Mount Hood climb: climbers going around the bergschrund

with Claire and Jim

Our original plan was to climb Mount Olympus. However, the weather forecast for the past weekend didn't look great with the best day supposedly being Saturday. But when I read this on the weather discussion on Thursday:

"saturdays partly sunny forecast may bite the dust."

we decided to cancel this plan. But with this being the 4th or 5th weekend in a row with bad weather we were eager to climb something and after some discussion settled on Mount Hood (even though I had climbed Mount Hood in the previous year) since the forecast for Portland didn't look too bad.

Mount Hood climb: view from the summit to the north: Mount St Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams

Claire, Jim, and I took off Friday at 5.30pm to head down south. Batteling heavy traffic all the way trough Tacoma we arrived at Timberline Lodge around 11pm and tried to get a few minutes of sleep. The parking lot was pretty busy and it became clear that we wouldn't be the only party on the mountain... Many people seemed to head out around midnight so we gave them a head start and where on our way hiking up the ski slop at 1am. At around 6000 ft it became pretty windy and cold and we were glad that we had taken some extra clothing along. The snow was firm and provided for easy walking. We roped up at around 9000 ft---way below the Hogsback where most people rope up---because there was some talk about a climber who had fallen in a crevasse at around 9300 ft a couple of days earlier and also because we expected the Hogsback to be pretty crowded. This was indeed the case and we could overtake a few parties on the Hogsback and head towards the bergschrund without a big break. The bergschrund is definitely open by now but easily passable on the left. It had snowed a couple of days ago and there was a layer of about a foot of fresh snow. The biggest problem was to battle all the people moving up and down. After a lot of waiting we made it through the Pearly Gates onto the summit to enjoy the views. The weather was great, there was a layer of clouds at about 6000 ft but all the volcanoes where clearly visible. Also, up here it was much warmer and less windy than below.

Mount Hood climb: on the Hogsback

We plunge stepped our way down eventually, unroped at the Hogsback and walked back to Timberline. The last stretch seemed endless, but we made it back to the car by 11.30am, got an hour of sleep, drove back to Seattle, and arrived here around 5pm, less than 24 hours after we had taken off the day before.

This was an easy, mostly non-technical conditioning hike/climb. To avoid the crowds, we should have done it mid-week though. Way over 100 people climbed it that day even with the not so great forecast. I don't want to imagine what happens on a sunny weekend...