Last week Amanda and I headed to Oregon for vacation. My Aunt has an amazing beach house in Mazanita and we were planning on lounging around for a week. It was going to be great. No skiing. Just hanging with the wifey. The only problem with the plan of not skiing was that after leaving Boise at 9 AM I couldn't stop thinking about Mt. Hood. Even with no plans of skiing, for some reason I had packed up boots and a couple pairs of skis...
It doesn't seem like Mt. Hood has a strong speed ascent history and there isn't a ton of info regarding the Hood FKT but I did find an official record from 2004. A guy named Dan Howitt hired Climb Max Mountaineering to time his ascent. I guess there was controversy over the Rainier FKT and Dan wanted to make it official. He put up pretty quick times on a bunch of volcanos. His Hood time was 1:56:39 timed by Jacob Kammermeyer and Charlee Gribbon to the summit. My attempt certainly would be unofficial.
Luckily the freeways in Oregon have ridiculously slow speed limits so I was able to drive and surf the web for Hood beta. Weather looked good - still with a high of 37 on the summit. There had been a touch of snow a few days ago but nothing in the immediate past so I thought conditions just might be OK. The detour to Timberline Lodge was only going to add an hour to our drive which also seemed reasonable. After several hours of driving I still couldn't stop think about Hood so I brought it up to Amanda and we (I) decided give it a go. I figured I should eat something and the only food I could find at our last stop before heading up was a Mickey D's. I guess I would have to attempt Hood on a crispy McChicken Wrap.
When we got to Timberline Lodge it was 3PM, 70 degrees and sunny. The snow was a slushy mess. Not quite what I was hoping for but figured I'd give it a go. The first 2800' are in the resort and although the snow was slushy it was reasonably compacted and skinned pretty well. I think I hit the top of the resort in roughly 45 mins.
From there I slowed considerably trying to fight the slush/ice combo. The schrund was easy to bypass and the Pearly Gates had softened enough to make booting without crampons an option.
Once through the Pearly Gates I skinned to the top summiting in 1:27:46 still in a tee shirt. I snapped a few pictures, put on a jacket and headed down. The Gate's were too narrow for me so ski and I was too scared to straight line it so I down booted the slush covered ice and was glad to have a whippet. The rest went smoothly and in 1:44 I found myself back at the fire hydrant. Amanda and the dog were a sleep in the back of the truck, there were no timers. I pulled my skis and boots off and we headed to the beach. I was psyched to have squeezed a little skiing into the trip.
I won't be surprised if this time is lowered considerably in the near future. In fact, SCARPA athlete Scott Simmons who just won the Ski to Sea and summited/skied Mt St Helens with his 10 year old son is there right now and keen to give it a go. Good luck Scott!