Fifty High Points: Blog https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog en-us (C) Fifty High Points (Fifty High Points) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:51:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:51:00 GMT https://fiftyhighpoints.com/img/s/v-12/u882144130-o571386211-50.jpg Fifty High Points: Blog https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog 78 120 June 30, 2014 Jerimoth Hill, Rhode Island https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2015/7/june-30-2014-jerimoth-hill-rhode-island We returned to my friend, Jay's, home the evening of June 29 after hiking and photographing Mount Greylock and spent a little time touring his town.  Bristol, RI is a fantastic town with a lot of Americana, waterfront, boats, an amazing seafaring history, and the longest running 4th of July celebration in the country.  It is a fantastic place to visit (and a quick drive to very interesting places like Newport where you can see old money mansions like the Vanderbilt's that you read of and see in movies like The Great Gatsby).  I had not done much research on Rhode Island's state high point other than to learn of its location and visiting hours.  I knew that it was not an impressive mountain peak like those I had climbed and photographed heretofore, but I had hoped to at least get some interesting sunrise or sunset shots.  I was to be disappointed in this hope since this one is on private land, is sandwiched in between two homes, and has set visiting hours that do not begin until around 8am.  Once I arrived at the "trailhead" I realized it would not have really mattered at what time I arrived for "vista" shots from the high point.  It is in a heavily wooded area.  From where I parked to the high point is about a one minute stroll down a nice path that was placed by The Highpointers Club.  The drive there is beautiful, as you can imagine in heavily wooded New England.  The high point itself is a rock in pretty dense woods.  There really is no view to speak of other than the peaceful woods.  I happen to love the woods, so, I enjoyed this visit even though there are no horizon views, snowcapped peaks, marmots chirping or birds of prey riding thermals and soaring above.  Upon arriving I found that the Cops on Top crew had just been there and left their mark.  I've seen their messages and marks on many of the state high points, I eventually got to actually climb a mountain with them in 2015 (see Colorado's Mount Elbert) and they are a great crew with a fantastic cause honoring fallen heroes.  I spent some time taking photos, mostly of the surrounding woods, some flowers and butterflies as well as the rock that marks the state high point.  This is one of those state high points that almost anyone, regardless of physical conditioning, can go see.  I highly recommend it, not only for the experience of checking off a state high point, but also because of all the fun things to see (great harbors with beautiful boats and sunsets, Newport mansions, much of America's seafaring history) within a very short distance.
 

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Photographs climbing high hiking island photography point rhode state high points vistas https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2015/7/june-30-2014-jerimoth-hill-rhode-island Thu, 16 Jul 2015 21:22:02 GMT
June 29, 2014 Mount Greylock, Massachusetts https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2015/1/june-29-2014-mount-greylock-massachusetts I actually stayed up on the summit of Mount Washington for several hours.  I was enjoying the beautiful weather (shorts and t-shirts) and watching the rally racers come to the finish line.  I did not actually get back down to my car until early afternoon at which point I drove back into town (Gorham, NH) for a late lunch before heading off to hike Mount Greylock.  After another great meal at SAALT I headed not directly to Mount Greylock but to Bristol, RI to pick up a friend who wanted to join me on the Greylock hike.  Mount Greylock is beautiful and I highly recommend the hike, but, if you are not a hiker, it, like Mount Washington, can be summited via car as well.  I made it to Bristol, RI late in the evening of the 28th of June, gathered up my buddy Jason DeCosta and we headed out to Mount Greylock about three hours away.  We arrived at around 3am on the morning of the 29th.  I was exhausted after the back to back days on Katahdin and then Mount Washington and fell right asleep.  We awoke early that day and headed to the trail head.  Mount Greylock is part of the Appalachian Trail as well (Katahdin is the northern terminus and Mount Washington is also on it) and is a fantastic hike.  I felt right at home (I am originally from Missouri) hiking through the lush vegetation and flowered forest on our way to the summit.  It was the first hike on my journey that did not entail at least a small section of something that could kill me.  The hike is pleasant, not overly taxing, and upon reaching the summit you have amazing views.

 

We hiked the Bellows Pipeline Trail to the Thunderbolt Ski Trail to the top.  It was a quick but very pleasant hike with excellent views. At the summit there is a fantastic war memorial and a comfortable lodge (Bascom Lodge) welcoming car travelers, day hikers and, of course, those on the long, arduous trek to complete the Appalachian Trail.  We arrived in great spirits (though the hike is mostly easy there are some steep sections and there was a summertime humidity and heat this day that caused us to arrive soaking with sweat and feeling a little bit giddy).

 

We spent a good amount of time taking photos and just enjoying the views before heading back down.  We returned the same way we had summited (there is a large network of trails on this mountain, I recommend spending a day exploring more of them) because we were worried about taking different routes and not being able to easily find our way back to the car.  Again, I immensely enjoyed the dense forest vegetation, abundant flowers and the quaint mountain streams along the way.  All in all this was the most pleasant of my state high points to date.  The relaxing hike, forest beauty, lodge and war memorial bustling with activity at the summit, and the beautiful summit views make this one a must see for hikers as well as those without the time or energy for a hike.  Do check the schedule if you are planning to summit in a car on the road, it is not open year round.

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hiking mount greylock photography state high points vistas https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2015/1/june-29-2014-mount-greylock-massachusetts Sun, 04 Jan 2015 17:34:22 GMT
June 28, 2014 Mount Washington, New Hampshire https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2014/12/june-28-2014-mount-washington-new-hampshire After leaving the comforts of the River Drivers Restaurant near Katahdin in Maine I drove through the day and arrived in Gorham, NH nearing 10pm.  The drive from the North Woods of Maine down into the White Mountains of New Hampshire is spectacular.  The route passes many heavily forested lake villages and quaint New England towns with a fair share of historical sites to see as you pass through.  I stopped in at a restaurant in Gorham called SAALT (Salt - but with the initials of all the family members in the name they needed an extra "A") for dinner and to try to get some better information from locals regarding the best routes to the top.  The meal and company were fantastic and the owner gave me the ins and outs of hiking the mountain.  I had thought of driving up the auto road, camping at a turnout, and then exploring the trails higher up for good locations for sunrise photos but he told me it didn’t open until 8am (I’d miss the sunrise).  I decided to hike through the night so I could be up top (or near the top) for the sunrise.  He loved that and said it wasn’t normally done that way (which I can verify since it was a pretty busy time of year and I hiked and climbed from the bottom to the summit without seeing another soul (granted, I started around 3am and summited just after 6am).  He told me about the climbing center at Pinkham Notch and was kind enough to fill all 4 of my water bottles for me.  He also showed me a map of the mountain and trail.  It was a similar situation to the hotel manager in Millinocket giving me her trail map and book – I actually just studied them and then left them in the room for her).  Truth be told I had trail maps downloaded onto my phone but it was nice to review the different trails and get advice from a local who obviously knew the mountain well from top to bottom.  I highly recommend this approach when you hike or climb in unfamiliar areas.  Stop in to local cafes and chat with locals for the inside scoops on the different trails, routes and conditions.  You can glean a lot from trip reports online, but, there is no good substitute to local knowledge (Beta, as climbers call it).  I arrived at Pinkham Notch around 11pm after checking out the auto road – it actually wouldn’t even open at all the next day because there was a big rally race going on.  I checked into the climbing center there (fantastic place open 24 hours for hikers and climbers - inside there are detailed trail maps, information folders, coin operated showers, etc.).  I checked the map at the climbing center, chatted with a guy who worked there to find where the actual trail head was and hit the trail around 2:45am.  It was an amazing hike – there is a ton of quartz in the rocks and everything glistens and shines as your headlamp illuminates it.  I was a little bit wildlife spooked after my moose encounter on Katahdin the previous day so I talked a lot while I hiked to warn wildlife of my presence.  Got to a small campground (Hermit Lakes Shelters) around 3:45 or 4am and talked my whole way through there (more quietly though- I was worried I’d wake a ranger or other hikers - none of which I actually ever saw).  I was not quite to the top when the sun rose and I watched it come up over the Lions Head from near the top of the Tuckerman Ravine.  It was amazing and to this day one of my favorite pictures is that sunrise on Mount Washington.  The hike is beautiful and not overly strenuous except for the last half mile or so when you have a fairly significant amount of rock scrambling.  There is some exposure as you climb the headwall towards the summit ridge and as you hike along and above the waterfalls.  But overall it is brilliantly beautiful and – even though this is the mountain with the worst recorded weather in the world, I had a bright, sunshiny day on the hill.  I didn’t summit until nearly 6am and I stuck around for quite a while taking a ton of pictures.  Because there is both an auto road and a rail line to the top there is much to see and do.  There is a weather observation center on top as well as a visitors center (go in and watch some of the crazy recorded weather - when they say this mountain has the worst weather on the world they are not lying.  They have videos in the visitors center that will show you exactly what that means.  And trust me, you do not want to be anywhere near this summit when bad weather hits).   After some time I met some other hikers who came up (from a variety of different trails) and hung out for a bit.  I actually wanted to see the rally cars come up to the race finish line.  As I was not in a hurry to my next destination (Mount Greylock in Massachusetts) I stuck around and chatted with the CBS film crew as they set up and then sat with them as they filmed the racers coming through the finish line.  At some point in the morning I walked over to the area where they parked their cars and mingled with the drivers.  I actually got some selfies with Travis Pastrana who was very cool, friendly and not at all put out about a fan showing up in the middle of nowhere to ask for a picture.  I did not end up heading down until around noon after the rally runs were done and the drivers all headed down.  It turned out to be a fantastic day full of adventure and new experiences.  I had no clue when I headed to New Hampshire that I would end up watching a rally race on top of a mountain with a fun CBS film and race crew or get to meet some of the world's top professional drivers.  Again, I was exhausted and I was going on a couple days with very limited sleep.  I headed from Gorham, NH over to Bristol, CT to pick up my buddy Jay.  We were headed to Greylock for the next morning and wanted to get out to the town near there.  Jay drove because I was literally running on fumes.  Thanks to Jay I got to catch up on a bit of sleep while we drove.  Got to a little hotel at 3am and faded off for a few hours of much needed sleep.

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climbing hiking mount Washington new Hampshire high point photography state high points vistas https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2014/12/june-28-2014-mount-washington-new-hampshire Fri, 26 Dec 2014 18:50:19 GMT
June 27, 2014 Katahdin, Maine https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2014/12/katahdin-maine-dates So I arrived home exhausted late in the afternoon of June 21 after the climbs of Mounts Hood and Ranier.  I had just enough time to pick up my daughter (who was home from college) for dinner, do some laundry, pack and head to the east coast for a couple days of consulting work on Cape Cod via a red eye flight to Boston.  I needed these consulting days as I could barely walk after so much climbing in my heavy mountaineering boots.  After the consulting gig  I drove all the way from Cape Cod to Millinocket, ME.  It was the 26th of June.  Millinocket is a small, north woods Maine town in the middle of a beautiful forest abounding with lakes, wildlife, and natural beauty.   Katahdin (some call it Mount Katahdin, but the name Katahdin means "Greatest Mountain" so there is really no need to call it Mount Katahdin - the locals just say Katahdin - say it like this "Kuh Tah Din" with the accent on the second syllable - before I heard a local say it I had it all wrong!) is no easy hike.  There are many ways to the top (in fact, Katahdin is the terminus of the Appalachian Trail, so, you could take the Appalacian Trail all the way to the top if you have a few months to kill and some serious stamina) but I had heard scare stories about traversing the Knife Edge and wanted the challenge.  I chose the Helon Taylor trail to the summit ridge (Pamola Peak) and then walked the entire knife edge to the actual summit.  It was an exhausting climb (and I chose the wrong shoes - I wore some light weight tennis shoe type hiking shoes - the rocks brutalized my feet - take some sturdy soles when you go!)  - it is a very rugged mountain with some significant rock scrambling to get to the top.  Once you reach the top (in my case Pamola Peak) you then have over another mile over the rocky ridge to the actual summit. The knife edge is up here and it is fantastic with sheer drops on the sides and some tricky rock hopping and scrambling in places.  It is beautiful here and the views amazing.  Again I found myself with a cool group of fellow climbers.  Four Canadians who had also driven down that morning and were checking the Helon Taylor trail off of their list as they had summited via the other routes on previous trips.  They were great company and struggled right alongside me with the rocks and, in particular, one area where there summit ridge drops down sharply into a small shoulder before going sharply back up.  This area is more of a rock climb than a scramble (technically a small Class 4, possibly a high Class 3, scramble) and you can get into pretty exposed situations here with long drop offs on either side.  The Knife Edge itself was not particularly challenging but it was long and a little tedious due to the length.  I can see how it would be scary in bad weather (there are signs warning climbers not to attempt it if the weather is not good) but on a bright, nearly windless day it was not scary at all.  It was, however, a long long haul over rocks that wrecked my feet.  Finally at the summit we spent some time taking pictures of each other before I set about taking my summit photos.  The views at the summit are fantastic, but, there are some equally amazing views from the trail and, especially the Knife Edge.  Given how bad my feet hurt I chose a different route down via The Saddle.  This was less steep and much better than trying to walk along the knife edge again, but it was also very rocky and my poor feet were screaming bloody murder the entire way.  I worked my way down several miles (over 3) to within a mile of the parking area where I met a momma Moose with two calves.  She backed me right off the trail giving me the "stay away from my babies eye" the entire way (meaning I got to backtrack a couple hundred yards – on my exhausted feet this was not the most fun part of the trip) before she finally meandered off in to the woods and I went back down the trial.  People have asked if I got pictures of the moose family.  I did not.   I came around a corner of the trail and we were eye to eye (albeit about fifty feet apart).  I was too busy backing up and getting out of her way to get any decent photos.  When I arrived back at my rental car I was again very tired (as well as pretty trail worn).  I decided I needed to refuel before heading off to my next high point so I stopped in at a center there and had a fantastic lunch at River Drivers Restaurant around 2pm.  I got to chat with some locals and enjoyed great food while I let my feet recover for a moment (River Drivers is part of the New England Outdoor Center - you gotta go if you get the chance!)  I loved Millinocket and met some great people there from the staff at River Drivers, the restaurant the night I arrived, and the hotel manager at the Pamola Motor Lodge who gave me great advice for the mountain and offered me her trail map saying "just drop it back off when you're done".  I also got to try my first Lobster Roll (say "Lobstah Roe" if you wanna get close to saying it properly) in Maine.  I felt this was a requirement as there were signs advertising the best lobster rolls in the state on most blocks with restaurants or cafes.  If you haven't had it, it tastes almost identical to what I would imagine crab salad tastes like on a big, fluffy bun.  I loved this mountain and can not wait until I get the chance to go back and explore some of the other routes to the top!

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Katahdin Maine State High Point photography vistas https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2014/12/katahdin-maine-dates Wed, 24 Dec 2014 22:01:29 GMT
June 17-21 2014 Mount Ranier, Washington https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2014/12/washington-mount-ranier-june-17-21 Washington, Ranier

On June 15th I had driven to Bellingham, WA directly from Mount Hood to watch a friend play soccer.  I was exhausted that evening from climbing through the night followed by the long drive up to Bellingham, so I opted to sleep there.  On June 16 I left Bellingham after stopping at REI for some new shell pants and a base layer.  The ones I wore on Hood left much to be desired and I had shredded the bottoms with my crampons (mainly due to not having worn crampons for several years and forgetting to be careful with my steps).  I Drove down to Seattle but stopped en route to watch the US play its first World Cup Match vs Ghana.  That evening I car camped again and then went to the airport to pick up Michael and Craig.  Michael and Craig were my training partners – we had hiked up and down several Utah mountains together with rock filled backpacks and participated in glacier travel training preparing ourselves specifically for Ranier. 

We headed to a cabin for a shower and cleanup and then repacked gear for our big day on the 18th.  Early morning on the 18th  we met rest of group in parking lot at Paradise (Mount Ranier).  We filled out our permits, got to know each other a bit and then started the long climb/hike to Muir Base Camp by mid-morning.  We arrived at Camp Muir very tired late that afternoon.  Heavy packs, a large group (12 of us) and the heat from the sun reflecting off of the snow made for slow going and a nice long rest break about half way up to refill and purify our water bottles.  It is wise to start this hike early in the day as the sun can make the bottom miserably slushy. 

We made it to base camp, dug out tent sites and got all set up before resting and preparing for a practice day.  On the 19th we stayed near camp practicing rope techniques and self-arrest as well as crevasse rescue.  Most of the time it was very cold and windy.  The weather moved in and we decided that we would not go for the summit that night.  Due to the high winds we spent hours building snow walls around our tents – the wind that night was brutal but everybody held up well and got a little sleep. We awoke early the morning of the 19th to find many climbers returning from unsuccessful summit attempts.  Most had been forced back by high winds and white out conditions on the route.  I am not positive how many made it to the summit that morning but we did not meet any.  As the day progressed the weather improved.  By evening the skies were blue and the wind was much lower.  We prepped our gear, ate and tried to get some sleep for an 11pm departure for the summit. 

Around 11pm we awoke, dressed, geared up (harness, helmet, crampons, ice axe, proper clothing, snacks, etc.), roped up, and went for it.  We had amazing weather – still winds and excellent visibility.  It was nothing like my first Ranier summit several years ago during which we were fairly miserable most of the time due to winds and clouds (fog).  The route passes through an area called the Disappointment Cleaver (DC) which is very steep and icy.  With much effort and quite a bit of fear we made it safely up and through the DC.  From the DC to the top it was also steep, icy and tiring but our entire group of 9 summited prior to sunrise (two had decided not to attempt the summit and one had been forced to stay back due to an extreme sunburn he suffered on the hike from the parking area to base camp).  Getting to the summit was a challenge, but, we had prepared well with a  significant amount of hiking and time spent on a stair stepper while lugging a heavy pack, so everyone in our group made the top fairly smoothly.

Once on the summit I spent some time taking pictures.  I moved to the east ridge of the summit crater and got some great shots as the sun rose but as I was moving to the south I fell through the snow crust and landed very hard.  It wasn’t a serious fall (I just broke through up to my waist) but I did hit my upper body and camera pretty hard when I broke through.   When I crawled out I immediately checked my camera and it seemed to functioned normally.  I moved to the south end of the summit crater for some shots of Adams, Hood, and St. Helens.   I got some fantastic shots (or so I thought looking through my eye piece.)  After this I proceeded to the true summit for the amazing sight of Ranier’s shadow on the side opposite the sunrise.  I spent some more time taking pictures here as well as having Dan Christopherson (our trip leader) take pics of me with Adams in the background.  I felt great about the shots.  As we descended I also took pics in the daylight of the route, snow goblins, crevasses, etc. 

The next day I found out that in my fall I had dislodged the memory card so all of the pictures after that were processing and showing up in my eye piece – but not being saved.  I was very disappointed as I thought of the lost shots, but still very happy at having a successful summit and with the amazing shots that I got before dislodging the memory card.  The down climb was exhausting (I think mainly from the fast pace we carried getting to the summit). 

We arrived at base camp early afternoon, did some quick water prep, had a snack, packed up the campsite and then headed down.  The descent from Camp Muir was a hoot.  We glissaded (slid - either on shell pants or garbage bags) everywhere we possibly could.  We arrived at the car around 4pm completely exhausted and barely able to walk from the down climb with heavy packs.  Craig and I loaded up a barely standing team mate and went directly to Ranier Base Camp (Whittaker) to return some rental equipment and eat as much pizza as we could stand.  The others from our group made their way to the same spot and we had a celebratory dinner together before saying our good byes and heading for our respective homes. Because we had stayed an extra day on the mountain due to the weather on our intended summit day both Craig and Michael had missed their flights.  This was great for me because I got company for the long drive home to Utah.

We headed for home but exhaustion got the better of us and we grabbed an inexpensive hotel in Kennewick.  The next day we drove the rest of the way.  I dropped off both Craig and Michael and headed to my home for a couple hours of laundry, dinner with my daughter, repacking, and a drive to the airport to head to the east coast for a quick consulting gig I had taken on Cape Cod.  I extended my stay on the east coast so I could photograph some of the east coast high points.  I was soon to experience the beauty of Katahdin in Maine, Mount Washington in New Hampshire and Mount Greylock in Massachusetts. 

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Photographs Ranier Vistas https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2014/12/washington-mount-ranier-june-17-21 Wed, 03 Dec 2014 00:04:00 GMT
June 13-15 2014 Mount Hood, Oregon https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2014/12/june-13-15-2014-mount-hood-oregon Oregon, Mount Hood:  June 13-15.  Late afternoon of June 13 (yep, Friday the 13th) I began my drive to Mount Hood.  I got a very late start due to my daughter locking her keys in her car. I had planned to drive to Boise, ID from my home in Utah and find a spot to sleep for a good night of rest prior to my attempt at Mount Hood - my very first state high point - what a crazy place to start!  I had planned to start on the East Coast and work my way west while preparing myself for the larger mountains and ultimately Denali.   As luck would have it I met a great group of local guys who were preparing to summit Mount Ranier.  I decided to join them and so, my journey begins in the Pacific Northwest.

As it was I didn’t leave home until after 8pm and made it to Boise around 1am.  This allowed me about four hours to sleep before I would have to leave in order to make it to the mountain on time to take the Miracle Mile ski lift up to scout out the trail before my attempt.  I tried fairly unsuccessfully to sleep in my truck  until around 5am at which point I got back on the road.  Had a beautiful drive through Idaho and Oregon to Hood.  I made it to the Timberline Ski Lodge on schedule June 14 but the mountain was entirely socked in.  I decided to enjoy the lodge while I watched the weather.  If you have not visited here, it is a must see.  Timberline is a beautiful rustic lodge with fantastic food and ambiance. 

The weather was bad most of the afternoon and I messaged my Ranier crew (who I would meet in a few days) that I did not think I would make the Hood attempt.  I spent most of the day in the lodge and out at my truck arranging gear and trying to get glimpses of the mountain for a good picture.  Weather report started looking a little better late afternoon (after the lift had already closed) so I decided to go for it as long as the weather looked good in the middle of the night and the forecast looked good for the next morning.  Went back to truck around 5pm and got all my gear together (filled water bottles, packed emergency gear – compass, extra clothing, sleeping pad, fuel, stove, etc – along with camera equipment). 

I planned to leave around 11pm for the summit.  Woke around 11 to find the area cold, windy and socked in again with very little visibility.  Geared up and checked into the climbing center where I met a guy named Steve who had climbed the mountain several times who said he would not go tonight.  He was cool and gave me a printed sheet with compass coordinates in case I lost visibility.  I was about to give up due to the wind and blowing snow when I saw a group near the trail head.  I walked over and chatted with them.  They were from Seattle and had driven down earlier that day for the summit attempt.  They said that it was pouring rain their entire drive and they didn’t like the look of things either but felt like they’d hike up a couple thousand feet to the Silcox Warming Hut and then decide from there.  I asked if I could tag along and they said sure. 

I hiked up with them and it was tough.  They were a fast crew and I was heavily loaded (having followed all of the recommendations for emergency gear instead of just taking a light day pack).  It was also very cold and windy.  When we got up a couple thousand feet, however, we found ourselves above the clouds with a fantastic view of the mountain above us.  We were cold and the wind was fierce at times but we could now see the mountain and an amazing moon which reinvigorated us.  We kept on going and had excellent visibility almost the entire time (apart from the occasional cloud that would blow through and blind us for a few minutes).  We had several encounters with snow cats taking climbers up above us and returning to base.  They didn’t much respect our “lanes” and we found ourselves scrambling off the boot path many times to get out of their way.  Trail was very frozen and hard due to the winds which cleared off anything loose leaving a hard crusted ice/snow combination (you can see this in the picture of a climber on the actual summit).  We stopped to put on crampons and get out our ice axes.  This was a great decision as the footing was treacherous.  Our climbing was fast and furious with a guy named Ben and others in the group (Jeremy was the guy I spoke with in base who welcomed me to join them) leading the way.  With my heavy pack it was very physically challenging but I enjoyed their company and was determined to keep up so as not to have to go it alone on that big cold mountain.

As we got up directly under the summit with the large cliffs and head walls above us the wind was kicking off rocks and ice chunks.  I took a hard blow to my helmet but didn’t really feel it.  Another guy in the group who wasn’t yet wearing his helmet  also took an ice chunk to the head and it nearly dropped him. Luckily he had on a thick beanie and hood which somewhat softened the blow, but he was dazed for a bit.  He promptly put on his helmet.  As we made our way up a large bergshrund had opened under the Pearly Gates (the most common approach to the summit) so we were forced to traverse to the side (climber's left) and summit via the Old Chute.  It was very steep, icy and rocky.  From a feature called the Hogsback all the way to the top it was hard, crusted ice and heavy winds.  We had to be very careful and work both our crampons and ice axes diligently to keep from slipping.  We had decided not to rope up to save time and also because it was so steep and the ice so hard we didn’t feel like we would be able to help one another if someone began to slide.  We picked our way up and through the chute and summitted before 6am to a beautiful view with clouds and peeks of the sun.  It was one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen.  With the clouds below us and the sun peeking through them from below the view was astounding.  We hooped and hollered a bit and gave each other high fives. 

I took group pictures for them and they took some of me and then I set out to take vista shots.  They were kind enough to wait for me as I took my photos and they rested, enjoyed the scenery and took pictures of their own.  As we decended through the Old Chute we started seeing other climbing groups ascending.  Thank goodness we descended when we did – there were numerous rope teams ascending and it would have caused us a huge delay waiting for all the up climbers had we not gotten back down through the chute before the masses arrived (:  As we decended a couple of guys in our group decided to save their energy and time by glissading (controlled sliding versus hiking).  This didn’t last long do to the extreme hardness of the packed snow and ice.  As they careened down the slope they were barely able to stop themselves before slamming into rocks at a cliff’s edge.  I watched them and decided to leave my crampons on and continue trudging down.  The day was beautiful and the sun warming so walking was fine.  I made it back to my truck and basked in the glow of having completed my first state high point and the wonderful adventure it was with a group of guys I had just met at the trailhead.  Honestly, had it not been for them, given the nature of the weather and the sketchiness of the trail I would not have attempted it.  Having found a group of prepared climbers and joining them I felt much more secure hiking up through the weather until clearing the cloud tops and enjoying star and moonlight all the way to the top.

I could also barely walk later that day – I had prepared well hiking with heavy packs in Utah, but the steep and direct approach route and extended time in crampons took a huge toll on my Achilles.  I drove north to Washington to catch a soccer match happily limping the next couple days as I rested my weary legs for the next adventure – Mount Ranier.

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Climbing Hiking Hood Mount Photo Photographs Summit https://fiftyhighpoints.com/blog/2014/12/june-13-15-2014-mount-hood-oregon Tue, 02 Dec 2014 06:43:16 GMT