In May I headed out to Oregon to join my father in an attempt to summit Mt. Hood. Although my dad goes out West annually to hike, this was my first trip since the summer of 2007. I really enjoy hiking with my father and it was great to be back up there with him.
We all arrived in Portland on a Thursday and Friday saw us at REI grabbing our last minute essentials and then heading out to Hood and the Mazama lodge. The lodge is run by the Mazama mountaineering club that was founded on the summit of Mt. Hood in the 1800s. We relaxed, had dinner, watched the snow fall, and got some rest before getting up at midnight for attempt at the summit.
As we walked outside the wind blasted us and the snow was still falling heavily. Driving up we found ourselves on an unplowed road that the car could barely handle. Eventually we had to get out and push before we finally made it to snowcat; our ride to the climbing area above the ski slopes.
We hopped in, concerned about the very limited visibility. The cab jostled us around with its lack of shock absorbers, but when it almost tilted onto its side going over a mound our concern ratcheted up even more. The driver subsequently stopped and said he couldn’t go any further. As we piled out to determine if we would attempt to head down the driver wouldn’t provide guidance as to whether we should continue or not, but whole-heartedly agreed with the decision not to climb. It was a disappointment; however, we all understood that our safety came first.
The benefit to this setback was that we climbed back into a warm bed and were then able to hike in the daytime after the storm had passed. Although we weren’t able to summit, it is still a wonderful experience to break trail in fresh snow, looking at the cathedral of rock and ice around you, and looking back to a blanket of clouds below you. I look forward to more trips into the mountains.