July 9, 2010 – Cooper Spur, Mt Hood

Leaving the southern Willamette Valley around noon felt really good, given the temperature was continuing to creep upward with a projected high in the upper 90’s.  It had been awhile since we’d been out to make turns, sowe were hoping to take advantage of some of the excellent corn of the mid-summer.  We pulled into Cloud Cap parking lot about 4:15 or so and setup camp for the evening.  The goal was an ascent of Snowdome in the morning, and the route looked good on the drive up the mountain.  After some discussion, we decided to forgo sitting around at camp for the evening and head up towards Cooper Spur to see if we could find some turns.  The spur appeared to be holding more snow than previous July’s, so we hit the trail around 5:15.  The views from the Timberline trail were quite scenic.  Adams to the north looked really nice, and several other ski/snowboard enthusiasts were gearing up for the Southwest Chutes, no doubt.

Mt Adams from the Timberline Trail

Before long, the trail started gaining elevation, and though it was hot, there was a steady breeze which kept up cool.  We broke out of the canyon and onto the alpine slopes of Hood’s northside.  The photo below shows the Cooper Spur at right, and the Eliot Glacier and Snowdome in the middle and left.

Todd hiking towards Cooper Spur

We reached the snowfields below the spur and continued hiking in the now stiff wind.  The view of the mountain was beautiful, and I was anxious to get some July turns in the books.  I snapped several photos along the way with the camera in the hopes that a few of them would turn out.  This shot is looking back to the north with Mt. Adams in the background…

Adams to the north

We continued up, and in a few minutes we were at our highpoint.  Right before we crested the spur, which is at an elevation of ~8600 feet, Todd snapped this photo of me hiking with the lower Eliot Glacier in the background…..

Hiking below Cooper Spur

The view from the top of the spur was excellent. If we had more time, I really would have like to explore the Newton Clark drainage and associated bowls.  They still had excellent coverage and looked prime.  The hike out requires either skinning back up to the spur, or a long hike around the mountain on the Timberline Trail.  I do think however, that the bowls would be worth a trip from Cloud Cap just on their own.

Looking across the Newton Clark Glacier

At the spur, we soaked in the view for awhile.  I turned over a rock and found about 200 lady bugs underneath – pretty interesting for 8600 feet.  The sun began to partially set behind the mountain, and I was able to snap this shot looking at the Cooper Spur climbing route…

Hood’s summit from Cooper Spur

Next, it was time to strap into our sliding gear and drop in for some July turns.  The snow was excellent corn and the light made for some nice snapshots.  Below are a couple shots of Todd riding the main snowfield directly below Cooper Spur…

Todd harvesting some summer corn


Evening turns below the spur

We were able to ride down about 2500 vertical feet, of which the top 1500 was excellent!  The last 1000 feet was a bit mushy, but we were able to link snow fingers and patches down close to the Timberline Trail.

Matt riding the lower snowfields below Cooper Spur

Finally, once the snow petered out, we shouldered our packs and boards and hiked the trail back to Cloud Cap.  Todd got a fire going, we drank a beer and had some grub, then snapped a few really nice pictures of the July sunset, before hitting the bivy sack so we could tackle the Eliot Glacier and Snowdome the next morning.

Sunset from Cloud Cap


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