Mt. Hood Summit Bivy


Matt and I climbed Mt. Hood with the idea of camping on the summit. We left Portland at 3 and Timberline at shade before 5. It was fairly cold in the parking lot but ended up warming up to the mid forties by 7500', which did us no favors staying dry and cool department. We ran into a gal and guy who were out hiking and we gave them our two cents about this and that on our mountain. She mentioned she was on Denali last year, effectively shutting us up about Hood. "Hey so Mt. Hood is really tough, like we once, what's that? Denali? Oh, so uh, yeah I saw photos of that, yeah you're at 7000 feet, pretty bad ass, right?"
The temperature dropped down into the thirties by the time we hit the shadow of Crater Rock and started up to the Hogsback. I got to the Hogsback and promptly started shivering as my heat output dropped to nil. It took me a bit to remember the belay jacket in my bag, I blame the altitude. We threw on our crampons, helmets, lights and tried to book up to the summit ridge. Although it looks right there, it took us about an hour to get to the ridge.
We moved over to the summit proper and debated camping there or back a bit on the ridge. The snow was very hard and a fairly steep angle, so back to one of the flatter portions of the ridge we went. This was a good call as it took us around an hour to dig out platforms for the tents. I previously wondered about the legitimacy of alpinists saying they spent hours chopping out a platform. Now I know this is very much true. It took a good hour to beat on the snow and fiddle with the tent.
My original idea was to set up the camera and take super awesome long exposure photos of us setting up tent and the stars and whatnot. In the end I got 3 really blurry photos of the edge of the tents and one of my boot. I thought that was enough and went back to watching the snow slowly melt into luke warm water for dinner. I got one liter of close to boiling water, poured that into a nalgene bottle and tossed that into the bottom of my bag. This is the only way to sleep in the cold.
At around midnight it was time to attempt some sleep, the temperature had gone down into the high teens, my bag was rated to 25 so it was interesting. In the middle of the night I checked out the thermostat and it read around 14. I opened the tent to check out the stars and it was definitely colder outside, I'm guessing about 10. I popped some vitamin-I and went to sleep.


We got up around 5, just in time to ignore the sunrise and start fiddling with the tents and gear. I was hungry but didn't want to boil water. I trudged over to the summit to take uninspiring photos of the sunrise. Twenty minutes later we were high daggering back down the old chute watching the conga line of people go up the steps we kicked the previous night.
A few hours later we were down at the car eating the customary Cheez-its.


The plan for trying out the new tent, sleeping bag system and lighter pack worked out really well. The cold pushed the limits of my sleeping system, but it was doable and I'll know better what to bring the next time. I had a raging headache while trying to sleep, which I stubbornly didn't take ibuprofen for until it was really bad. I had some nausea as well, making me think I had some AMS, but after the ibuprofen kicked in, all that went away. It was probably a touch of AMS with some dehydration. Next time I will take the pills as soon as I'm at altitude.
It was super dope to sleep on the summit. I thought we would be the only ones anywhere near the top, but I saw another tent further down on the ridge, so much for that. The fitness for this climb was top notch, I only slowed down around 10,000 feet, but I think this was more from lack of eating real food than anything else. I took up a bunch of cliff blocks and no real food like sandwiches or carmel corn. So for next climb; more food and vitamin-I.