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Trip Report    

Mount Hood/South Side (Palmer Glacier)

12 hour climb on a Monday. Left the cars at 2:45 am and returned about 2:45 pm via the Timberline to Old Chutes route over the Hogsback. We had a full moon and barely needed headlamps. This is a very low snow year, but two folks were still able to skin on skis up to 9,000', just above the Top of Palmer Chair Lift. We all climbed on foot from there up to Hogsback and roped up there. The traverse leftward to the Old Chute didn't climb much and then we climbed straight up the chute for 130m.

There were several teams ahead of us but they managed to climb and get back down to Hogsback as we were going up, so we didn't have any contention for the Chute or the summit.

The last 50 meters to the summit ridge was hard rime snow over ice and very hard packed. We followed what seemed to be old steps, but it was still steep and icy. We had six pickets and two screws and placed them all the way up the chute so that at least one or two pieces of protection were always on the rope. I used all eight pieces up that Chute and placed the screws in solid ice to the right of the chute. The ridge walk to the summit was narrow in sections, but a decent boot path had been worn along it.

The forecast called for increasing winds and we had 20-30mph on top. It was a quick, cold summit celebration. We set up a rappel with three pickets, a cordellete, and two 30m ropes tied together. The rappelling cost us about an hour. It was a toss up between lowering on belay or rappelling, but either was the same distance with 30m ropes. That got most of the team past the steepest and most difficult ice. Two of us cleaned the anchor and downclimbed. We all remained unroped back to the Hogsback as each person rappelled and then moved downward on their own. The snow remained solid enough for crampons down to about 9,500', which matched the freezing level for the day.

Summary 7.5 hours TH to Summit. Rappel off the summit ridge took at least an hour. From there to TH in about 3.5 hours.

Other Notes: Six team members stayed in Timberline lodge overnight. One slept in the overnight parking in his car. Two drove about a mile down the road and found a flat spot off the road to tent. Up to Apr 30, no parking allowed along the Timberline Road because of snowplows, but this was May, so we they were fine.