July 25, 2008 – Snowdome/Langille Glacier, Mt Hood

Cloud Cap campground is one of my favorite places, and that’s where I met up with Todd & Buell on Thursday night, with the plan of hitting the Snowdome the following day.  After a nice campfire and a beer, we hit the bivy sacks around 10:00.  The next morning, we broke camp and hit the trail about 5:15am, heading up the main ridge below the Eliot Glacier.  Having not been on the north side of Hood for 2 years, I was surprised to see how washed out the canyon was.

Eliot Glacier & Snowdome

Eliot Glacier & Snowdome

We crossed the Elliot around 7500 feet or so, skirting some crevasses and seracs.  There were several ski tracks on both sides of the Elliot from the few previous days.  Todd chose to skin, while Buell and I packed our boards on our backs and used crampons.

Todd skinning across the lower Eliot

After crossing to the west side of the Eliot, we continued up and hit the snow finger that continues up and gains the lower part of Snowdome.

Skinning the snow finger below Snowdome

Once we got to the base of the dome, Buell took off a pretty fast clip.  I followed suit, and Todd continued to skin even though conditions were deteriorating, stubborn as he is.

Looking down the Snowdome

We topped out around 9300 feet, and in retrospect, I wish I would have brought my solid deck instead of the splitboard. We could see Dan Helmstadter’s tracks up on the Sunshine route from 10 days prior – a pretty sweet committing ski!  After a frw pictures, some rest, and some Gu, we strapped into our bindings and started the descent.

Todd & Buell descending the upper ‘Dome

The ride down the Dome itself was sub-par with large suncups.    Again, as in 2006, we elected to head down into the the Langille Bowls, knowing we were making quite a commitment by doing so since a long hike out would be required due to the canyon washout.  The snow in the bowls did not dissapoint.

Ripping summer corn turns in the Langille Bowls


Todd enjoying some summer tele-turns

The snow in the bowl furthest west was very smooth and nice.  Turn after turn was had….

Riding a connector patch between snowfields

We were able to ski to the Timberline trail, with only one portage just below the Snowdome.  Interstingly, there seemed to be more snow down low (around 6000 feet) than 2 years ago, but less snow up higher.  Here’s a shot of me riding around the 6500foot level with the Coe Glacier in the background…..

Nearing the Timberline Trail with the Coe Glacier in the background

After some water and snacks at the end of the 3500 foot ride, we shouldered our packs and headed east along the trail.

The trail home…

When we reached the spot where the trail was closed at the Elliot crossing, it was back up the ridge.  And back up the ridge.  And back up the ridge.

Hiking back up to cross the Eliot

Finally, we found a suitable crossing near 8000 feet.  I ended up running out of water on the ridge (drinking 3 liters) and it was hot.  Fortunately, we had running water on the Elliot.  We ended up back at the trail head around 3:30, making for a longer day than intended, with some 5500 feet of vertical gained, and  near 3500 feet skiied.  Not bad for late July!  With the trail washed out, the Langille is not seeing much skier traffic.  I think we hit it just about right.  It will probably be good through next weekend, but the snow is going incredibly fast.

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