September 6, 2015 – Mt Hood, Palmer Glacier

“Sunday looks like the day” I said to Dan on the phone.  We were debating on whether to try for September turns on Thursday or Labor Day weekend.  We preferred Thursday, but the forecast for the weekend looked better, so we opted for Sunday.  Dan showed up at my house just after 5:00 am on Sunday, and we loaded the car and headed out.

Driving up I-5, we could see the mountain from Salem and things were looking good.  As we approached Portland, clouds were moving in and I could sense some unplanned weather might be headed our way.  The mountain was shrouded in clouds by the time we reached Sandy and stopped for a donut at Joe’s, and by the time we reached the parking lot it looked like it may actually rain.  Regardless, we packed up our gear and headed up the road to Silcox…

Timberline Lodge
Timberline Lodge

Silcox was visible as we left the parking area, but a few minutes later it was shrouded in clouds.  By the time we reached the top of the mile, it had started to rain.  Bummer.  We continued up and soon arrived at the mid-station of the Palmer, which had exactly zero snow…..

Palmer mid-station
Palmer mid-station

Pushing on, we eventually reached what was left of the snow on the Palmer “Glacier.”  The rain came down harder.  We found some fresh snow left over from the previous storm, mixed in with the residual dirty older snow.

The bottom of the snow
The bottom of the snow
Climbing for September turns
Dan Climbing the Palmer

We topped out just below the top lift shack, switched over to ski boots, and started down.  It was raining harder now.  The turns were actually pretty good.  Dan and I took turns snapping a few photos to document the event….

September turns
Matt getting some September turns
Dan enjoying the skiing

We managed about 500 feet on the first lap, and decided to head back for another.  At the top, we met fellow turns-all-year enthusiasts Jeff and Aaron, and enjoyed some brief conversation while enjoying a beer and continuing to get soaked.  At this point, both Dan and I had come to the realization the weather wasn’t going to improve (despite the forecast) and that we couldn’t get much wetter, so we just enjoyed what we had — a fun time skiing and boarding in September.  The second lap was even better than the first….

Matt enjoying another lap

We decided to climb back up for a third lap, and milk the day for somewhere around 1500 vertical.  The last lap was great, and so, completely soaked, we headed down the hill for the long hike out over snowless terrain.  An hour or so later, it was sure nice to be in a set of dry clothes, siting in a warm car, and enjoying a cold beer and fresh chips and salsa.  Although it wasn’t epic riding, both Dan and I agreed, we’ll probably never forget these September turns!  Here’s a parting shot from the day…

Heading Home...
Heading Home…



  1. ShailCaesar!
    September 22, 2015

    Just saw this today and checked the webcam I guess that’s definitive proof that the Palmer “Glacier” is no more eh? Sad…I wonder how the ZigZag is doing? Looks like the White Salmon will hang on for awhile.

  2. ShailCaesar!
    September 22, 2015

    White River I mean LOL.

  3. Matt
    September 22, 2015

    Hi ShailCaesar — the upper mountain was rejuvenated a bit with last week’s storm. I agree though, the Palmer “Glacier” is looking pretty dismal. Might be nothing but rocks in October LOL….

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