Snowboarding Mt. Hood's Old Chute, Oct. 3rd
On October 3rd, Ryan Irvin (a fellow Next Adventure co-worker) and I were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to score amazing winter snow conditions off of the top of Mt. Hood. I have watched weather patterns on Mt. Hood for years now, and it definitely helps out with getting the goods off of such a temperamental summit.
We arrived at the Timberline lodge parking lot well before sunrise and geared up. I knew that a successful summit descent would require us to be at the top of our run well before the direct October sun heated the snow to a dangerous level. The storm had broken earlier in the night, leaving a fresh coat of cold powder snow.
The sunrise was beautiful and the skinning went easily. It was cold, but as soon as the sun came up it quickly got warm. Avalanche conditions would get dangerous if it got too warm, so we closely monitored the rising warmth.
As we went up toward the crater we found the temperature dropped signficantly. The snow showed signs of being very well bonded, except some wind deposited snow that sat atop the fresh snow that had fallen during the storm. The wind deposit layer was very shallow, so we felt confident that the snow would allow to ascend and descend safely.
We did not continue towards the summit from the top of the Old Chute. The snow was ready and so were we. So down we went. 5,000 vertical feet of snowboarding on October 3rd! On top of that, the first 2,000 feet were in unreal powder snow you rarely find in the summit crater of Mt. Hood.
After our successful descent down the Old Chute, and between Crater Rock and the West Crater rim we found awesome waves that formed in the lower gullies to the northwest of Timberline ski area.
I feel extremely blessed to have gotten this descent. It has been one of the most memorable Mt. Hood summit runs I have had. October has returned to normal, with a nice indian summer feel to it. Hopefully I can still get in a few more days rock climbing at Beacon Rock before winter hits us full on!