Outrageous Times - A Success on Mount Hood and Saint Helens
"I can't have the adventure of a life time just once!" -Josh Lewis
"Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb." -Greg Child.
"It's just Mount Hood" -Bearqueeen
Who Came: Eastking, nartreb (Dave), Michael Lewis, and I
Trip Took Place: Sunday June 27, 2010 - Tuesday June 29, 2010 : 3 Days
This trip proved to be a success in many ways, and was a fun experience. There were it's fun times, and it's rough times but over all an outrageous trip. The Plan was originally to climb Mount Rainier, but the forecast to the North was not looking to great. One of my fears of the trip were that Dave would not want me on the trip because of our previous encounter on the interwebs. Fortunately in person he was a very nice guy.
At first me and Michael were wondering how we would get to the Hotel in Kirkland, so we decided biking 20 miles would be our best option, the bus in Snohomish county does not run on Sunday's anymore.
The Night before we would have to go I email Joanna about my plans and she said "You nut! what time you need to be at the hotel?" which this was a turning point, hurray now I don't have to tire myself before the trip! She drove us to the hotel.
The drive was long but had some scenery, as we were driving up the road towards Mount Hood, Michael saw an avalanche which already was raising concern, but fortunately it was on a diffrent route from what we were doing. At the parking lot we tried to get as much sleep as possible. I woke up around sunset and knew I would not be able to get anymore sleep so I enjoyed the scenery, and took some photos.
At 10:00 p.m. I spoke with a guide for a while which he was nice and had some good info. At 10:30 p.m. everyone was awake and everyone got ready for the climb. As we were heading out, Dave threw up, which raised concerns. I suppose he drank too much water, and he mentioned he was still feeling the jet lag (he came all the way from the East Coast for this trip). As we were heading up the climb had a nice feeling to it, the moon was shining bright lighting up the snow, I did not even have to use my head lamp because it was so bright.
As we pushed on up the mountain the only time I used my headlamp was to get my crampons on. The city lights below reminded me of the fires on Mount Baker, which both looked like Christmas lights (although the one on Baker looked even cooler). At around 8,500 feet Dave was really not feeling well, which I guess a mix of things contributed to this. Eastking did a noble thing here, because we all had radios he let Michael and I continue, and he went back down with Dave. That deserves major kudos!
Now that it was just Michael and I we headed up at a fast pace, we wanted to reach the summit around sunrise to reduce ice fall danger. Above looked so big, Crater Rock seemed like the summit in itself, and eventually I realized why in the 1800's they thought Mount Hood was 17,000 feet, because the illusion of the surrounding rocks all around and ice make it look huge.
And then of course we passed through the famous Mount Hood fumaroles which smelled like Rotten Eggs, although I peronally thought Mount Baker's was worse (although the time of year might have a effect on that). At first I could not find our route and was starting to wonder where to go, but then a few seconds later I spotted the Hogsback in front of us. We asked a climber guy which route was best, the old chute, or the Hogsback? He said we could go either way, but the Hogsback would have the bergschrund which we would have to jump over unroped. "Forget that!" so we went down the lower path. It seemed wierd having active volcanoe vents to the side of you being on route.
The Morning light was finally starting to come out, and then we reached the old Chute. We put on our helmets, and break out our the Aztars (We each carried one ice tool and one ice axe this way we would be safe going up). At first going up wasn't too bad, but then the wind picked up which is when my thoughts about this section changed. I had been looking forward to this part of the trip, but now started to dread it. Ice started tumbling down the face which raised concerns, the slope was getting steeper, and the ice was less than ideal, it was rotten ice, so each tool placement had to be good.
As I was heading up the slope I was distracted by the Scenery around, Mount Hood had a beautiful shadow that had some reds and pinks above it. As I was taking pictures, I get pelted with a chunck of ice. "Awwww!!" I nearly swore at that moment because it hurt a lot (incase you don't know me, I have sweared very little in my life, here I did not ). Ice falling hurts more than I had expected, the pain of it hurt for a few days after the trip. More ice was falling down the face and I had to do a stunt to avoid it, missing me by inches.
As we carried on, it began to feel like ice climbing, stick in one tool, take a step up, place in ice axe, take another step. My friend Mark was not kidding that in ice climbing your hands get very cold. My fingers were starting to go numb which raised some concern as I was climbing. I was amazed to see Michael continueing, this was certainly not the place for the average hiker.
Near the end of the old chute, we had avoided the right chute which looked slightly easier but more ice fall danger, I was worried that we might have picked the wrong chute. As I was next to the ridge, I asked Michael "Does it look good?" and he shook his head no. When I topped out, I almost said "I understand if you want to turn around, this has been a fun trip" but then I noticed a boot path that travelled on the narrow ridge. To my amazement it was a thin cornice, perhaps 2 feet wide, cliffs on either side. We saw the summit a few hundred feet ahead and decided to go for it.
I did a sit walk by this point because I wanted my ice axe plunged in all the way. There was little room for error here. Once past the cornice, the rest of the way was relatively safe. Soon Michael and I were on the roof of Oregon!
The wind was blowing a lot, making me too cold to take out the tripod I had carried all the way up the mountain. Some of the fumes from below rose up and the same old stench returned. Atleast I was able to see much of Southern Washington and Oregon. With the mist rising over the summit I was able to change the top of the shadow of the mountain which was quite interesting. We could not spend too much time up there because we did not want the ice fall danger to be very high during the descent. After all they say 80% of mountaineering accidents are on the way down.
Down climbing the chute required a deal of concentration. To my amazement there was less ice fall even though it was "warmer" out. Below us I could see the avalanche that had happened on the car ride in. I attempted to self belay with my ice axe, but that proved to be dangerous because the axe would only go in a few inches. Fortunately there was slightly more of a boot path as we went down thanks to other climbers who went up, but it still reminded me of rock climbing because every step I would have to find the slight foot hold (it was by no means nicely kicked in steps). I would have my head down as I was down climbing which felt strange because everything looked upside down.
After spending much time kicking in steps and getting down I was out of the most dangerous part. Once again I got pelted by another large chunck of ice in the other leg, which this time hurt almost just as much but not as much of a reaction because I suppose I was accustom to the drama of it. I saw the climbing guide I had spoken to at the parking lot which was cool, but it felt strange telling a guide "Shouldn't you be wearing your helmet here?". I hope he did so after I told him.
Once I got down to the bottom of the Hogsback, I waited a while for Michael. Once we got down out of the crator, I called the rest of the way "The green zone". The glissade was not so great, I took off my crampons expecting a nice glissade but instead it was icy and painful. I decided to slowly go down. Michael and I became quite tired, so we radio Eastking and let him know we wanted to take a nap. On the ice I was amazed at how fast I fell asleep, 20 minutes later Michael wakes me up and says we should go.
Later in the day when the snow finally softens up, we get to the gentle slope where they made all the climbers go to the left of the ski place. Now glissades were impossible, which was sad. The rest of the way down was fine, and I found a lense cap.
At the trailhead Dave drove us over to our next destination which was Mount Saint Helens. I slept the whole car ride until it was permit time which was at some house, but atleast they gave me free water. At the trailhead of St. Helens the weather looked iffy, Eastking gave me some water, and Dave let me use his stove to cook up some food, I was now ready for the next adventure. That night was cold because I cracked the window in the car, and I did not want to wake up Dave for the keys (everyone else was sleeping in a tent). At 5 a.m. we woke up and were ready to climb.
It was neat that we started out getting above the clouds. Mount Hood rose above them which had me slightly drooling in my mind. (I would love to go back, even though I just did it). There were a few nice flowers on the way up. As we leave the woods, we break out our crampons due to icy snow. The surrounding clouds added a interesting atmosphere, especially with the sun coming through the clouds.
Dave was feeling much better on this Mountain and was doing well. As we looked out South it was interesting to see the clouds almost perfectly cover Washington but not Oregon, I guess they don't call it Washington for nothing. I will admit I was feeling a bit weak at first but once we took a snack break I was feeling much better. There were some winds as we went up.
Mount Adams showed an appearance through the clouds which had us all impressed. The rest of the way up to the summit was a nice walk up, but still had a mountainous feeling. At the crator rim, there were cornices all around. Mount Rainier was in view, but looked like bad weather on the mountain. Mount Saint Helens was having steam rising from inside the crator which had me a little surprised on how active it still was. (I know there was some activity a few years back but still it was neat).
Heading to the summit was interesting, we traversed below the cornice ridge and there were a few large cracks. When approaching the summit we took much caution, we did not touch the highest part of the top cornice, but our heads were above it, and we were higher than the summit rock as it was (due to how much snow there was on the summit).
On the way down we waited for the slope to melt out a bit, and then started on a awesome glissade. It would be too much on my thin pants so I did a run glissade, which I got amazing speed. Everyone looked as me as if I were a marithon runner. It was crazy to see someone glissade in cotton jeams. But they get style points from me.
Then the rest of the way down there were some awesome sit glissades. Soon we reached the bottom. Dave drove us all the way home which was a very nice favor, we were 20 miles out of his way. This was an outrageous adventure (you would have had to have been there to know) and we made it home safely. The next day I set out to climb Sahale Mountain...
Major Kudos to Dave for driving us, and not charging much gas money, you were a great guy!
Also Kudos to Eastking for organizing the trip and letting Michael and I summit Mount Hood.
Kudos to Michael for leading the top part of the old chute and buying the luxurious food!
This was a very positive step for both of you on that mountain. The two-way radios played a huge role in the both of you being successful on this mountain. You always just one click away. The ice tools also helped out on Hood. Those two way radios should be mandatory on the big mountains. They played such a huge role on this trip that I am actually going to buy a pair when I get some money.
I felt a little bad that Dave didn't make it but he made the right call turning around when he did. At 9200 feet he could not even digest food because the lack of sleep from jetlag. If he had gone any higher the impact of altitude could have really started to take it's toll on him. Even though he did have sight on the car, I knew it was smart to go down with him. I have already been to the summit here twice and the desire to have my friend down the mountain safe and sound far outweighed the desire for the summit. That being said, even if I hadn't been on that the summit I still would have easily turned around. It is a safety first thing with me and knowing that my friend is safe is far better then standing on any summit. Next year Dave and I will have a new plan to get him to the top of Hood and possibly Rainier.
With a full moon, not a real cloud in the sky and good footprints I knew that Josh and Jimbopo had a great shot. They also had a good visual diagram with them and two map along with two radios. They both looked very strong and my gut told me and Dave that this was going to be their day. For Josh it is the highest mountain he has done and or Jimbopo it is his second highest (Shasta). Jimbopo proved on the Shasta trip that he is a great asset in the mountains and that he deserves a shot at the big mountains. For Josh he proved a lot on this trip and if he is with the right people he is a great asset even on the bigger mountains. His big shot though might come next weekend with Rainier now that Gimpilator as taught him the Z-pulley.
I will put up my Saint Helens photos tomorrow. That was a terrific climb. I wish Jimbopo was on it but I was happy to see that Dave, Josh and I were the best equipped for that mountain on that day. I was surprised to see how many people did not have ice axes or crampons on Saint Helens! There was patchy snow all the way from trailhead and parts of the mountain were downright icy in the morning. Luckily all of them stopped at the rim and didn't try for the true summit like we did. Overall a great time and everyone on the trip had a great and most important safe time.
-------------- I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.
You are developing into quite the writer and mountaineer! With your better judgement, it's also a lot easier to read your trip reports. You're gaining amazing strength bro. Just don't let it get the better of you ... let the better of you get it.
Great trip guys , Iv'e never been a peak bagger (mountaineer) but you have really got my attention. I do some inside rock climbing which informs me of knots and some of the gear. I was going to do Rainier with a guide service this year after going to one of the REI info classes but the guide services were already booked for the year.So it's next year for Rainier, more time to study this activity. I bag some of the local peaks during the summer while backpacking but would like to add the winter trips. Any advise on how to start out on the right track would be appreciated via good books or classes whatever.
-------------- " The price of freedom is eternal vigilance".
If I were you ADAHY, I would read the book "Freedome of the Hills" 6th or 7th edition. If you want, I would be willing to help teach some skills, I've taught my friends once how to ice axe arrest. For me personally I'm not a fan of having a guide up the mountains, what I do is get out pretty much every weekend in the mountains. I go with great partners. Great partners is something you should look into if possible. I know there are plenty of folks willing to help, I included. But if it is glacier travel you seek, there is some work that should be done on your part, like studying knots, setting up anchors, ect. If you know all that stuff, and have experienced partners, heck then you won't even need a guide. I wish you good luck on your quest.
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