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Monday, June 6, 2016

Mount Hood Climb 2016

Mount Hood Mountaineering Ascent
Mount Hood National Forest
Government Camp, Oregon
Mileage - 7.8
Time - 9:30
AEG - 5,349ft

Mount Hood is the tallest peak in Oregon (11,249ft) and the fourth highest in the Cascade Range. It's considered a potentially active stratovolcano, though unlikely to erupt. Based on location, the mountain receives 430 inches of annual snowfall and offers year round skiing. This also creates dangerous climbing conditions as the weather changes quickly and can become hazardous. As of 2002, it has claimed the lives of over 130 people.

Matt and I began planning our trip months in advance and chose Memorial Day weekend as our best opportunity to reach the summit based on past weather patterns. Gear preparation, route planning, rope skills and physical conditioning were all part of training leading up to the climb. We followed the weather closely in the days and weeks prior and were still in question the afternoon of our arrival. Since we had given ourselves an extra day of leeway, Matt and I stuck to the plan and went after it the first night. From our base camp at the Mazamas Lodge, we made last minute preparations before dinner and tried to get to sleep by 7:00pm. Making a true "alpine start" the trek began around 12:30am.

A slow grind up the ski slopes is how our evening started, along with several other climbers already in route. The best sign, and a bit of relief was a starry night. Conditions were good so far. There wasn't much conversation between the two of us, mainly because of the winds and how covered up we were. Slow and steady up the slopes until day break when we reached 10,000ft. It was there we roped up for safety to complete the final climb up Hogsback and through the Pearly Gates.

The weather held up nicely and we made our way to the summit just after 6:00am, with the sun beaming down on us and the wind whipping over the peak. There was enough time to catch a photo before quickly and carefully down-climbing to take a break. The only issues we ran into were the winds and freezing hydration bladders, otherwise we were pretty fortunate.