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Trip report: Had a great weekend

5/16/07 — Trip report: Had a great weekend on Mt. Hood. Below is a photo of me after the steep hike up to the cabin. At 5,800 feet above sea level, there was still plenty of snow on the ground, at least five feet or so. The debris you can see on the surface was blown from trees during a recent wind storm. A sign of things to come, as it turns out. But at the moment the sun was shining and the temperature was pleasant. We dumped our packs, rested for a few minutes, then put climbing skins on the bottoms of our skis and headed above timberline.

Once in the alpine zone, we angled up onto the lateral moraine of the Elliot Glacier. As you can see from the picture below, the view from the moraine crest was spectacular. However, we hadn’t any more than picked a good boulder to sit on, when a wall of clouds reared its head over the flank of the mountain like a lion about to pounce.

And pounce it did. Within minutes we were slammed by giant gusts of wind. The clouds roared down the north face toward us. Knowing that in the mountains visibility can drop to near zero in no time flat, we threw on extra layers and beat a hasty retreat.

Not, however, without catching some turns — and the last bit of sunshine — on the way.

Back at the cabin, I was elated. Along with all the fun and excitement of the afternoon, I got another serving of the mountain environment to help in the writing of STORM MOUNTAIN. Maybe I should do this every weekend . . .