After getting into a nearby national forest campground late Friday night, we slept in a bit and drove up to the bustling parking lot at Mount Hood's Timberline ski area. The ski area is very popular in summer among ski and snowboard camp attendees.
I knew from my previous climb of this route years ago with Bill that the route was straight forward and direct. Also, the upper part of the mountain stays shaded until late morning even though we were on the mountain's south side. With that in mind, we took our time and didn't get to skinning up until after 7:00am after completing our free climber self-registration at the kiosk near the parking lot
This route is extremely popular due to its easy access, direct line and relatively simple difficulty. To keep the hordes of climbers away from downhill skiing traffic there's a groomed climber's trail (should that be climbers'?) to the right of the ski area
We were likely the last group of climbers to leave the parking lot for the route that day. We'd end up passing a number of climbers heading up and I was pretty impressed with the number of climbers already descending at 7am. I talked to a few and most had started around 1am. For such a short and direct route, I'm not sure why.
Andy skinning up with Mount Jefferson keeping watch
Halfpipe action! There were three half pipes on the mountain. On the way down I busted out a switch 900 on the backside wall. That's not true.
They even had a kicker setup just for Andy!
The last time I was here the standard route of ascent on the upper headwall was through a narrow chute known as the "Pearly Gates". The Pearly Gates are on the far right directly above the bergschrund and climber. On my previous climb there were lines of roped parties choking up the Pearly Gates so Bill and I climbed the "Old Crater Variation"--a line well to the left of the Pearly Gates. This time, I was surprised to see the more popular line was the Old Crater Variation, the area where the majority of climbers are in this photo. This was cool because it allowed us to avoid the crowds by going through the Pearly Gates.
But before that, we had to get up to the Pearly Gates.. Even with our relatively late start the snow higher on the mountain was still pretty icy.
We stopped put our skis/board on our backs at a flat spot next to the area known as the Devil's Kitchen (out of frame to the right). From this spot we had a nice view of the "Hogsback" snow ridge (center), the bergschrund and the Perly Gates.
We booted up along the Hogsback to the Bergschrund
Did I mention the weather was impeccable?
Once at the bergschrund we debated about leaving our skis/board there because the last few hundred feet were steep and icy. Desire to try to ride down from the summit won out and we kept the skis/board on our backs
Above the bergschrund Andy and Sarah boot up the very firm snow into the Pearly Gates
Mark turns the corner around the bergschrund. This shot does a good job of showing how steep the final slope was. Crampons were mandatory.
Looking down from the Pearly Gates with the Hogsback below
Sarah entering the very narrow section of the Pearly Gates
Near the summit! A few more steps...
Self portrait, Mount Hood (11,239'), 6/25/2011. 11:30am. It took us just over four hours to reach the summit
Schraad is stoked to make four summits in one week in the pacific NW. Mark had also already climbed Mt. Hood before but didn't have his skis. It's much better to descend with skis...
Andy and Sarah's fourth state highpoint and second in six days!
We're stoked. yeah.
Panoramic movie view from the summit
While Mark and Sarah headed carefully straight down the Old Crater variation, Andy and I hiked further west along the ridge to a steep headwall that had been in the sun longer than much of the upper mountain. It was damn steep initially but the softer snow helped our minds. Andy carves away.
I mostly side slipped the upper mountain due to icy and very bumpy snow conditions. Sarah did the same while Mark booted down the upper part. It was some pretty spooky snow until we reached the Hogsback. From there down, however, it was much softer and enjoyable.
Mark getting' it down down below the bergschrund
It was a joy to ski the ~4,000' vertical right back down to the car
POV action once we got back down to groomed, buttery ski area slopes
Back at the car by 1:45pm, we took the opportunity to dry our gear and re-pack our duffels for our morning flight home the following day