9 Years ago today...
At around 1:00 am on July 8th, 2010, 9-years ago. Our group had just finished packing our tents and other gear. For the past 2 days, we had been situated near the Elliot glacier on the North Side of Mt. Hood. Preparing to head to the highest point in Oregon. As we were putting on crampons, and doing the final gear check, I remember the sky was clear and the clouds that had been below our camp earlier had cleared. This was going to be my first alpine summit. I was excited and nervous, the last few days I had been learning how to travel and climb in the snow.
We were attempting the Sunshine route; we would climb the Northside of the mountain and descend the South Side (the south side is the most common and used routes to get to the summit.) The climb would start with us climbing the snow dome to a bench. From there, our guides would climb ahead of us to set anchor points as we preceded to climb behind them up the queen’s chair. Due to the exposure and the fact that this was all our first time climbing we were roped together and anchored to the mountain. We climbed for a while, through 6 or 7 pitches until we reached the top of the chair. From there we made our way to the summit of Mt. Hood.
Our group was the only group on the summit that morning. There were no clouds and we could see far into the distance. Soon we were told we had to go, it was to warm that morning and there was a fear of ice fall for the decent. Because we needed to get down quickly, the guides set up an anchor point at the top of the Old Chute and we processed to downclimb as quickly as possible. The entire time I could see and hear ice falling around me. One of the people on my group was struck by falling ice, good thing she was wearing her helmet!
Once down there was a large group of climbers that had been unable to make it to the summit. So I felt very fortunate that we went a less common route and were able to make it.
Since then I have had the opportunity to climb and explore many other mountains and summits throughout the western United States and Tanzania, with a planned trip to the Himalayas the beginning of next year and it all started with Mt. Hood.