Travels with the Original Easyrider®
2012 Edition

South Route
Hike to Crater Rock
The base of the Hogsback
Then climb to the Pearly Gates
And the 11,317' Mount Hood Summit

June 12, 2012 - Failed attempt

June 15, 2012 - Success!!!!!

An 8.5 mile up and down hike/climb with 5,440' elevation gain
An all day, 12 hour adventure; 7 hours up, 5 hours back

Miles hiked= 199.27; Total elevation gain= 59,325'

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I was out here in April as a BCEP training session.

Also doing Hood with my BCEP Team. Trip report for that can be found HERE.

Headed out (solo) at 23:30 which may or may not turn out to be a dopey idea.
Best weather day forecast we've had in a while. May hit some light snow near the top.
We shall see. If nothing else, this will be a good dry run for the group climb
up Mount Hood that's planned for next Monday.

Plan to head out from Timberline at or close to 02:00. Palmer Snowfield by 05:00.
Sunrise is at 05:22.
Around Crater Rock at first light and hopefully up the Hogsback to the summit. I'm
pretty prepared physically, training and equipment-wise... it's mostly a matter if
I can corectly navigate the way up and not fall off a cliff or something.

JUNE 12, 2012: The good news...
The GPS said I got as high as the White River Glacier, elevation 8,620'. Also, I
think I earned my "don't do anything stupid up on the mountain" merit badge today.

The weather forecast said today was going to be warm, sunny with a chance of light snow.
WRONG! Even if there was a moon out, you never would have been able to see it for all of
the thick cloud cover. Man, it was DARK heading up the mountain at O' Dark 30. The
visibility was really poor and then the blowing freezing rain started which further
degraded visibility. I lost the trail several times due to blowing snow and snowdrifts.
Had to pull out the compass on several occasions. I was obviously going up, but in
the direction I wanted to go? I never did see the Silcox Hut or Palmer but by the
time I turned around I was at a much higher elevation than either of them. Amazingly,
visibility actually got worse once it got light out. Some of the way I was traveling
strictly on IFR..... went down the wrong road at one point, realized that something
wasn't right and had to backtrack to the correct trail. Sure glad I had my GPS and
compass. I thought this was going to be a lovely little saunter in nice, sunny, warm
weather. Not hardly. This is the worst weather I have ever hiked in and I'm glad
that I had the skills and the equipment to get through it OK.

Making it to the summit today was impossible, even for experieced climbers who know
the way. This was definitely not the day for a rookie like me to go for it, solo.
I was never very worried. I figured I could probably find my way back down and even
if I didn't, I had enough food, water and warm clothing to last quite a while up
there. Still... turning back is not something I do graciously. But continuing had
Sheriff's rescue written all over it so I guess I'll be doing this another day. Today
was a good test of my navigation abilities which have clearly improved a LOT since BCEP.
And my [good] decision making ability too although I probably should have turned back
earlier since it really was getting bad even before daybreak.

4.25 miles traveled with 2,748' of elevation gain.

June 15, 2012: Trying again. Weather forecast says dry and sunny. We shall see.
Following the same game plan as described above with a few equipment modifications based
on Monday's white out experience. Also took the precaution of waypointing many of
the Chute Route landmarks into my GPS.

Just when I think I am ready, some climber who was reported to be experienced and
properly equipped fell to his death *YESTERDAY*!!!! That could have been me... I thought
about going the same day (June 14) but thought I'd give it another day to be sure that
the weather would be clear. Apparently it was very icy near the summit.. don't know
if he had crampons on (I would assume he did) and/or if he knew how to self-arrest.
Like I wasn't already stressed to the max that doing this for the first time, solo might
be off the charts insane...

Undaunted... off I go...

Standing at the very top of Mount Hood looking westerly. The GPS says I am at
11,317' which I believe is the highest I've ever been outside an airplane.

You couldn't have asked for a nicer day (finally!). Great panoramic 360 degree views
including more mountains that I could count.

I was treated to a nice sunrise. I am about half way between Palmer and Crater
Rock. It's about 04:45 and didn't expect it to get light quite so soon. Sunrise isn't
until 05:22. And yes, that's the quarter moon up there. It was a gorgeous view. This
picture does not do it justice.

Pictures from Mount Hood summit.
The view to the North. Left to right: Mount St Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams.

The view to the east. That's Mount Jefferson in the foreground and (I think) Mount
Baker behind it. Further in the distance is a cluster of mountains which I think are
The Sisters. Perhaps someone can e-mail me to further identify these locations.
Again, the views up here were magnificent! These pictures just don't show how stunning
it looks from up here.

Another view from Mount Hood summit. I was all alone up here so no one to take
my picture. But that's obviously my shadow :)

It was nice of the Military to do a fly-over for me while I was up here...
The top center of this frame is the mountain summit. I gave respect to the cornice
but got as close to the true summit as safety allowed.

I guess I got out of there just in time. Here's what the mountain looked like by
the time I got back to my car at around 13:00.

There's more pictures of my first Hood solo climb HERE.

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