July 10, 2010 – Snowdome, Mt Hood

After a perfect evening making summer turns on the Cooper Spur and a pleasant night at Cloud Cap Campground, Todd and I awoke early and hit the trail with the intention of riding the Snowdome and lower Eliot Glacier.   The first hour up the ridge went by quickly, and soon we dropped down to the Eliot to cross the glacier. In order to access Snowdome, it’s necessary to cross the Eliot around 7000 – 7500 feet, since the trail and lower canyon have been washed out for several years. Our ascent route is shown in the photo below.

Snowdome & the Eliot Glacier

The views to the north were awesome all day long, with Rainier, Adams & St Helens all looking in prime condition.  Here’s a shot taken from the rock covered lower Eliot Glacier…

Looking north towards Mt Adams & Rainier

Conditions on the glacier were good, with very few crevasses showing on the ascent route. We had packed glacier gear and harnesses, but they wouldn’t be necessary.  We broke out the rope anyway just for some skills practice….

Climbing the lower Eliot

The climb along the lower glaicer to the base of the ‘dome is always interesting, and this day was no exception.  At the base of Snowdome, we continued with booting instead of breaking out the skins (it kinda seems like whenever I go to Hood in July I don’t use the skins for some reason or another).  By 9:30, we topped out just over 9400 feet. A climbing party was pulling their camp after summiting via the Sunshine route earlier in the day, so we chatted with them for a bit.   Initially, we’d given some consideration to climbing up higher, but the snow conditions were badly deteriorating on the steeper slopes above the ‘dome,  and the climbing party confirmed that the Sunshine was pretty mushy, so we opted to take the boards off and make turns.  A few minutes later, a large serac/icefall calved on the Coe Glacier to the west – a good reminder to be extra careful around those things when you’re near them.  After enjoying the views for a few more minutes, it was time for turns.  Todd dropped first and made some creamy turns down the middle of the ‘dome, then stopped to snap a few photos of me.  The snow was smooth and fast snow as I dropped in with the the climbing party looking on, envious of our quick ride down knowing they had a long slog ahead to get to Cloud Cap.

Turns on the ‘dome

Corn snow turns on Snowdome

We made some more turns, and headed down the lower half of the dome.  The Snowdome has a few sections where the rollovers are steeper and they make for some good pictures, like this one Todd shot of me…..

Cruising down the Snowdome

I snapped a couple of photos of Todd, the first with Mt St Helens in the background, and then the second as he flew by me showing the lower portion of the dome, Eliot Glacier, and Cloud Cap in the distance…..

Mt St Helens & telemark turns

Todd skiing w/Cloud Cap far below

The snow down below in the Langille Bowls and out towards Barret Spur looked really enticing, but we elected to ride back down our ascent route, having dropped into the Langille Bowls the previous two times we visited the area.  Since the Eliot canyon washed out a few years ago, skiing the Langille Bowls is a major undertaking, requiring a long climb/slog back up and out (after the initial 3500 foot climb of the Snowdome).

More smooth turns

We made some cautious turns on the Eliot, and were able to ride back down to the bottom of the glacier, where we hit the climbers trail for the hike out to the truck.  The seracs and icefall on the lower glacier were starting to open up and provided a nice backdrop as we rode by….

Skiing w/Hood’s north face in the background

Cruising down the lower Eliot Glacier

The final turns down the Eliot to the climbers trail were a bit sticky, but still nice.  Overall, the coverage was better than any other time I’ve been out on the north side of Hood in July.

Turns on the lower Eliot

We hit the trail and were back to the truck by 12:30 and on the road to Govy for a burger. We stopped in at the Ratskellar and I had a new seasonal beer called “Hop in the Dark” from Deschutes Brewery.  It was definitely worth the $4.  Another months of turns are in the books, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a couple of day in mid-July….

1 comment to July 10, 2010 – Snowdome, Mt Hood