June 16, 2008, Mt Hood, Old Chute + White River Glacier

6/16/08
OR Mt Hood
9495
2
Posted by Amar Andalkar on 6/21/08 8:14am
After the previous 2 big days on Mt Adams, I wasn't sure if I'd have the energy to ski much of anything on Monday. Left Hood River just after midnight following dinner and wifi, slept overnight at White River Sno-park and caught a photo of the sunrise on Wy'east Face, then slept in a couple more hours and headed up to Timberline. Spent a long time sorting and repacking my gear from the overnight pack into the daypack and finally skinned up from the parking lot at 11am, figuring I'd be lucky just to make it to the top of Palmer Express (8540 ft). But lo and behold, I was moving pretty fast, my feet didn't hurt too much, and I was at the top of Palmer in an hour-twenty, where I passed the last half-dozen of the maybe 20 total climbers I'd seen descending. Surprisingly, I would see no one else at all on the upper mountain until I was descending back towards the top of the ski area, when I saw a trio of climbers ascending from a distance. It's nice to enjoy some solitude on a route as popular as the South Side of Hood.


View of the south side of Hood and White River Glacier at center, from Hwy 35 just west of Barlow Pass.

Kept on skinning up excellent grippy corn snow, reaching the Hogsback by 1:30pm. Took a long break, put the skis on the pack, helmet on head, and cramponed up through the multiple malformed sets of steps wandering up Old Chute. There was an old skin track switchbacking almost all the way up Old Chute, too, probably done in warmer conditions the day before. The bergschrund on the Hogsback is open and huge, but the route swings left past the end of it and appeared fairly safe. Thankfully, there was minimal icefall even at this late hour, only saw a couple of small chunks come down (and no rockfall). A refreshing cool breeze was keeping the snow from getting soft, the upper few hundred feet was still well frozen and slightly icy. Topped out Old Chute at about 11200 ft by 2:30pm, to be greeted by the stunning view of Mt St Helens, Rainier, and Adams. Sunny and beautiful with temps near freezing, and an intermittent southerly breeze to maybe 15mph.


Lots of messy steps and even a skin track up in Old Chute.


View of Mt St Helens, Rainier, and Adams from atop West Crater Rim, with Barrett Spur far below.

Since I'd just
Looking down Old Chute just before I skied, Mt Jefferson and Three Sisters in the distance.

Skied down Old Chute at 3pm, finding icy frozen snow for the first couple of turns but then really good corn, especially to skier's right which had been in the sun the longest. Headed down that side, then took a swooping traverse across the Hogsback to reach more corn on its SE side. On the way up, I'd spotted a single set of nice ski tracks heading down White River Glacier, and they inspired me to follow. A very good decision. Amazingly smooth and fine corn snow on the White River Glacier, softened just enough to let 'em rip. Skied down the upper part of the glacier, past some big crevasses, and then traversed out west back to safe ground near the top of Palmer.


Looking up at my ski tracks (big arcs) and my inspiration's (small arcs) on the uppermost White River Glacier.


Crevasses on the White River Glacier, with traverse track back towards the ski area below.

The ski area had closed hours earlier at 1:30pm, so it was deserted and I was quite pleased to find some good corduroy remaining along the eastern edge near the huge terrain parks. Not even slightly sticky until well below 7000 ft. Back to the car by 3:45pm. Definitely some of the nicest snow I've ever skied from near the top of Hood, and almost the entire way down the 5300 vertical foot descent. Saw no signs of instability or sluffing all day.



Other reports from this trip:


coming soon:
June 19, 2008, Diamond Peak, Southwest-East-Northeast Faces
June 20, 2008, Mt Bailey, South Ridge & Northeast Face
June 22, 2008, Mt McLoughlin, North Face via East Ridge
June 23, 2008, Mt Scott (Crater Lake), Northeast Face

Thanks for the report, we're heading down that way Monday, we'll see if the weather cooperates.

I forgot to add some other route photos. I drove up Lolo Pass Rd afterwards, I was shocked to find it blocked by a large snowdrift at only 2900 ft, about 8 miles (?) from US 26. So no way to get the NW head-on shot of Sandy Headwall, but I could get westerly shots of Reid and Sandy:



      


And here's a shot of Leuthold Couloir from US 26, just west of Govy:





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june-16-2008-mt-hood-old-chute-white-river-glacier
Amar Andalkar
2008-06-21 15:14:10