– the blog –

Thoughts Before a Climb

We're intending to climb Mt. Hood tonight, or at least give it a shot. We were planning on going up early Saturday morning with a friend, but she has gotten a bad case of nasal lubrication galore and is unable to compel her body up a mountain side.

So, we're going tonight instead. The hope is that by going early Friday morning we will miss most of the weekend crowds. Sadly, we also seem to be getting the shittier weather as a storm just blew through Portland and it could be a bit damp and windy up there. Or not. I find the mountains to be surprisingly whimsical about their weather.

I also may have a bit of something in my chest. The aforementioned friend is only one of three people we know who are sick currently, and my run yesterday on Mt. Tabor seemed particularly phlegmy on the uphill portions. Also, my left wrist got a strain while climbing Tuesday morning and we're scheduled to be climbing at Smith, so I need to baby it a bit, if I can. Still, I am already taking the day off from work, so I might as well head up and see how it goes, right? Right.

Since our beginner climber is staying home, my gear selection needs to be rethought. Our original plan was to take her up to the Hogsback and see how she felt. From there to the summit it is a bit more technical and the crowds are frequently problematic on weekends, so we thought we would play it by ear. Bring a lightweight rope, harnesses, a sling, some cord, and a snow anchor along with the usual ice axe and crampons.

Now, it is just us two. Tina and I are reasonably experienced and reports from climbers earlier in the week seem to indicate excellent climbing conditions. We'll also be skinning up, instead of booting with our friend, so that requires different packing too. My impulse is to pack light and if the conditions are more challenging than what we are geared for, we just turn around. Bringing the second ice axe though, not going to make that mistake again, Hood is just too moody up high.

I'll probably pack here and then throw extra gear into the car so I have options at the Timberline Lodge parking lot. I like options.

And, I guess that is it. Going to go try and take a nap for an hour or so, and then wake up to pack, eat a bit, pour some manner of caffeinated liquid down my throat, and head to the mountain. Let's hope we get down in time for the Timberline Lodge breakfast buffet. Ohhhh, yeah...