April 5 (Friday) Thinking there
would be a high avalanche danger I rented transceivers for the trip (it turned
out the danger was a lot lower than I had anticipated). I drove to the
Tri-Cities where Jason lives and we bought our food and miscellaneous supplies
that night. Spent the night at Jason's in Richland.
April 6 (Saturday) We got up
around 5 AM and drove to The Dalles Oregon and ate breakfast. I realized that I
had forgotten the gaters so we bought two pair at a ski shop when it opened. The
sky was completely overcast but we were told it was clear at the mountain. We
drove to the ski resort and sure enough the clouds were low-laying and the
mountain was drenched in sun with only thin high cloud.
We began hiking at the ski
resort and climbed straight north through all the skiers. They would have
let us ride the ski chair for 5 bucks but we declined. They were getting
the upper chair lift ready for the summer season as we passed. It reaches
half way up the mountain.
At the top of the upper chair,
climbers were already settling down for the day. We met a girl from the
National Geographic Society who said she was there with a couple dozen others
who were there for a few days doing some filming. We later saw them all
camped out just above Illumination rock.
We continued hiking on very
gently sloped snow fields to about 10,500 feet. Near the edge of amphitheater,
on a slope of about 45 degrees, we dug out campsite and set up the tent.
The sun went down before we were done and suddenly Portland came ablaze night
(Sunday) We had no alarm clock, but I woke up every hour or so and kept
tabs on the location of the moon which was brilliantly full. When I
guessed it was an hour or so before sunup, we got up and ate breakfast.
Then a guy and his German Shepard wandered by on their way up. The sun was
lighting the mountain top within about a half hour or so and we quickened the
pace. While we were getting ready two young climbers passed us on their
way to the top. We put on crampons, left our camp in place and headed for
the top ourselves shortly thereafter.
The wind had shifted in the
night and we were constantly aware of the geo thermal activity above us.
The smell of sulfur was very strong. We soon found ourselves within an old
crater. It was obvious from here how the south rim of the mountain had
some centuries ago fallen away. This debris had sloughed away leaving the
gradual slopes below which we had been climbing the previous day. Within
the domain of the crater, we found ourselves among numerous steam vents and bare
patches of ancient ash and lava formations. I ventured near one small vent
and put a gloved hand in front of it to see how hot it was. I quickly
pulled my hand back when I realized it was indeed very hot, and could have
easily caused severe burns.
We rounded a
corner and headed for the Hog's Back, which is a snow covered ridge that slants
upwards toward the inside northern rim of the ancient crater. We
were feeling pretty good so we didn't stay very long and started up the Hog's
Back, passing the two young climbers who stayed on the Hog's Back.
At the top of the Hog's Back the
route steepness to about 55 degrees. Here we met the man and his dog
again. The dog looked like it had broke its hip and the man was trying to
drag him back down. It turned out that the dog was just scared and
wouldn't move. We passed them by and continued through a narrow chute.
The sun was hitting our side of the mountain now and there was a steady stream
of ice chunks, none larger than a golf ball, coming down the chute, and larger
chunks falling from the walls of the chute above us. We raced to the top
of the chute which was only 100 feet long or so and up another small snow mound
and we were at the top.
was perfect, no wind and warm. The views of Mt Rainier and Adams was
excellent and we could see Mt. Jefferson and the Sisters to the south. We
stayed about an hour eating lunch and taking pictures.
We got back to camp,
disassembled it and headed down. Jason slid on his butt while I rode the
tarp and we managed to slide very quickly all the way back to the top of the
upper chair lift. The snow began to get sticky there but we continued
sliding for a few more hundred feed (elevation). Then I discovered that I
lost my sleeping bag off my pack and had to hike back up only a hundred feet or
so to find it.
The rest of the trip was
uneventful. We got back to the truck, drove to the Tri-Cities and I
continued back to Pullman.
TISHBA: An alarm clock, gaters,