Mount Hood

11,235 feet - 3424 meters

Cascade Range, Oregon

This is the Cooper Spur

Ascent/Descent: Palmer Glacier route


In 2004, I had the pleasure of summitting Mount Hood, one of the most popular
Cascade volcanoes in North America, and the highest peak in Oregon State.
Alissa, our two boys & I drove from Wyoming, while my partner Steve flew in from Houston.
Alissa and the boys headed up to Wenatchee, Washington while Steve and I bandied about
the lush mountain region of the Columbia River valley. It was one of the best trips I've ever had.

In the parking lot...

Steve unloading the
rental car
8 July 2004

In the parking lot...

Steve's got his
hands full
8 July 2004

In the parking lot...

Steve's glasses
have an eye-full
8 July 2004

In the parking lot...

Steve delivering the
"Hey, Baby" kiss
8 July 2004

This is from the Timberline Lodge parking lot

Mt Hood from
Timberline Lodge
8 July 2004

This is a close-up

Mount Hood,
slopes & route
8 July 2004

Dear Diary...

Page from
my journal
8 July 2004

This was taken at about 9000 feet

Steve on upper
Palmer Glacier
9 July 2004

Mt Jefferson is 10,497 ft

Mt Jefferson
from Mt Hood
9 July 2004

I picked up Steve in a rented, tiny Hyundai at Portland International Airport
on July 8th, and he called a halt at the first Greek restaurant he saw.
I had to be educated on how to eat this stuff... Steve's been all over the world.
The owner of the eatery let us fill our 5-gallon water container in the kitchen
before we hit the road again. We picked up groceries on the way to Timberline Lodge
at the foot of this big mountain, which the Multnomah Indians called Wy'East.
We unrolled a tarp on the asphalt of the parking lot there and napped in our
sleeping bags until leaving for our climb at about 3 A.M. All of our stuff was covered
with a fine, dark grey volcanic ash. It was kind of nippy there at 6000 feet!

Although we lost our way initially in the dark, we just kept heading for Mount Hood.
As we plodded up the ski slopes under the dormant lifts, the headlights of
numerous snowcat machines tractored up below us, and passed us by. We didn't know that
many mountaineers hire these machines for a ride up the first 2500 feet of the Palmer Glacier!
By sunrise, we were at 8,540 feet, and it was still pretty cold. I was growing painful blisters
on the heels of my feet, owing to my new mountain boots which were not yet broken in.

Ben plodding... photo by Steve Harris

Ben plods the
upper mountain
9 July 2004

Just below the Pearly Gates... photo by Steve Harris

Ben getting
all dressed up
9 July 2004

Photo by Steve Harris

Ben at the
big crevasse
9 July 2004

WHOOOP! Beyond the Pearly Gates...Photo by Steve Harris

On the summit
ice field
9 July 2004

Steve, as usual, had been training like a maniac, so he practically strolled ahead. I was
hobbling like a little old man, shooting video as we climbed. These volcanoes are usually
non-technical, and for the most part, it's true about Mount Hood. The final thousand feet,
however, are quite steep in places. There's a big crevasse to negotiate just before a feature
referred to as the Pearly Gates. We paused to fine-tune our clothing layers before
ascending the chute that leads to the Pearly Gates. The summit icefield, a vast concave
fan-shaped funnel, lay beyond. Steve forged ahead, snapping photographs. I was enjoying myself
so much that I savored every step to the top. The wind had a cold bite, but we felt good.

Steve, in green, barely visible on the summit ridge

Steve calling
from the summit
9 July 2004

Photo by Steve Harris

Ben & Steve
Mt Hood summit
9 July 2004

Harris as portrayed by Steve Harris!

Steve's a happy
photog today!
9 July 2004

The highly-sculpted summit of Mt Hood

The summit of
Mount Hood
9 July 2004

My video camera was somehow turned on when I made a phone call to my mom,
who lives in Houston. I have some nice footage of my boots!

We started down after an hour on top, at 11 A.M. We were above a sea of cloud, and at
9000 feet, we were immersed in it. Eventually, we broke through into overcast weather.
We were at the border of the Palmer Glacier, and we found ourselves in the middle of a
winter sports competition (in July), X Games style. Oh, and we found we were lost!
It took us five hours to get back to the car from the summit.

Making the metal sign, high on Mount Hood

Steve descends
from the summit
9 July 2004

Photo by Steve Harris

Gettin' down:
Is it soup yet?
9 July 2004

Dear Diary...

Page from
my journal
9 July 2004

Photo by Steve Harris

Hood's Cooper Spur
from Hwy 35
10 July 2004

Steve imaging the big mountain

Harris is
hard at work!
11 July 2004

Our next stop was the Mount Hood Brewery, where we drank pints of beer and ate tasty burgers.
That evening, our bivouac was off a logging road somewhere near Trillium Lake. In stark contrast
to Mount Hood itself, a wet morning dew dripped outside the walls of our tent at sunrise.

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Copyright 2011 EBBoykinJr

Steve Harris' photos Copyright 2004,
used with permission of
Steve Harris Photography

All Rights Reserved