Mt. Hood, OR – Extreme Winter Camping (Jan 2016)

In order to really enjoy your trips with a free mindset, to be safer and simply know about “what you’re doing out there”, you need to push your personal limits – and experience some really nasty conditions!

And so I was spontaneous again and took a flight over to two buddies in Portland, OR for general mountaineering training. Unfortunately the weather conditions didn’t allow us to practice the usage of the ice/mountain axe, snow anchors and crampons.

However, Troy and myself have got a short spectacular moment on our way up, when we could glance over the clouds with full sunshine! Didn’t last long – but was more than worth the exhaustion already…
Made it up the “Timber Line” all the way to the very top at 2290m (7500ft) in about 4hrs – right below the last climb up to the summit of Mt. Hood. Set up the tent and tested gear.

Clear early night with the bright summits to be easily seen – surrounded by stars. Aahhh, what a view! Too bad that I had to leave the tripod at home because of the weigth.

The following late night and early morning however was a whole different story: Heavy snow with wind up to 70km/h (45mp/h)!
Just -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) but in combination with the snow and wind quite challenging. Woke up and had to dig our tent out every hour in order to avoid getting it buried in snow!

By that time and a permanent look at the weather forecast, it was clear that we simply had to evacuate the camp and get further down.
At about 11am, Melissa with her dog “Pinot” were already on their way up since dawn to join us. So we contacted her and informed her about that “the shit hits the fan up here” and that we’re coming down to her current shelter.

Regrouped, warmed up and cooked – and decided that the given circumstances are already demanding enough to simply make it down roped together as a team due to the extreme wind and bad view.
Under the bottom line quite a short trip up on the mountain (approx. 30hrs). However, pretty extreme with a lot of new experience and the knowledge about our own limits.

Mt. Hood, I’ll be back!


 

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