In the summer of 2019, by buddy Hans Webster and I road-tripped from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA, climbing volcanoes along the way. This was the first in the trip.
Part one of Hans’ and my road-trip adventure was Mt. Hood. This was Hans’ first real mountaineering experience, and a good introduction to mountain climbing for him. He picked me up at the PDX airport and we picked up some mountaineering boots and crampons for him in town. We drove out to Government Camp and slept the night in the parking lot (shhhhh….).
The afternoon before, we practiced self-arrest in a small snow patch just above the parking lot. Hans sloshed around in the snow, practicing his skills. We talked about the principles of a rope team, and different ice axe techniques like self-arrest grip, low dagger, etc. I showed Hans how to strap on crampons, front point, etc.
We made some dinner in the parking lot, starting up at Mt. Hood (Wy’East) and taking it all in.
Around 3 AM or so Hans and I started out from the car, climbing up under the Palmer lift and towards the Hogsback. The climb is pretty straightforward and has beta sprayed about it everywhere, but here is the quick run-down: climb under the Palmer Lift, then aim for the climber’s right side of Crater Rock. You will likely have a boot pack to follow the entire way. Once at Crater Rock, you can either climb directly up via the Pearly Gates, or traverse to climber’s left and then back climber’s right via the Old Chute.
Hans and I cruised up the groomed corduroy under the Palmer Lift to the end of the ski area; from there, we continued up towards Crater Rock. The sun rose as we made our way up around 9,500 or so, with the shadow of Mt. Hood over the surrounding valley. Always a cool feeling.
Hans and I didn’t rope up for any part of this climb. From Crater Rock, we opted for the Pearly Gates, as opposed to the old chute. I led the way, with an axe in low dagger. The Pearly Gates weren’t terribly icy this time, more like “snice” (snow-ice).
We saw plenty of other climbers up on top, as usual on Mt. Hood in the summer. On the summit, Hans and I played Soulja Boy…and this video has to be my all-time favorite.
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