About Us > Clients > Mt. Hood via West Crater Rim Route
Mt. Hood via West Crater Rim Route, June 18, 2008
by client Jennifer B from Oregon
On June 18, 2008 I made my fifth summit of Mt. Hood in as many years via the West Crater Rim. This climb was very special to me for a couple of reasons. It was my birthday present to myself this year and it was also one of my teammates’ birthday – so we had a lot to celebrate. The West Crater Rim is a step up in difficulty over the standard Pearly Gates or Old Chute route that most folks take to the summit of Mount Hood. It has long steeper pitches and a very exposed traverse to the summit. This particular route has haunted me a bit. Four years ago I attempted the same route and had to turn around early in the day because I was not mentally or physically ready for it. It was soon after that experience that I started training with Courtenay and Body Results. Thanks to her coaching and advice, this year I knew that I would be better prepared and hoped that I would be able to summit.
The team started climbing from the top of Palmer ski lift at 1:30 am. The weather was cold and clear and snow conditions perfect for crampons. A little wind kept us all motivated to keep going. The moon was nearly full and really lit up the mountain. The first hour or two was pretty standard slogging up hill with nothing much to focus on except the boots in front of you. After we traversed under Crater Rock and took our final break before the really climbing started, we were treated to a glorious moonset – bright red and orange heading down over the Oregon Cascades.
The next several hours were spent alternatively waiting and trying to keep warm as our guide set up anchors and working our way up the 60 degree slope. We did about four steep pitches, took a little break at a brief traverse and did four more to the summit ridge. The sun was rising but we remained in the shadow of the mountain. One of my favorite views from Hood is at this time in the morning when you can see the shadow of the mountain fall over the forested foothills.
We topped out just above the Leuthold Couloirs and had breath-taking views down the north side of Mt. Hood to Cooper Spur and the Elliot Glacier. Crossing the ridge was a little anxiety inducing as the width was just a few feet across in places. The brief ascents and descents along the ridge that we had to cover made it a little more interesting but we were all smiles as we had the summit in view. The tough part of the climb was behind us. Soon we were at the top of Oregon’s tallest peak and I had attained a goal that I made nearly four years before. Thanks Courtenay!