(Last Updated On: July 20, 2012)
My phone started in with it’s chant at 4:15 in the morning. “Good morning, Good morning!” it sang. All I wanted to do was turn it off – as fast as possible. My parents, Frank, and any past roommate can attest to the fact that I’m not a morning person. So, why was I waking up at 4:15? To ski of course. That’s one of the only reasons I ever wake up early 🙂
Being only a part-time teacher at the moment, my salary is extremely small – the smallest I’ve had since college. The only way I could afford this trip was to be a dirtbag. Now, I’m no stranger to the dirtbag role. I’m quite good at it really. But, I do enjoy certain luxuries. After four nights of camping in California, I was ready for the little luxuries in life – like a shower. Not just a sun-shower or a “bathe-in-the-lake” kind of shower. But a “I-can-shave-my-legs-and-enjoy-the-steam” kind of shower. That’s how we ended up at my friend Rana’s house in Hood River. And when I say friend, I really mean my husband’s friend. Although I’ve heard stories of the infamous Rana from Frank and all his cronies, I’ve only met Rana a few times. Yet, she invited us into her house and we decided to set up camp for a few days. It was a dirtbag trip with a bit of luxury. I’m extremely thankful to her as I am to the many other friends and strangers-who’ve-become-friends that have let me in their houses so that I can live my ski-bum dream on a part-time teacher’s salary.
So, shortly after I turned off my singing phone, I slowly emerged out of the cocoon that was my sleeping bag. I was surprised that it was already light outside and that birds were awake and chirping as if they actually enjoy the morning. As it turns out, a few degrees of latitude actually really does makes a huge difference near the solstice. I went about my morning rituals, eventually shoveling some yogurt and granola down my throat and gulping the absolutely necessary cup of Starbucks Via into my blood stream. Did I mention that Starbucks should be the next sponsor of ski mountaineers?
At 5 am Matt and I left and headed toward Mt. Adams. We passed over the Hood River toll bridge and caught the most amazing view of Hood River and the Columbia Gorge. I couldn’t help but stop for a picture.
After a quick detour in Trout Lake to obtain a permit ($10 weekday), we were on our way to the trailhead. We were hoping to make it all the way to Cold Springs, but this year’s high levels of snow wouldn’t allow it. We parked a little below the Morrison Creek Campground, at about 4700′, nearly 1000 feet below where we hoped to be. Oh well. No matter. Only an hour more. The extra vert is really nothing in a 7,500′ day.
We paused on the false summit and spoke with another skier who said that we should drop our skis if we wished to continue up to the true summit. “The skiing is not very good from there to here,” he said. “Yeah but I’d much rather ski down than walk down, no matter how bad it is!” I replied. So the skis went to the summit.
We reached the summit nearly 8 hours after starting. And the summit was surprisingly and relentlessly windy and cold. We did not last long there. But, we did snap a few pictures of the views. Rainier in the distance.
The skiing from the summit was rimey and bumpy for sure, but certainly not miserable enough to have dropped our skis. But, the real skiing began at the top of the false summit, down the southwest chutes. Matt.
At about 8000 feet, we began traversing left (south) to meet up with our ascent route. We paused to take a look back at the south chutes. They don’t look like 4000′ do they? But, my legs certainly felt like they’d just skied 4000 feet!
We kept traversing left, following other skier tracks. We thought we’d meet up with the Round the Mountain Trial, which would lead us back to Cold Springs. But, instead, the tracks ended up descending down a drainage. Though a bit treacherous and annoying we stayed on snow most of the time. We realized we’d probably been following the Morrison Creek drainage and the Short Horn Trail. Eventually, we popped out at the Morrison Creek campground, having skied over 7000 vertical feet!
Thanks to Matt for yet another fantastic day in the PNW!
Links to Other Reports from this Trip:
From SLC to Shasta
Shasta Ski (14 June 2012)
Shastarama Ski (16 June 2012)
Lassen Peak – Closing a Volcano
Oregon Days Off
Mount Hood (19 June 2012)
Mount Adams (20 June 2012)
Mt. St. Helens (21 June 2012)
From the Gorge to Craters