This past Friday I had the pleasure of joining Mr. Jason Wheeler on a one-day course that climbed Mt Hood via hogs back.
The course goal was to give route information and a feel for the current conditions on the mountain for a friend that would be climbing later in the week. The adventure began as most good adventures do, with a tow truck.
I grabbed my board, bag and backpack, threw it in the truck and we set off to Portland. As we shared our past travels since we had last seen each other it seemed liked the trip was flying by. We had made it to Olympia in no time. The mile markers were ticking by and we were on schedule to pick up Von at PDX. Then the truck made that noise. Then it made another, the speedometer jumped up and flat lined. We pulled off to the side of the road and made a phone call to AAA. We were back on schedule. We shortly there after we picked up Von were going over gear and planning before 5pm.
After going over the next mornings plans it was time for a short nap (6pm-10pm) breakfast/dinner and then to the mountain. Master chef Jason cooked up a delicious batch of sausage, eggs and toast. Before we knew it we were in the car and off to Hood.
We were skinning up from the timberline lodge by 1:30am and we were feeling great. The good weather had come in early so we enjoyed a silhouette of the summit draped with the city lights of Portland. The Timberline lodge groomers were diligently working through the night to keep everything in stellar condition for the next day. While they groomed the hill there headlights would catch the summit for a few short seconds, showing us a glimpse of our day ahead. Once we reached about 9000ft we stashed our skis and started to boot up to the base of the route. By this time it was about 5am, the sun had started to breach the sky. The southern cascades stood proud in the morning light. The ridged summit Mt Jefferson was in full view with the three sisters looming behind.
As we reached the hogs back we roped up and talked about what our main concerns were. After discussing the route and what our plan was we started up the old chute. Jason had estimated about 45 minutes to the summit ridge from here, and 15mins from the ridge to the summit. The three of us started up the chute at steady pace, Jason broke trail up through the chute, and we cruised our way onto the summit ridge.
I had always heard about the knife-edge summit ridge on Mt Hood and I was psyched to get to check it out for myself. It definitely lived up to the name! As we gained the ridge the sun shined bright and cast a beautiful golden glow on everything in sight. We walked on the ridge as the only party heading for the summit.
Soon after passing a thinner portion of ridge we were home free, the ridge opened up and a few short minutes later we were high fiving and taking in the panoramas We all felt very fortunate to have made it up that morning.
Though, I feel like I can speak for all three of us in saying that this was just the icing on the cake and had we not made it still would have been an amazing trip. It seemed like such a short 11hrs, but it’s funny how much you can learn in that period of time when you are given the opportunity to be apart of the mentorship of climbing like I was with KAF Adventures.
Thank you Mick, Jason and Von for a great trip, see you guys in cascades soon!