Old Habits....

Chris Kouba

I haven't been climbing much lately and had a climbing friend point it out, in a casual but pointed manner of, "Hey- let's go!"

Then in January, we had a window of about 10 days of stable weather. About halfway through it I called him on the challenge and said, "You're on."

Mt Hood is close enough, and of minimal commitment for two old guys who were coming off the couch, so it was chosen as the objective. The route up the south side is technically mild, although conditions can make it interesting. We chose last Friday night- clear, cold, moonless, and windy, leaving the lot at 0100 Sat morning.

There were a bunch of other people on the hill but somehow, we ended up with no one in front of us. With no moon, the stars were brilliant in the sky. We had selected an alternate from the standard route and geared up at the base of it alone in the darkness. As we departed for the final push to the summit, other parties started arriving and gearing up, but none of them went for our line. Instead they tried the standard "beginner" line and were all being stymied by a technical ice step.

My partner and I headed over to our route and made good work of it, topping out onto the summit ridge just as the sun was rising. I was mostly focused on the sunrise, because in spite having climbed Hood a number of times, I had never been up there to see it from the actual summit. I was on my way over to the summit when I turned around to check on my partner and was greeted by this view:


That is not another peak in the background, it's the shadow of the mountain we're on being projected on the dust in the atmosphere.

Due to the standard route effectively shutting down anyone else getting to the summit and no one else had followed us, there was no one else on the summit for the entirety of our stay. It was brutally cold and the wind was howling, so we didn't stay long, but it was gorgeous!



What you see here is pretty well representative of what we saw in the moment. No monkey business on my end with the colors... it felt like we were swimming in the colors.


As the sun cleared the horizon, the prismatic effect faded and things started to wash out to a more binary blue and white. For a few moments though, it was magical.


All in all, a great day out, with a fantastic summit experience.

Stay healthy everyone!


Bill Kearley

Fantastic. I can't say enough about the areas we live.


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Larry L.

Lifetime Supporter
"We chose last Friday night- clear, cold, moonless, and windy, leaving the lot at 0100 Sat morning."
"It was brutally cold and the wind was howling, so we didn't stay long, but it was gorgeous!" - C.K.

'Want you to know this old man was snug and warm and sound asleep in bed the whole time you two guys were freezin' your backsides off!
And right now, after looking at those photos and reading the above 'weather report' - I've just thrown a blanket over my robe even though it's 72* F in this room - and my teeth are still chattering. Yeeew two guys are completely NUTS! ;-)

('Long story as to why I changed the oil in my pickup in the driveway yesterday, but I did - and I about came down with hypothermia doing that even though it was a relatively 'balmy' 42* F here...sunny...with a light breeze blowing at the time!)

- Mr. Pansy

Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
I’m awestruck.... If only I was a much younger and more fit man..... Amazing and I loved the photos and narratives...


Great photos from what must have been a nice climb. I've never been on Hood but I have climbed in the Wind River Range in Wyoming but that was a long time ago! Climbing is an experience that is hard to explain to other people.


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