Climbing Mt. Hood
Each time I get ready to attempt a climb at another big mountain, I have a bit of trepidation; some doubt and a slight and occasional pang of fear. These are about whether I am in good enough shape, will I I have the stamina and skill necessary to summit and descend, will I run afoul of some accident where I would die and not return. I always try to be honest with myself, part of that is recognizing where I am in relation to my fellow mountaineering enthusiast. As I've written elsewhere, when it comes to highly technical climbing, be it rock climbing or mountaineering I am a follower not a leader. In terms of being "in-shape", usually in the past this hasn't been a worry, I've done four peaks in a week, 38 miles and 15000 vertical feet, or The Enchantments in a day, 21 miles and a 15 hour day. But since messing up my knees and core in Beijing, and being busy with work I haven't been as active or felt as strong as I did in the past. I hoped that I would be ok.
Back in 2006, I'd made a Flickr contact with Chris Kruell a climber from Portland. We met in real life, 15 miles from civilization along the trail to Mt. Olympus. Chris was returning from a summit and we were on our way up. I'd seen his Mazamas and invited me along for a climb the weekend after Memorial Day. The plan was for Friday but this was pushed to Sunday evening/Monday when four feet of new snow feel on Hood as it rained all Memorial Day weekend.
The itinerary for Hood didn't look easy to start out with. We'd meet Sunday evening at 11:00 pm at the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood hike all night, summit at dawn and then hike back out. Stac, myself and the kids drove down to Portland after work on Friday and spent Saturday and Sunday hanging out with Allison and the Downs. I caught a ride in Portland with Hye and Chris Killmer. We arrived at the parking lot at around 10:45 pm. Chris and the other 3 climbers (Carolyn, Kathrin and Jacob) arrived shortly thereafter and we registered at the lodge and went over the climb.
fumarole which belch steam and quite strong sulphor odor. Clomping up the snow in the dark is only made all the more appealing by taking deep breaths of rotten egg smells that curl your nose hairs. I finally pulled out my camera and slung it round my neck as it was now possible to take photos. As the rest of the group started up the slope of the Hogsback I took a bio break and snapped a few pictures. By the time I started up, a mother-son climbing duo was in front of me and my climbing group was almost at the top of the Hogsback ridge. Here we stopped and stashed extra gear like trekking poles, extra food and water. We got out our ice aces and put on our harness. We would now ascend the ridge line of the Hogsback before cutting to the left and traversing at a steep angle into the other bowl feature that the Hogsback separated. This traverse zig and zagged steeply up the steep slope towards the gendarme ridge line of the summit whose rocky forms were encrusted in rhime ice. As we climbed higher the sun began to rise on the other side of Hood and the alpenglow lit up Mt Jefferson that lay far below behind us in the southern line of volcanic peaks of the PNW.
After we all gathered in the parking lot, we re-exchanged gear, changed clothes and drove to a 24 hour restaurant called Government Camp where I ordered a short stack of huckleberry pancakes and an order of onion rings. We ate, laughed and then I rode back to Portland with Hye and Killmer while I feel asleep off and on, tired and tuckered from being up all night and climbing a mountain in the process.