October 13, 2010 – White River Glacier

The White River Glacier was calling my name for October turns, so I took a day off work since I had plans for the remaining weekends in the month. Driving up Interstate 5 from the southern Willamette Valley in the early morning and watching the sunrise reminded me how a day on the hill is always better than a day at work. Arriving at the climbers lot around 8:00 am and not wanting to climb under the ski lifts, I decided to explore out towards the White River Glacier, not having visited the lower part since last August. Here’s a shot of the mountain from the parking lot…

Mt Hood – October 13, 2010

I shouldered my pack and set out up the trail under mostly sunny skies. The weather was pleasant, and it appeared it wouldn’t get too hot during the day. Along the trail there are some pretty views of the mountain….

Hood in fall colors

I kept hiking up and slightly to the northeast as a slight breeze picked up and cooled the sweat from my brow. After an hour or so, I reached the White River Canyon, and was treated to nice views of the canyon and Mt. Jefferson to the south….

Looking south down White River Canyon

Around 7500 feet, I found a suitable spot to take a break, and was able to peer over towards the Palmer Snowfield. The lifts weren’t running, but a snowcat was hauling a group of snowboarders and skiers up the snowfield with a big long tow rope.I’d brought along my tripod, so I set it up and snapped a few photos of the White River Glacier with me in the picture just for fun…..

Matt w/the White River Glacier

The view down onto the glacier from the ridge was magnificent, but even if you’re tempted to climb down to the glacier this time of year, it’s not a good idea due to the hideous rockfall that rains down on it. I saw several large boulders cut loose just during my hike along the ridge. Here’s a shot of the glacier jumble from the ridge…..

White River Glacier

Once to the top of the Palmer, I had a Gu and some water, then proceeded up the upper White River Snowfield. The snow above the Palmer was quite hard and I wished I would have brought my crampons. I climbed up to about 9300 feet and decided to stop as the snow surface started to deteriorate and wasn’t in good riding shape. I snapped a few photos from my high point before strapping in to enjoy the ride down.

Looking down on the lower White River Glacier

The ride down the snowfield was pretty good. The first couple of turns were a bit sketch and kind of icy, but after that it was soft enough to get an edge in and enjoy the snow without fear of sliding into a crevasse:) I descended down to the bottom of the snowfield and snapped a few photos of my board and the upper mountain before heading over to the Palmer.

At the bottom of the upper snowfield

The ride down the Palmer was very enjoyable and the snow was perfect. Riding down the upper snowfield by myself in perfect corn I was tempted to head up for another lap, but pretty tuckered out from the early morning drive and climb. I made turns down to 7000 feet, and the canyon below that was completely bare, so I walked the rest of the way out with a couple from Indiana who were out trail hiking and inquiring about my setup, etc. They couldn’t believe people make turns-all-year, and when I told them that this was month 59 for me, they thought that must be some kind of record. I assured them that many people in the northwest have streaks that are way longer than mine.

Tracks on the lower Palmer in the canyon

Back at the truck at 12:45, I hit the Mt Hood Brew Pub for a nice cold pint of Cloud Cap Amber in Govy prior to heading down to Gresham to visit my Uncle before heading home. Another October in the books, and it was an excellent way to spend the day!