Mount Hood Summit
Trip Notes

The view of Mt Hood from the road leading up to Timberline Lodge.

Date:  May 29, to June 7, 2004

Location:  Mt Hood, Oregon, starting from Timberline Lodge to the Hogsback and Pearly Gates.

Robert Burke:  Experienced hiker and climber who had been to 46 state high points with just Mt Hood and Mt Rainier still to climb.  Robert had been rock climbing, mainly at Mt Yonah, GA, for the past 2 years.

Jane Burke:  A somewhat experienced hiker and climber who had climbed Granite Peak, Montana in 2002 and Gannett Peak, Wyoming, in 2003 and several hikes and trails in Georgia and surrounding states.  Jane had also been rock climbing since 2003.

Gear:  Ice axes, crampons, 129ft  dynamic rope, 4 ice screws, 2 pickets

Friday night - Saturday:
Robert and I flew into Portland on May 29 and stayed at his brother's house that night.  Then the next morning we set out for Mt Hood.  We stopped at a Super Wal-Mart on the way to get fuel and hand warmers (the kind you crack open and they get hot).  There is a Super Wal-Mart right at Exit 16 off I-84.  This is also the exit you take to get to Mt Hood.  Turn left onto Burnside (Route 26).  If you need other camping supplies, there is a Big 5 Sport store on the left at the first traffic light after getting onto Burnside, Oregon Trail Center.  About 10 minutes from Timberline Lodge there is a store on the right hand side of the road where we bought two sleds for $15 each, thinking that we could put our gear in the sleds and drag them up the mountain rather than having to carry all that weight.

The weather wasn't looking good at all.  There were clouds everywhere, it was raining and Mt Hood was totally covered with cloud.  At 4,000ft, on the road up to Timberline Lodge, we entered the cloud.  At 5,200ft it started snowing.  We got to Timberline Lodge at 1:20pm, with no sight of the mountain.

This was the only glimpse we got of the mountain while driving up there.

We set out at 3:30pm on Saturday, May 30, 2004 wearing our small climbing packs on our backs and our big packs in the sleds we attached to the back of our harnesses.  It was cold and there was freezing rain.

Pulling the sleds proved to be more of a challenge than we expected as the snow was not even and the sleds kept on tipping over.  As it was raining we had our pack covers on our big backpacks but this did not help much to keep the packs dry as the rain was collecting in the sleds and wetting the bottom of the packs.

We kept in sight of the wands that mark the end of the ski run and the area where hikers are encouraged to walk.  We could only just see the next wand as we were still in cloud and the wind was blowing the sleet at us.  We trudged on for several hours, taking few breaks.  I had my down jacket on which was not waterproof so it got totally soaked.  I started to get very cold, especially my hands and toes.  There were several teams coming down who said that there was cloud all the way to the top.  At 7,400 ft we passed another team who were on their way up.  They had built a very nice looking igloo wall to protect their tent from the wind and sleet.  We pushed on a little way further and decided to stop at around 8,000 ft as we were cold and tired.

By this time I was shivering all over and feeling nauseous.  My hands were so cold that I was even a little worried.  We scouted for a spot to dig a platform and Robert started digging with his plastic snow shovel.  I was too cold to help and just stood as much out of the wind as I could with hand warming pads, just trying to stop shivering and warm up a bit.  I was feeling sick and couldn't get myself motivated to help with the platform building.  The sleet was still coming down relentlessly.  It took Robert about 30 minutes to flatten an area and then put the tent up.  The platform wasn't quite big enough but that was just too bad as it was too cold to be outside in the freezing rain and by then Robert was very tired.

I got in the tent and took all my cold, wet clothes off.  Unfortunately the rain had wet my pack and my 'dry' clothes were damp and some were actually wet.  Our down sleeping bags also got wet in patches.  Once inside the tent I started to feel a lot better.  Robert got the stove going and made dinner.  Getting some hot food in us felt great.  We curled up and tried to sleep.  The wind was blowing and the sleet still coming down so we didn't get much sleep.  As the platform was too small we zipped the sleeping bags together so that I wouldn't slip off the edge.  During the night I had to move myself further away from the edge several times.  At 12:45am I had to get up to pee and the freezing rain was still coming down.

It was light at 5am when we both woke up.  We got up at 7am.  All the lighters were wet so we couldn't get the stove to light, which meant no hot tea or hot milk for our breakfast.  We then decided to pack up and head back down, seeing as it was still raining and all our gear and clothing was wet.  We put our packs in the sleds, got in behind them and down we went.

We got down in about 30 minutes, which was very nice compared to walking.  We signed out and headed back to Portland.  We lazed around the house there while everything dried out as we had to get everything ready for attempt #2.

Page 1
Mt Hood -
1st Attempt

Page 2
Approach to
Base Camp
Page 3
Mt Hood -
Page 4
Mt Rainier -
Day 1 & 2
Page 5
Mt Rainier -
Day 3 & 4


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