Mt. Hood (South Side)
May 30, 2005
The third time was a charm for the third reschedule this year for our Mt. Hood climb. Nine of us met at Calamity Jane’s, a burger parlor in Sandy, at 6:00 Sunday evening, where we had the biggest burgers I have ever seen. After dinner, we left for the mountain. It was overcast and very gray. It started to drizzle at Government Camp, and it wasn’t looking too promising. We headed up Timberline Road into the fog. Right when we got to the parking lot, we came out of the fog. We were above the clouds. It was sunny and not a cloud in the sky. The clouds were about 100 vertical feel below the parking lot.
After getting a little sleep in the cars, we started the climb at 12:09 am. We hiked on dirt all the way to the Silcox hut. There was very little snow on the lower mountain. It looked like late July or early August. This very fit group made the first mile to the Silcox Hut in 38 minutes, and we stopped for a break. From here, the pace slowed a little as we hit snow on the Palmer. The snow was soft—perfect for kicking steps. We arrived at the top of the Palmer chairlift at 2:30 am and took a short break. The sky was still clear and the stars were bright and we had a half moon. We climbed another 600 vertical feet above the Palmer and we put on crampons because the snow was getting firm.
Shortly after that we passed a Mazama group. To my surprise, there were very few groups on the mountain. We hit the base of Crater Rock at first light, about 4:30, stopped to put on helmets and then we charged to the Hogsback, arriving by 5:30.
Here we roped up in three ropes of three. The snow was firm and hard, and we had a clear shot to the summit. We didn’t have to wait for anyone. We passed the Bergschrund on the left and passed through the Pearly Gates onto the summit, arriving by 7:00. We spent 40 minutes on the summit taking pictures, enjoying the views, and giving high fives. We could see Mt. Jefferson to the south, St. Helens and Mt. Adams to the north. The clouds were still just below the Timberline Lodge parking lot, and it looked like a blanket of cotton balls.
After a safe descent back through the Pearly Gates, and some good glissades below Crater Rock, we slogged back to the cars, arriving by 11:52 am. Congratulations to Greg Milliman and Jim Pierce for getting their 10 Peaks. Thanks to Doug Nelson and George Jobanek for leading the other two ropes. This hardy group of climbers were Wayne Deeter, Brian Hamilton, Andy Jobanek, George Jobanek, Greg Milliman, Doug Nelson, Rich Peevers, Jim Pierce, and Mark Slipp (leader).