Mt. Hood West Face Climb

June 1, 1975

This trip involved two hours in a rockfall rope and in a couloir—originally it had been limited to six persons—in retrospect it should in the future be four. This is the figure that arrived at Timberline Lodge on Saturday evening, the 31st. We had dinner in Government Camp before turning in.

The group was up at 0100, departed 0145 up the cat trail in 53° clear weather. The sloppy trail led to slow going—Silcox hut in 50 minutes—then on up to 9,000 ft. where we turned west toward Illumination Saddle. Here Mel Wallis became increasingly ill, due to lack of sleep, sulphur fumes, and some altitude effects. While Gary and Steve continued on 15 minutes to the Saddle, Bud remained in the rear with Mel. Upon reaching the saddle, Mel decided to return to the lodge, hoping to regain his health.

From 0600 at Illumination Saddle we roped up for the steep snowslope leading to the “hourglass”. Utilizing “French” crampon techniques we crossed a rockfall rope of 200 yards—then into an 800 ft. chute with icefall before topping on Cathedral ridge at 0915. Here we unroped and were on top at 1015, along with the thundering south side hordes. After lunch we used an alternate descent to the hogsback to save time and the group slogged down to timberline at 1310. The climbers were: Gary Lewis, Bud Proctor, Steve Ross, leader, and Mel Wallis.


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