Mt Hood

May 3-4, 1985

Four climbers spent part of the night camped near Rhododendron listening to the rain. As we drove on to Timberline Saturday morning, it began to snow. Soon, the leader’s car refused to go further until we had put on tire chains. It quit snowing but the wind was blowing at Timberline.

We started climbing at 4:10 a.m. and found ourselves sinking into fresh snow much of the time. The leader decided after a time to change routes. Instead of doing the planned Wy-East route, we would attempt the normal route. Halfway up the upper chairlift we met up with Rick Hargreaves Obsidian party attempting the normal route. They were still trying to do the climb after two weekends of storms. We joined forces with the three of them.

At the upper end of the chairlift a load of skiers unloaded from a snowcat with their skis, intending to take them up most of the way, then use them on the descent. Dan reported that he had been sick for awhile and was advised to go down. Rick Hargreaves had wands so we wanded our route. This was a big help coming off as we did not have to use a compass. Visibility was poor, but occasionally we got a glimpse of Crater Rock above.

Below the Hogsback we were advised of the bad condition of the bergschrund. We decided to go up and look it over. We were able to skirt wide around the west end, belaying across the extension of the crevasse. We were on the summit about 1:30 p.m. The skiers arrived soon after, having left their skis on the Hogback. The sun was shining through fast moving clouds. No other peaks were visible, but Hood was beautiful in its winter coat of rhime ice with a sea of clouds below.

After meeting upwards of 100 climbers who had turned back, we had met the challenge on a windy, miserable day. Only the two parties went to the top that day. We arrived at Timberline Lodge at 5:45 p.m., very tired but satisfied with a great climb. Climbers were Rick Ahrens, Dan Bertheim, Christine Ligneau and leader Norm Benton.


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