After an already immensely successful week in the Cascades, we put the finishing touch on our trip with a ski descent of Mt. Hood. Standing at 11,240-ft, it's the tallest peak in the state of Oregon. We ascended the standard South Side Route, which starts at the lodge for the Timberline ski area at 5,800-ft, just below the Palmer Glacier.
Mark and Jason completing the required climber registration for our group
Mt. Jefferson, as seen from the Timberline Lodge
Starting from Timberline Lodge around 7:00 A.M., our first order of business was to skin up the ski area along its eastern boundary.
The trail was well marked, making sure we didn't accidentally end up on an inbounds ski run.
We were a bit tired from skiing Mt. St. Helens the previous afternoon, so it was a relief to have such easy access to the upper mountain.
Jason and Sarah nearing the top of the ski area around 8,600-ft
Mark posing in front of Mt. Jefferson on a spectacular morning
Jason willing his skins to stick to the icy snow
The views became quite dramatic as we neared the crater
looking down on the parking lot and Timberline Lodge
cool spire below Crater Rock
looking up at Crater Rock (center) and the Hogsback (ridge to the right with climbers on it)
Sarah skirting along the edge of the crater on our way to the Hogsback
steep cliffs just below the summit towering over the Devil's Kitchen (large fumarole in the foreground)
Once above Crater Rock, we then ascended the Hogsback toward the bergschrund (large crack on the ridge)
The snow steepened considerably once we rounded the bergschrund and headed toward the Pearly Gates, the final obstacle below the summit.
The views were incredible. It felt like we were standing in a different world.
high above the crater, nearing the Pearly Gates
We did an ascending traverse and passed through the Pearly Gates (notch just right of center)
looking down on Sarah as she passes through the Pearly Gates with the Hogsback and Crater Rock clearly seen in the background
This was a really cool feature through which to climb.
Jason cheated by using the hand rail.
Jason jaunting up the final headwall to the summit
Sarah following suit
looking down on the Devil's Kitchen and Crater Rock with the runs of the ski area visible on the far left
Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams seen from just below the summit of Mt. Hood
Mark making the last few steps to the summit
We reached the top at 11:30 A.M. and were greeted with great views of the surrounding Cascade volcanoes: Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams (L to R)
Mt. Rainier looming in the distance
zoomed view of Mt. Rainier with the entirety of the Führer Finger route visible just right of center
Unbeknownst to us at the time, an enormous rock avalanche (largest in modern history on Mt. Rainier) had occurred on the 24th and 25th on the upper Nisqually Glacier. The debris and dust from the avalanche are clearly visible in this view (just right of the Führer Finger itself).
Sarah taking it all in
Jason and I decided to descend a steep slope (far left) at the west end of the summit ridge. Sarah and Mark descended the Old Crater route (Sarah is seen on it on the far right).
The drop-in was a bit spicey for Jason and me, but we avoided the difficult snow conditions encountered by Mark and Sarah. Here, Jason is taking a break next to the Devil's Kitchen as we wait for Mark and Sarah to carefully pick their way down.
Sarah and Mark employed some great survival skiing techniques and made it work.
Once we were back to the ski area, we enjoyed some fresh curdoroy.
We were back at the car around 2:15 P.M. We had skied 5,400-ft in under two hours. It was a blast!
parting shot of Mt. Hood
This was a nearly perfect trip. Our hope was that, in a one week span, we would get a weather window for Mt. Rainier alone. We never expected to have such amazing weather that we would get four Cascade volcanoes before we left. Thanks to Jason and Mark for sharing this amazing trip with us!
For the last time of our trip, we spread everything in the sun to dry. After grabbing dinner at Jake's in Portland, we flew back home Sunday morning. While descending into the ABQ Airport, we caught a glimpse of the Las Conchas fire, which had started a few hours earlier in the day. The following day, Monday, we were evacuated from Los Alamos and wouldn't return for a week.
Google Earth view of our GPS track