Trip Report: Mt. Hood
By Ben White
At five in the morning, Mitch and I woke up in the parking lot of Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, where the only year-round ski area in the US operates. A beautiful forecast and about 5500 vertical feet of skiing from the summit to the parking lot awaited us.
Initially, the plan was to ski the Newton-Clark Headwall, but due to not having done my homework, we ended up going up the Hogsback route to the summit. As far as the route goes, it could not be simpler. Looking to the summit from the parking lot, the most direct way is the most obvious. A lot of climbers were on the route, but only one other pair of skiers decided to go to the summit.
We climbed past wild looking snow monsters carved out and blasted by the wind on our way to the top. Once we gained the ridge, there was a section that was pretty spicy with a lot of exposure to both sides. Mitch stayed back while I went and tagged the summit, just a short walk away. After that, we donned our skis and took off.
At the top, things were firm but fun. As we got lower and temps were warmer, things softened up. Just above a bench where a few climbers had made high-camp and many people were making lunch, the snow had perfectly softened up and was smooth. It was fun opening up the turns and hearing cheers from below. After catching our breath, we began down once again. Ski patrol was doing some work on the upper chairlift of Timberline ski area, and once we hit the snowfield that the ski camps are held on later in the season, the turns were long and fast. Mitch hit a few rails in the terrain park with an ice-axe on his backpack and we did the sticky-snow dance back to the car. Things down low had softened up quite a bit and we were glad to have been off the mountain before noon.
Due to a lack of homework, we didn’t get to ski the best line on the mountain, but that’s ok. A lot of fun was had, and now there’s a reason to go back. After looking down the north face, I realize that there are a lot of cool lines to ski and climb on Mt. Hood.