July 16, 2016 – Mt Hood, Southside

The weekend weather forecast looked good, so Dan and I made plans to head to Hood for some easy southside turns in mid-July.  From the webcams, it looked like the snowpack was holding up nice, and we weren’t disappointed when we pulled into the climbers lot and got a view of the mountain…

Hood

Hood from the climbers lot

The cloud deck was hovering just below Timberline all day, and we even had drizzle in Sandy, but above treeline the mountain was basking in the summer sun.  We hiked the climbers trail up towards the Palmer, and the summer wildflowers were in full effect…

Dan

Dan on the approach

Hood

Looking south to Jefferson

Above the Palmer, we took a break on the White River Snowfield to eat a quick bite and rehydrate, when some snowboarders started descending our way.  I recognized Jeff Steele as he rode down to us, and it was good to catch up with him and his wife Kelley.  Seems like we always meet up somewhere on the side of a volcano!  After a good chat, we continued booting up the White River, and traversed over towards the base of Crater Rock.  Illumination Rock looked pretty nice against the cloud bank to the west….

Illumination Rock

Illumination Rock

At the base of Crater, we made the decision to head up higher, but agreed to pay close attention to the clouds that were starting to pose a threat to visibility as morning shifted to afternoon.  Here’s a view looking south from below Devil’s Kitchen….

Hood

Southside view

We punched steps in the final slopes to the Hogsback ridge, skirting a crevasse or two.  The east facing snow below the ridge was pretty ripe.  Upon reaching the ridge, we worked our way up towards the bergschrund, which at 10,7000 was what we decided to call our high point for the day.  The upper slopes looked nice, but the clouds below and the perfect snow were more than enough to persuade us to make some sweet turns….

Dan

Dan above Crater Rock

Matt

Matt below the bergschrund

After soaking in the views, it was time to make turns, and I dropped in first while Dan snapped a few photos of me with my camera.  I returned the favor with a few shots of my own from my cell phone, which actually turned out pretty decent…

Dan

Dan skiing below the bergy

Matt dropping in

Matt dropping in

The snow below the bergschrund was excellent, and each of us had mile wide smiles on our faces when we regrouped above Devils Kitchen.  After working our way past the crux point between a couple of crevasses and over a snow bridge, we had to work our way around a group of gumby climbers who had no business being that high on the mountain (basically if downclimbing a 30 degree slope in corn snow conditions is a problem you have no business being on the mountian, but hey it’s Mt Hood, right?).

Dan

Dan skiing above Devil’s Kitchen

Dan

More turns

The snow above the White River Headwall was the only poor snow of the day, and was pretty hideous.  Thankfully it only lasted a few hundred vertical, and then we were back to the smooth snow we came for.  Here’s a few shots of Dan ripping on the Zigzag snowfield…

Dan

Turns on the upper mountain

Dan

Dan skiing by Illumination Rock

We skied down quite a ways on the Zigzag, and stopped to have a beer and eat some food.  Unfortunately, my beer decided to blow up in my pack, so I had the good fortune of getting to drink no beer, but still pack the weight and smell like a brewery.  Oh well, it was hardly a damper on an excellent day.  After our quick break, we made big, high speed sweeping turns down the Zigzag before traversing over to the top of the Palmer….

Matt

Matt riding the Zigzag

Gaining access to the top of the Palmer required a very short hike, and then we were able t enjoy the views from 8500 feet.  Since the lifts had quit spinning, it was just us and the ravens on the mountain….

Ravens

Ravens on the top of the Palmer

Palmer

Looking down the Palmer

At the top of the Palmer, we soaked in the views for a few minutes before heading down for 2400 feet of excellent July turns.  I always love riding the Palmer in the summer and fall after the public has gone home for the day…..

Palmer

Dan skiing the lower Palmer

It’s such a treat to ski out the Mile Canyon as well.  This option hasn’t been available late in the year for the last couple of years, and it sure was nice to ride almost all the way back to the lodge.

Mile

Looking up the Mile

Back at the car, we enjoyed some fresh garden salsa, as well as a fatty garden salad.  Summer in Oregon is the best.

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