"Training day" Top 5 Page for this destination Mount Hood Favorite Tip by goingsolo
Mount Hood General: 34 reviews and 44 photos
Favorite thing: The day before our climb, we met our guides at 9 a.m. to go over gear and head out to a slope along the base of the mountain to learn some snow and ice techniques. The view and the day were so different than they had been when we trudged to this spot the year before. This time, we knew we were really going while last time we wandered out there knowing the next day's climb had been cancelled. The mountain was clearly visible while last year I almost wondered if it was there at all. And, instead of being pelted with snow, warm sunshine beamed down on us. It was hard to believe that it was the same place I'd been to a year before.
The soft snow did not make for the best training ground. One member of our group commented that it was like walking on mashed potatoes. I can't say whether that analogy is correct, but it was definitely difficult to step, plant crampons and do anything without sinking into the soft slush.
These are not the best conditions for learning the proper footing for gripping ice. The guides kept warning us that it would be different, and more difficult, to make the steps when it was ice our feet were touching as opposed to snow we were sinking into. I think this definitely made a difference and contributed to the difficulties the following day. If I'd known, I think I might have opted for hiking to a higher elevation and camping out, allowing for more practice on firmer ground.
Fondest memory: But spending the day at 6500 plus feet definitely helped. I didn't feel any of the symptoms of altitude the following day. Mount Hood is only 11,200 feet (and change), but altitude sickness can strike at any higher elevation. For me, I generally feel the dizziness which makes climbing, especially descending, difficult. I didn't have that problem to contend with the following day and credit the day of acclimitizing for this. But Hood would present me with other challenges.
We didn't finish training until nearly 4 p.m. and we told to be back by 1:30 a.m. to be ready for our 2 a.m. snowcat departure. That didn't leave much time for much more than a quick shower, a meal and an attempt to get some sleep.
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