Hood Climb - South Route
May 20 to May 21, 2021
Coordinator: Noel Tavan
Summit Altitude: 11250 feet
Elevation Gain: 5233 feet
Round-trip Distance: 10 miles
Excursion Time: 13 hours (car-to-car)
Trip report by Kyle B.-
The weather was not in our favor for a 1am alpine start - so McDonalds breakfast was had, and we (Noel, Julio, and Kyle) departed the climbers hut at 6am to fight the clouds. We saw we were the only climbers on the hill, so we were excited to have some fun without feeling the pressure from the crowds.
Windy, cold, and cloudy was the theme for the next few hours. A few breaks in the weather showed us some sun, but never the summit. We stopped at devils kitchen to discuss our options. Poor visibility, but good spirits and having the peak to ourselves gave us reason to push on - if we needed to bail, we would not be affecting any groups around us.
With no bootpack or trail, we pushed up the seemingly super steep yet powdery hogsback to the bergschrund, which was big and open. Noel and Kyle took turns breaking trail to the left side in deep powder, and traversed over top to regain our route up the Pearly gates. This section took a lot of time and effort - big snow, big bergschrund, but big appetites to have lunch on the summit.
Once back in the gates, Julio took over to lead us to success. After a short ice climb in the gates, thigh deep powder was the last obstacle before we were on top at about 2pm. No views, no other climbers, and no complaints from us! As we dined, a 30 second weather break gave us a little view to the north and the perfect backdrop for a much needed group selfie.. After a 10 minute break, we retreated into worse visibility.
Downclimbing the ice step was a little sketchy, and the traverse back over the bergschrund was much easier this time around. Once on the hogback, we could not see much further than 30 feet. This, combined with the snow and wind deleting our boot pack from the way up, led to some interesting route finding, aka taking the wrong route down. A few traverses got us back on track, and a break in the clouds finally showed us the palmer lift.
We hustled back to our cars, hoping to make our dinner plans back in portland. Car to car was a total of 11.5 hours.