Trip Report: Mt. Hood Ski Circumnavigation
Next Adventure Ambassadors, Corie and Andy, complete a full Ski Mountaineering circumnavigation of Mt. Hood.
We did the circumnavigation clockwise around Hood. This sets you up for early morning travel across the Reid and Sandy Glaciers (the most significant crevasse hazard), and good timing for skiing corn snow throughout the day.
This route requires some serious skimo shenanigans – it’s the variety pack of tricks, including but not limited to: downhill skinning, sidehilling, short-bootpacking, long-bootpacking, traveling over ice and rock, maybe roping up for a few glaciers and, when conditions are good, you’ll make sweet turns on glaciers few will ever see. This circumnavigation is also a good test of transition efficiency- strategically placed and quickly executed transitions will save hours.
Crossing Yocum Ridge is the first crux. We skied from the Illumination Saddle at 9300’, traversed North across the Reid Glacier to ~8,300’, then traveled close to the ridge down to 8,100’. It looked possible to cross at 8,300’ but with skis already in downhill mode, it was relatively easy to make an icy traverse down to the lower and easier crossing point. We bootpacked up the ridge for 100’ and the Sandy Glacier found its way into our view. Trying to unglue our eyes from the glorious couloirs and headwalls above us, we clicked into our bindings and shredded the gnar.
The wind-packed powder was an awesome relief after rattling around on the Reid. We traversed and descended to ~7,300’ to cross the next ridge, making our way onto the Glisan Glacier. The Glisan was very tempting to ski; it looks like an amazing descent with a plethora of sweet lines off the ridge. From here, we turned the corner and worked our way East with a combination of skinning and a little bootpacking to gain the Coe Glacier. We crossed the Coe on skins, not far from the base of Pulpit Rock, but a quick downhill rip would have been more fun and faster. Either way, it’s back to skins to crest the ridge that guards the Eliot Glacier.
The Eliot provided a great 1000’ descent, with great corn near the bottom and rad views of the North Face and Cooper Spur. It’s possible to either traverse out to the crest of the ridge, or to boot up a higher slope to eliminate some elevation loss.
We skinned up to about 8,500’ before dropping onto the Newton Clark Glacier for a long, gradual uphill slog above Mount Hood Meadows with great views into Newton and Heather Canyons. We rounded the final corner at 8,900’ looking down into the White River Glacier. Although it looks improbable at first, it is relatively easy to ski-traverse high and exit the west side around 8,600’. We encountered a fair bit of blocky, wet loose debris and 2’ deep runnels, which made for slower going than we wanted. It was an awesome day in the mountains, enjoyed with good friends and amazing views!
To check out more of the Mountain Refugee's adventures, visit their site at http://www.mountainrefugees.com