July 14, 2006 – Snowdome/Langille Glacier, Mt Hood

The snowriding on Mt Hood’s north side in July generally yields good turns and nice weather.  Below, Matt Stouder climbs towards the Snowdome with the Cooper Spur and Eliot Headwall routes in the background……..

On the trail to Snowdome

The weather was a bit warm as I left town from the southern Willamette Valley on Thursday afternoon.  Soon though, I met up with Todd in Gresham, and we driving up the road to Cloud Cap with beautiful views and cooler temps.  The road was in pretty poor condition, but nevertheless, we pulled into the campground in time to setup our tent and build a nice campfire to enjoy a couple of beers and stories by.  The next morning we hit the trail early and soon we gained the main ridge above Eliot Cr.  We down climbed through the scree/boulders and crossed Eliot Cr. on one of the few remaining snowbridges.

Snowbridge crossing Elliot Creek

There was one couple ahead of us, and they were the only other people we saw the whole day.  After crossing the snowbridge, we gained the ridge on the west side of  Eliot Cr which leads up to Snowdome.  We climbed below the Langille Crags on a snowfield, past some nice bivy sites and eventually onto the lower portion of the Snowdome.

Snowdome & the Eliot Glacier

We reached the top of the dome (~ 9300 ft) around 10:45, with only a few crevasses showing on the way up (to the climber’s right). The views alone from top of the Dome make the trip worthwhile.  After enjoying the scenery, we strapped into our gear for the descent. The ride down the Snowdome was pretty nice, but a bit suncupped.  Around 8000 feet, we made the decision to drop into the Langille Glacier Bowls rather than riding back down the Eliot.  The corn here was excellent and ready for harvest…..

Riding corn on the Langille Glacier

The vertical kept going and going.  We took a break for a few minutes on some rocks, then carved all the way down to within 50 feet of the Timberline Trail.  Total vertical was over 3500 feet with only one small traverse over some talus between Snowdome and the Langille Glacier.

The lower reaches of the Langille snowfields

We hiked out the T-Line trail back towards Cloud Cap.  The views along the trail were excellent, offering up eye candy of Barret Spur to the east, more bowls to the west, and Mt Adams to the North.

Mt Adams from the Timberline Trail

Don’t forget to pack some extra water or fill up at one of the creeks, because it’s a few miles back to Cloud Cap.  We ended up crossing the Eliot drainage on the normal trail on a large snow bridge that will probably last for another week or two (if not longer).

Mt Hood peeking out from behind the clouds

The hike down to the snow bridge was sketchy with the trail being washed out.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it and probably wouldn’t do it again without a rope.  A better choice would have been to climb back up the ridge and drop in on the lower Eliot.  When all was said and done though, we had 3500 vertical feet in the middle of July in one of the most scenic places in the state – definitely a worthwhile effort!

Todd Singleton hiking back to Cloud Cap

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