September 7, 2009 – Palmer Glacier, Mt Hood

I left the southern Willamette Valley solo shortly before 5:30 in the morning, hoping to get some fresh snow and cooperative weather. I ended up getting a little of both.  Though it was the last day of the summer “season” at the Timberline Ski Area, the lifts weren’t running due to inclement weather (rain at the base).  I left the parking lot about 8:30 am, and it was sprinkling rain, but turned to snow near 6500 feet. There wasn’t anyone around, and the hike up the mountain was very nice.   The weather was cold and very winter like – definitely a nice change from the recent months of summer heat.  I snapped this winter like photo about 800 feet above the parking lot….

Taste of an early winter

Soon, I made it to Silcox hut at 7000 feet and the weather cleared enough to let me snap the photo below….

Silcox Hut with a fresh coat of September snow

I continued up the trail and met one hiker at the top of the Mile, and after some chit-chat, headed up the canyon towards the top of the Palmer. He snapped a photo of me before we parted ways….

Hiking above the mile

The weather was steadily improving as I hiked up the Palmer,  and the sun even peaked out.  Here was my view from about 8000 feet…

8000 foot view

By the time I reached the top of the snowfield, the weather decided to cloud back up and it started to snow.  The below photo shows the view from halfway up the Palmer snowfield…..

Looking down the Palmer Snowfield – September 2009

At the top, I quickly ate my PB&J, strapped on my board, and started riding down the Palmer Glacier to make September turns.  The fresh snow was two to three inches deep on average, more in places, less in others.  It was good to feel some of the fresh stuff again.  Below the Palmer lift, I decided to toy with my camera and see if I could get a shot of a nice big snow spray as I made a hard heel side turn.  Here’s a still shot I pulled from a video clip…it wasn’t as easy to get the shot as I thought – I really had to crank the turn and spray about 12 feet in the air….

September fresh

The snow on the Palmer is definitely thin, but should hold up into October for Oregonians looking for early turns. I probably should have brought the splitter today as the skinning would have been pretty easy.  In any event, it was a great day and fun way to get month number 46 in the books!

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