Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:29 am Posts: 578 Location: Oregon
Todd and I met up with Buell on Thursday night at Cloud Cap TH with hopes of hitting the Snowdome the following day for what will likely be the last backcountry ski/board trip of the season. The sunset was nice and wild flowers were numerous near the trailhead.
We broke camp and hit the trail about 5:15am, heading up the main ridge below the Elliot Glacier. Having not been on the north side of Hood for 2 years, we were suprised to see how washed out the canyon was. We crossed the Elliot around 7500 feet or so, skirting some crevasses and seracs. There were several ski tracks on both sides of the Elliot from the few previous days.
After a few more hours, we topped out around 9300 feet at the top of the dome, with me wishing I had brought the solid deck instead of the splitboard (the transitions took too much time, and Buell motored by on his snowshoes). The split was on my back for most of the outing. Todd skinned the whole stinking dome, more out of stubborness than anything else.
The ride down the dome was sub-par - the snow conditions were kind of like natural moguls - very bumpy. We ended up heading down the Langille Bowls, knowing we were making quite a commitment by doing so, due to the canyon being washed out (but not knowing just how much of a commitment it really was). The snow in the bowls did not dissapoint.
We were able to ski to the Timberline trail, with only one portage just below the Snowdome. The snow was excellent in the bowls. Interstingly, there seemed to be more snow down low (around 6000 feet) than 2 years ago, but less snow up higher.
The last pitch just before the Timberline trail.........
After some water and snacks, we headed east along the trail. When we reached the spot where the trail was closed at the Elliot crossing, it was back up the ridge. And back up the ridge. And back up the ridge. Finally, we found a suitable crossing near where we crossed earlier in the morning. I ended up running out of water on the ridge (drinking 3 liters) and it was hot. Fortunately, we had running water at the Elliot. We ended up back at the trail head around 3:30, making for a longer day than intended, with some 5500 feet of vertical gained, with about 3000 feet skiied. Not bad for late July! With the trail washed out, the Langille is not seeing much skier traffic. I think we hit it just about right. It will probably be good through next weekend, but the snow is going incredibly fast.
Buell - thanks for the company and for waiting for us. It was fun riding with you. Thanks for taking the great pics too - many of which are posted on this report.