Quick Hit on the Hood

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 30, 2010      
Jordan on the Wy'east Face, Mount Hood

Jordan on the Mazama Chute, Mount Hood

Wow, it is a long ways from Anchorage to the lower 48. Driving the Alcan and Cassiar Highways during the hours wildlife is prancing about like entertainers at a renaissance fair is not a great option, so we put in a series of four driving days of about 12 hours each to reach the US border, and camped out each ‘night’ to let the bears and caribou have the road without the threat of my Buckstop front bumper ruining their fun.

More than four days (including driving around to a few industry visits) of sitting in a cramped truck is quite enough, so we were excited to finally squat that rabbit and be near a PNW climb and ski option we could hit quick and get back on the asphalt for the final leg into Colorado.

Caleb getting the climb done.

Caleb getting the climb done.

Interestingly, the usual easy ski route I’m used to on Hood, involving the Pearly Gates via the Hogbacks, was blocked by extra thick formations of cauliflower ice. Instead, most climbers and skiers appear to be using the Mazama Chute to climber’s left, so that’s what we did.

Lou hits it, he's been up here quite a few times but says he still loves Hood.

Lou hits it, he's been up here quite a few times but says he still loves Hood.

We were there a few hours too early for effective sun softening of the snow, so the face had what to me was some scary ice above the predatory fume filled crater, but we got down the steeper stuff in once piece and had what was overall a nice climb and descent to break up the drive. A bit of lunch at Timberline ended the festivities, and we were back on the road trying to punch through to Idaho before dinner time.

My favorite photo of the lot,  summit ridge on a classic PNW day.

My favorite photo of the lot, summit ridge on a classic PNW day.

Summit Ridge

Mount Hood summit ridge.

Jordan and Caleb have been working hard on their mountain photography during our road trip and Denali climb. You can see it in their selection for this trip report. Nice job guys!

Jordan on the Hogback.

Jordan on the Hogback.

On the summit, it wasn't crowded like it is sometimes.

On the summit, it wasn't crowded like it is sometimes.

Jordan recently took up transcendental meditation and has learned how to levitate.

Jordan recently took up transcendental meditation and has learned how to levitate.

bit scared of the icy steep terrain with a gas filled crater looming below.

Yours truly a bit scared of the icy steep terrain with a gas filled crater looming below. It's amazing how well the rockered Waybacks hold on ice, but if I made a habit of this I think I'd like a different ski for 40 degree boilerplate.

Caleb Ski Low

Caleb skiing down lower on the route. The snow seemed to get better as we got further down.


Louie making the icy conditions look easy.

One glitch to share. I’ve made fun for years of the people who stick their nose in their automobile GPS and end up on weird routes the thing computes. Well, the same thing happened to us getting from Hood to Interstate 84. The 20 miles of one-lane pavement and gravel road was a bit scary in a huge camper-trailer rig, but we figured Garmin had to be right, right? Like I always say, adventure is where you find it.


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19 Responses to “Quick Hit on the Hood”

  1. Ben June 30th, 2010 10:42 am

    Nice to see you all in our neck of the woods. One quick note of clarification: The Wy’east Face is actually the big east facing slope above the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area. It looks like you may have skied what is often referred to as the Old Chute (or Mazama Chute), then down below the West Crater rim.

  2. Randonnee June 30th, 2010 11:12 am

    Good one you guys. I managed to climb and ski around 7000 vert on Mt Adams- (north of the Columbia R from Hood for anyone unfamiliar with the area) last Friday in very nice conditions.

    Lou, your statement “Yours truly a bit scared of the icy steep terrain with a gas filled crater looming below” illustrates why my spring/summer/volcano ski of choice is the Seven Summit Superlight with the 80 mm waist. The 80mm waist Seven Summit Superlight is skied well by the lighter and better-walking Zzero 3 boot.

    Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  3. Lou June 30th, 2010 11:39 am

    Thanks Ben, I was wondering if I was totally right about that or not.

  4. Lou June 30th, 2010 11:47 am

    Rando, we were thinking of Adams but realized we needed something that didn’t cut in to our driving time that much. Adams will have to wait till the next visit!

  5. Randonnee June 30th, 2010 12:07 pm

    Lou, Adams is the best (for my summer skitouring anyway)! Last Friday I think there were six other skiers that day and it appeared to be first tracks (or nearly so) since last snowfall. Adams is further east than the other volcanoes, in my opinion better weather and I find a better chance of having good or acceptable skiing conditions there than elsewhere.

    It is a long approach this year so far with snow from probably 4600 ft. Instead of slogging the snowed-in Road, I went up Morrison Cr through the forest. That is a direct route but prone to wandering unless one is on the navigation.

    The Adams SW Chutes should be in fine shape, I hope to get back there in a couple of weeks.

  6. Randonnee June 30th, 2010 12:32 pm

    Mt Hood has great skiing as well. I should have mentioned that. Often I ski there before heading to Mt Adams. Timberline is a great Lodge, a favorite spot for an annual family visit. And how cool is it that the lifts at Timberline or on the Palmer Glacier run nearly year-around, and all of the kids and teams training there. A great place!

  7. Colby June 30th, 2010 1:11 pm

    Looking good guys, Lou its good to see you still have two crampons! ;-)!

  8. Lou June 30th, 2010 1:23 pm

    He he, very funny (grin).

  9. Jonathan Shefftz June 30th, 2010 3:07 pm

    Lou, belated congrats on Denali, and funny that we came so close to meeting up with each other on Hood: skied from the summit on Monday, then skied Wy’East face on Tuesday. (Perfect snow for the former, but so bad the next day for the latter that we turned around 800′ vert from the top of the face: nasty ice crust for skiing but weak enough that on every step we were postholing through to the unconsolidated snow underneath — fortunately Superbowl below had conditions nice enough to merit another lap.)

  10. Ron Rash June 30th, 2010 3:15 pm


    Did Jordan gain weight on Denali? That one photo of Jordan makes him look huge, somewhere between 280 and 300 lbs.? I’m concerned we’re getting in to summer hiking season on the Bells, Pyramid, and Capitol. Most of our guides are overweight but we do have to draw the line somewhere.

    Congratulations, on an awesome trip and even more the incredible reporting!

  11. Jordan June 30th, 2010 3:26 pm

    Easy there Ron,
    I certainly didn’t lose any on the road trip! Perhaps you should hire Lou though, he’s looking as skinny as ever! Perhaps even emaciated.

  12. Caleb June 30th, 2010 3:26 pm


    According to the scale at the Idaho gas station we were just in, Jordan did somehow gain weight since we left Carbondale in May. I suspect it has something to do with the convenience store diet we have been on the last 10 days though.

  13. Jeff Stephens July 1st, 2010 7:42 am

    Awesome photos from the crew! Looking strong. What fisheye lens was being used in those photos? Is that like a 10mm? My pics from the Hogback don’t look like that.

  14. Mark W July 1st, 2010 8:37 am

    Sweet Hood shots. Never did it while I lived in Portland, but should have.

  15. Lou July 1st, 2010 8:51 am

    The problem with my emaciated state is that if I had to tuna haul a client (known as ‘short roping’ in polite circles, or when discussing a route with a client on the phone), I’d probably get pulled off the mountain. So I think I’ll pass on the guiding for now, and just tie in to the office computer (grin).

  16. Lou July 1st, 2010 8:53 am

    Jonathan, too bad we didn’t cross paths up there!

    Yeah, it’s amazing how the snow varies on Hood.

  17. Caleb Wray July 1st, 2010 12:16 pm


    The fisheye shots are with an 8mm lens. 180 view.

  18. OMR July 2nd, 2010 9:41 am

    Lou, great post(s) – always. You’ll never know the diversion your stories provide while cubicle surfing. My boss has caught me twice since you started the Denali trip, but I think he’s converted. After catching me the second time he started asking questions. The next day I caught him reading the your summit-day post.
    A few years ago we skied Rainier and Hood on a short road trip (nothing like yours). On Rainier we found Alta quality powder above Camp Muir and on Hood we found great styrofoam top to bottom – it was idiot proof skiing. Although, on the approach below the hogback and below the lowest fumerols, I was dismayed when I plunged waste deep into a hidden crevasse. I had assumed this to be a safe location and we were not roped. It was all good, but some digging revealed a crack 12-18 inches wide X 15 feet long X ?? deep. Nothing I’ve read on Hood mentioned creavasses in that location.

  19. Lou July 2nd, 2010 10:30 am

    Thanks for the words OMR. Yeah, there are some cracks up there on Hood (crevasses, glide cracks, whatever…). I think it’s safe to go unroped when visibility is good, and you’re on skis and in the general locations where people have foot traveled and not punched through, and if the snow you’re on is not totally slushed out and thus creating weak snow bridges… nonetheless I always wear a harness up there and carry a rope, and do rope up on occasion.

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