinion on Mt Hood is that the South side can be fun but alot of the fun goes away when you have a big team and you're climbing the standard route on a spring weekend. You have to start earlier because you'll be going slower with a big team. In general, I'd prefer to climb Hood in the Winter with people I'm comfortable climbing with, then you can avoid using the rope and all of the stuff that comes with it. I've likely climbed with Andrew twenty times or so and thats how you build trust.
A few weeks ago, the two of us joined ellen and a small team to traverse around Mt Washington. Andrew was a little humbled by the conditioning required for big trips. He'd been training regularly and he was up to the task. We took several short breaks but didn't really ever stop for more than five minutes.
I've climbed Hood lots of times and sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it, but usually I feel both emotions at the same time. The upper mountain was especially beautiful this time around and I had a hard time mustering up any of the hate that I love so much. There was almost no rock showing because there was sooo much snow. Only the steepest parts of the Steel Cliffs were bare. In fact, the Steel Cliffs look pretty enticing. Hmmm

Because it was Andrew's first time up and Hood has been so unpredictable these last few years, I brought a second tool along, "just in case." Andrew used it on the decent but he didn't really need it. I just wanted to explain why it looks like the axe is in his wrong hand.

New students, don't be discouraged by Hood climbs not being offered to new students this year. Get some experience and I'll take you out next year. Just not on a spring weekend.
Lastly, I wanted to take this time to pimp my Mt Jefferson climb that will take place in June. It'll be an M2. I'm gonna be taking a small team up the W Rib or the Whitewater corkscrew route. I'll start putting together a team in a couple weeks. Let me know if you're interested.
Have fun and climb safe. Looking forward to the start of the climb season (does it really ever end?) I'm also looking forward to sharing the rope with all of you new climbers. Now get out and climb!

1 comment:

  1. Fun read, Jess, and a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Andrew!