Mt. Hood North/Northeast Face

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jplotz
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:39 pm

Mt. Hood North/Northeast Face

Post by jplotz » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:50 pm

Dan Helmstadter emails, telling me the freezing levels around Mt. Hood will be around 13,000' Saturday, June 27 , which I found hard to believe given the Rainier forecast. But the net confirms it, and I scrap my plans to schwack and suffer in mountaineer's basin to ski the NE Couloir of Argonaut, and prepare to head south. I've never stood on top of Hood, nor Argonaut for that matter, but Hood is bigger and Dan's squiggly line down its n/ne face looks goddamn irresistable.
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Driving through Hood River, looking up at the north side of Hood, I know I made the right choice. I get there early, and Dan arrives a few hours later, his truck speed averaging around 25mph over the rolls on 97. No biggie. We're not in any hurry. With the gate still closed, we're left with a 2.5 mile hike to the clearing and snow. At 4:30am, a euro dude and his group warn of knee deep postholing up snowdome. Oh. Well, we decide to go have a look-see despite, but we have our doubts with the warm temps and early sun on the aspect we want to climb and ski. Me being the lame-ass of the group, I suggest the unthinkable: Drive around to the south side, jump on the Palmer lift, jump in line up to the top, and drop in blind. Dan shoots that idea down thankfully, and we agree to see for ourselves the conditions of the route. If anything, we'll get some good photos... :? On the hike in, I'm dumbfounded at how they were able to keep the Tillyjane Cabins from burning down in the fire from a couple years ago, which seems to have burned everything within a couple hundred yards of the wood structures.

To our immense relief, the going it solid, and postholing is at a minimum. Dan, who's scoured this mountain for years, tells me of a poetic plaque at tie-in rock. We never do find it, but then again, we never tied in. And there's no one around save for a lone skier on snowdome. I'm loving this side of Mt. Hood with every step. The face we want to climb and ski looks incredible, and it turns out to be just that. There is a hard crust under the 1 to 2 inches of slush, but it turns out to be totally edge friendly. We're on the summit with two other skiers from the S. side.

This is Dan's pet project, so he gets first turns down the upper cooper spur. The exposure begins as soon as you push off the summit rim. It's exhilarating making such easy turns over immense exposure. Sliding out onto the main face, it's more of the same, the rest of the way down to the relative flats of the Eliot Glacier. Dan gives me a subdued hi-five, but I can tell he's buzzing from this one. We open it up down this section to the rocks and pumice and dust, finish off my smoked salmon while staring up at the wall, not in any hurry to get going...

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skykilo
Posts: 939
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:29 pm
Custom Title: olikyks
Location: Santa Fe

Re: Mt. Hood North/Northeast Face

Post by skykilo » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:49 am

I've been wanting to ski the North Face of Hood for a long time.

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DonJuanPakistan
Posts: 266
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:59 pm
Custom Title: Trippin' travellin'.
Location: Seattle, Washington

Re: Mt. Hood North/Northeast Face

Post by DonJuanPakistan » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:40 am

I've been wanting to ski with Dan Helm for a long time.

E_$
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:03 pm
Custom Title: imminent whippage

Re: Mt. Hood North/Northeast Face

Post by E_$ » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:12 pm

Sweeet line, fellas. Himmel-strafer strikes again. Love you long time.

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