We had an amazing December of riding powder on Mt. Hood but the clouds finally parted, and it was time to break away from the lifts and find some freshies in the backcountry. The weather was looking favorable and so a group of us decided to head up the northeast side of the mountain from toward the historic Tilly Jane A-frame and Cooper Spur Shelter.
We headed out early got a pre-sunrise start up the trail. It was damn cold gearing up at the cars but we were all shedding layers as soon as we hit the trail. About 45 minutes into the climb we got to the burn zone where the Gnarl Ridge fire swept through in 2008.
It really opened up the trees making for some awesome terrain and great views of the summit.
Here's crew and dog taking a minute to appreciate the view.
Another good view from the ridge.
After about 2.5 hours we made it up to the A-frame. The door was open and the wood stove was stoked, but no one was around. We decided to take a break, warm up, and refuel before continuing on.
Here's haley and crew taking a minute to peek over the edge into Polallie Creek canyon.
As we were approaching tree-line a few clouds started moving in and out. Not to worry though, they didn't stay for long.
Our goal for the day was to make it up to a small stone shelter on the Timberline Trail. Once we got above the trees everything was wind scoured and super icy which made for some tricky conditions. We were essentially maneuvering between islands of packed powder with solid ice in between. It definitely would have been nice to have a set of splitboard crampons.
After some strategic navigation we finally made it to the shelter. The entrance was covered by a big snowdrift so we had to tunnel in.
Definitely a fun day. I always regret having to leave for home but at least you get the ride down to look forward to.
Here's our buddy Har Rai with his dog Jackson in close pursuit.