Mt Hood, the first time

Photos here.

I hear I was just a little euphoric this past Saturday, upon my return to Portland after successfully summiting Mt Hood, thus accomplishing a goal I recently set for myself. As I look back at achieving this goal I realize that climbing Hood transformed from being my end goal to being a key step on a new path. Cool.

So I don’t have a lot to say about this climb. I will say that I derived a lot of internal satisfaction from climbing a mountain I see every sunny day on my drive to and from work and this satisfaction doesn’t need to translate to words. But people have asked about the climb, so here are a few highlights:

– seeing the flag at the climber’s register at Timberline barely twitch, a stark contrast to the previous week’s attempt when it was whipping around, straight out, in winds that were 20-40 mph (we turned around at 8800 feet that night)
– firm footing in the coarse snow and being surrounded by a warm night
– the half moon off of our left shoulders, until it disappeared behind the clouds at about 9000 feet
– the stars and glow of Portland
– covering my headlamp occasionally to look out at the nightscape of snow and rock
– looking back now and again to see the dance of headlamps from other climbing parties starting to snake up the slope behind us
– for what seemed like a couple thousand vertical feet, the constant smell of sulfur emanating from vents in the mountain
– the distinct sensation that the mountain is as alive as you or I
– watching others go up into the whiteness between us at the Hogsback (10,500 feet) and the summit
– loving _every_ minute and _every_ step of the final ascent to the summit, an hour and a half process up; self-belaying with my ice axe and climbing up a steep (maybe 40 degrees?) snow slope
– being on an all-Minnesotan rope team
– watching the blue sky emerge as we neared the summit
– laying on my belly to peer over the edge of the north face, and get a glimpse of that multi-thousand foot drop
– sending a text msg to a whole bunch of people from the summit
– Dick reminding us 1) to put another layer on, and 2) that we’d just completed half of a successful climb
– sitting on a snow ridge that was a few feet wide, waiting to descend, having my back to the north face, looking out at Mt Jefferson and the valley between, while watching a thin layer of clouds SWIRL its way in at about 10,000 feet
– the hour-long backward downclimb down the chute we ascended
– snapping at Jeff to get his feet out of my back on the first glissade run
– taking off those plastic boots in the parking lot
– staying up all night and not being tired

Okay, so I had a few things to say…