I’m still wading through all of the photos and video from our Alaska trip. It’s making my computer crash just to think about it. In the meantime, and more importantly, my fiancé and chief adventure partner Taylor turned 30 this week. To celebrate, she wanted to take on an epic day. With good weather stretching onwards, we settled on the Mt Hood ski circumnavigation.
Thirty. Dirty Thirty.
I’ve been around Hood this way ages ago. Peter took a crack at it but with my nonspecific beta, he got sidetracked. For detailed beta on the loop, I have a post for you here.
Skinning up timberline
We were later in the season for this loop than the last time that I did it. That meant more open crevasses and more ropework to make the loop happen safely. Where Ethan and I had been forced to walk with crampons, Taylor and I skinned. Where Ethan and I had skied unroped, Taylor and I skied roped and belayed across bridged crevasses.
The loop is still a favorite of mine, as there’s so much of Mt Hood that so few people get to see.
Taylor on the Reid
Headed down the first real glacier of the day, Taylor and I found that what had been a ‘couloir’ for Ethan and I was now spanned by a deep crevasse. Out came the rope, crampons, and classic sit-on-planted-skis hip belay.
Taylor sent the first crux with no sweat, and we cruised down into the sun, where we started sweating.
Past the first crux.
Booting the broad Yokum Ridge towards the Sandy Glacier.
Sandy glacier crossing, Taylor dwarfed.
The warm temps did mean that we had little hard snow to mess around with, so travel through the middle of the loop was pleasant and smooth.
Exiting Cathedral Ridge to gain the Ladd/Coe glaciers.
Seracs on the Ladd Glacier
The Ladd and Coe glaciers gave us some food for thought, with lots of refrigerator-sized ice blocks littering the crossing, dropped unceremoniously from the seracs above.
Below Pulpit rock, considering more serac trash.
We made quick passage under the seracs, which have a nasty tendency of collapsing without any warning. Though the scientists seem to think that collapse has little correlation to daytime temperature, it’s hard not to think that it’s more likely when the sun is hot. The sun was hot.
Taylor jog-stumbles through debris on the Coe glacier.
The exit from the Coe glacier involved a quick scramble up what the local guide outfit refers to as Dick Pumpington ridge. I’ll leave you to consider the name.
We skied roped across and down the Eliot glacier amongst some big cracks and sagging bridges. This is one of many places where Ethan and I had it easy, and where Taylor and I had to pull out all the safety stops.
Our tracks on the Eliot.
Exit from the glacier was considerably easier than on my last loop, and we made good time gaining altitude towards Cooper’s spur to begin our last descent.
Up Cooper’s spur.
After kicking off wet slides all the way across the Newton and Clark glaciers, we made it to White river and a view of the car.
Exiting white river.
At a generally casual pace, we wrapped up the trip in 8 hours and 40 minutes, with 13.4 miles and 6700′ of elevation gain.
Parking lot love.
Much love to this one!