Friday, March 07, 2008

Blast from the Past: Mt. Hood 2000

Back in 2000, my cousin and her then-boyfriend asked Amy and me if we wanted to climb Mt. Hood with them and a group of their friends.

We were non-committal, until she said, "It's the second most-climbed peak in the world, after Mt. Fuji. About 90% of the people who attempt it succeed. It doesn't require great fitness, or tricky mountaineering skills."

We decided to go.

Here's the group in front of the Hood.

The equipment list for the climb was pretty extensive, specific clothes, sleeping bag, lights, etc. Then they fitted us with these extremely uncomfortable plastic climbing boots, as we would be using crampons for the final ascent to the peak. Helmet and ice-axe completed the load. All told, we were toting about 40-50 pounds on our backs.

We set off from the Timberline Lodge (scene of the exterior shots from "The Shining") around 9 a.m. The first part of the climb is over loose volcanic scree. On the steep parts, I would take a normal length step, and my upper foot would slide back until it was just a couple of inches above the lower one. I felt like Sisyphus. It took us hours to get from 6,000 feet to 7,000 feet.

After about six hours of climbing, we finally reached base camp at 9,000 feet. This is my favorite photo from the trip.

We practiced walking on while roped together, and also self-arrest using an ice-axe. Loads of fun. Then we settled in for the night. Amy was snug in her Swedish-army sleeping bag loaned to her by Tom G.

That night it sounded like sand blowing against the tent all night. Around 3am the guides poked their heads in and said the summit attempt was off, due to weather. We had a good night's rest, and awoke feeling fine.

This is what awaited us outside.

A blizzard had blown in, and we were in near white-out conditions.

The women's bathroom was a little too exposed to the elements, so the girls decided to tough it out and wait 'til we got back down. Amy was not a happy camper.

We survived the trek, bud did not fully recover until the excellent dinner, drinks, and dessert at the Timberline that night.

Allison and Shane: Thanks for the adventure and stories!

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Holy Cow! That was a lot of snow!! You guys are real troopers