Tabby on Mt. Tabor.
My buddy Kari and I went up to Mt. Hood to try and get in a winter ascent. As this was ‘winter’, we purposefully left late at 4am so we could enjoy some sunshine during the climb. A thick ream of climber registrations showed we would not be alone on the hill.
On the slog up we commiserated about how packing for a climb always takes 3 hours, regardless of how much goes into the pack. The moon lit the way for an hour or so until it dropped below the ocean and we were left with our headlamps. Despite the top of the Palmer having been moved further north we made good progress up the glacier. We stopped to eat and put on crampons while listening to others plan for their respective climbs. While strapping on the crampons I realized they were adjusted for my ski boots and were a little loose and one of the heel straps was broken. Lame.
At about 9500’ our stoke started to run out. The diagnosis was a case of I-don’t-wannas combined with feeling out of shape. This was Kari’s second outing on her newly repaired knee so she was deciding to top out at Hogsback. I really wanted to top out ten feet below us. We decided to keep going to Hogsback and make another call up there.
Just as the sun poked over the rimed cliffs we got to the Hogsback. Kari called it for herself and offered to schlep the rope back down to the car. The summit was right there so I decided to keep going up, sans rope weight. The Pearly Gates looked pretty easy, even though another guy said it was icy and bailed back over to the Old Chute.
I climbed up nice steps to the left chute of the Gates to see how it was. The right chute looked more promising until a barrage of large ice chunks flew down said chute. I kept going up the left one and talked to a dude ahead of me who was in the steps. About then a large chunk of ice came down and crashed in front of me, breaking into a lot of pieces and bouncing off of my helmet. He said that was it for him and downclimbed to me and on down to the Hogsback. I went up a little further to see how hard it was. It looked super cool, but after seeing my left crampon move around a bit and more ice coming down, I decided it was time to head back down as well.
Rime ice continued to fall as I downclimbed to the Hogsback. Nothing terribly large was dropping so I finally felt comfortable. I saw one piece dropping and thought ‘That looks tiny, no biggie’ as it slammed into my right arm, causing me to scream like a child. That ended my thought of going up the Old Chute as I didn’t want any part of more falling ice.
I stood on the Hogsback listening to others discuss the conditions and whether it was good to bail or not. There were at least 40 people on the Old Chute face, which further sealed the deal. I adjusted my malcontent crampon and headed down. A few hours of trudging got me to the top of the Palmer, where I wished I magically had my skis, or at least my sled that I left at home. Another hour of hiking got me back to the car, where Kari was hanging out with a cider for us to split. I offered up some chocolate and we had a ghetto picnic in the parking lot before driving back home.
Mat and I went down to Bend with the mind to ski from Bachelor to South Sister and do some summitting. We were first thwarted by horrible breakfast at Burgerville, which were slightly redeemed by apple fritters from a quicki-mart. We skied all the way down to the Devil Lake trailhead with little fanfare. No fanfare really.
After eating some granola bars we tromped into the trees for the easy climb. A few postholes later we put the skis back on as the snow was super mush. Our lack of ski ability showed itself on the first uphill portion. We stood around debating the merits of continuing up or running back home. As there was steep snow to climb to even get to the plateau I tried walking on the snow again as we wouldn’t be able to ski the whole thing. I sunk to my waist within three feet.
A few minutes later we were back on the road eating granola bars and discussing the merits of stealing a snow mobile to go back up the hill. Pride won out and we slowly started skiing back to the car. My boots started to act up again, allowing us a few breaks so we could swear about cross country skiing. We determined the only acceptable ski trip is 2 miles (nothing further) if the destination is a yurt with a hot tub or whiskey.
Hours later we shuffled into the parking lot where the sky erupted with a brilliant sunset (announcing our arrival to the Swedish Bikini Ski Team.) A dude in the lot chatted our ears off about the merits of the various ski hills around the area. I think he couldn’t tell we had just sworn off skiing, cross country or otherwise. I ate a squished danish from my pack and judged him in silence.
Burgers and beer from the brewery in Bend assuaged our pain. Clear skies kept with us on the drive home, causing us to stop and stare at stars and mountains on one of the passes. Another pass yielded a large booty of lava rocks for an upcoming pig roast.
Rachel and I took an awesome two night trip to Central Oregon. First night was at the really cool Balch Hotel in Dufur. We took the nice windy roads down and over to the Painted Hills for a cheese and cracker lunch like civilized people. The last night was at the Condon Hotel, where we had our own bathroom and they gave us beer once we settled in. More awesome roads the next morning led us back home.
Rachel and I took the moto out to the beach Friday night, passing by the huge fire plume near Forest Grove (looked like a mushroom cloud). We got down to the beach just in time for a great sunset. Next morning we rode south on 101 to meet up with Dawn and her moto off 26. The weather and roads were perfect; we had plumes of sea fog through the trees and the sun to warm us up. After joining with Dawn we backtracked to home to meet up with Chris, Charlie, Mona and Boomer at McMenamins.
We all played on the beach, some even went swimming, but they’re a bit off. Had a great dinner and a wee bit too much Amarullo. Sunday was another awesome ride out on the Lewis & Clark road to Astoria and then home via the Elk Viewing areas near Vernonia. Super fun weekend.
I took off towards Moro for the weekend on the moto (Gwen as Rachel has named her). Spent first night in a RV with some deer and then heading on the awesome roads to Mt. Adams. Jo Ellen was kind and let me crash at her place at Trout Lake, with awesome company, views and Amarullo from Africa. On Sunday I took the awesome dirt roads west out of town home via the Gorge.
Went up Mt. Adams with Chris. We had a spectacular moonset hiking up from camp. As it was late in the season I thought no crampons would be kosher, and we all know an extra 8 ounces can slow us down. The snow turned out to be pretty much like ice on the way up, so progress was very slow. Especially when I threw my axe down the slopes because I took my leash off a few weeks ago for a friend to borrow. A nice lady a few hundred feet below caught it in her teeth and brought it up to me. She was going to the summit to get married that morning, which is super dope. I thanked her for the axe, and slipped up the hill to catch up with Chris.
On the top we hung out for a while; ok, I fell asleep on the summit for a long time. After waiting for the snow to soften we headed down on our tukases. The sliding was perfect – it’s always fun to scream down the hill and watch people slowly trundle up the hill. We took a few more glissades before hitting the dust and walking out to the truck. The burgers down at Trout Lake were tasty as usual.