Mt. Hood Climb 2017
Even with my Rainier climb only a week away, I wanted to squeeze in another climb this summer. I decided on Mt. Hood as I had never done it and it would take less time to climb than Mt. Adams. The weather looked great and the route was supposed to be in good shape, so I got off work early and headed south. My plan was to start climbing Friday night and get about halfway up, then sleep in my tent and start early the next morning. This would put me in a good position to summit early and get home with some time left in the day. I arrived at the Timberline Lodge at around 5:30pm on Friday. I got registered and changed into my climbing clothes and off I went!
I made good progress, reaching the Silcox hut in about 30 minutes. I soon realized though, that I hadn't had enough water before I started and was staring to get dehydrated. I had brought 2.5 liters with me, but would need some of that for cooking dinner and breakfast. I doubted that the remainder would keep me hydrated until the next morning. I navigated around the groomed snow sections used by the ski area and found a good campsite a few hundred feet above the highest ski lift. It was beginning to get dark, but I knew I had about an hour to make camp and eat dinner before it got completely dark. I chopped out a tent platform and got the stove going. After a quick dinner I got in my sleeping bag for a few hours sleep. I quickly realized that my tent platform was not as flat as I thought and I spent the night slightly tilted.
I awoke at 2 AM to a clear night with a bright moon and a dozen or so headlamps higher on the mountain. I had some hot cider and donned my harness and crampons and began climbing at about 2:30 AM. I was moving quickly and passed several teams before reaching the Hogsback. The final section of the route is very steep, and I was a little unsure of what the route lay in store. I let a team of four pass me so they could do the route finding. I followed them for a bit but then passed them again. The Old Chute wasn't as bad as I had expected. The slope itself is very steep, but there were good boot tracks in place making it very stable climbing. Definitely didn't need two ice axes here. An ice axe and a ski pole would have been plenty. I ended up taking the Mazama Chute, slightly steeper than the Old Chute, but more direct. I quickly reached the top and immediately saw Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier off in the distance with the early morning light in the background. I made the short walk to the east and at 5 AM reached the true summit!
Portland in the distance
Timberline with Mt. Jefferson in the distance
I got some pictures, food, and water and began making my way down. Several teams were almost at the summit by the time I was heading down. The descent was mostly uneventful and I was back at the tent in about an hour. I broke camp, took my climbing gear off and had the last of my water. I was definitely dehydrated by this point, but thankfully I had several liters of water waiting for me in the car. I didn't waste any time getting down. By this point I was tired and very thirsty. I reached the car at about 7:30 AM, got a big drink of water and changed into some normal clothes for the drive home.