The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too.
- Hervey Voge
This week I had my first Mountaineers climb on Mt Hood. We planned this as a two day trip, driving up Thursday morning, hiking to a high camp for the night, and climbing to the summit and all the way back down the next morning.
Hood is a pretty straightforward climb. It follows the boundary of a ski resort for about the first half (sometimes discouraging to look over at the ski lift paralleling the route), and then climbs up a glacier to the summit ridge. It's a popular climb and sometimes underestimated, maybe because you can do it in a day, and you stay in view of the resort the whole way. People die on Hood though, and we went prepared.
One other group of climbers, from British Columbia, was on the mountain that afternoon. They told us that famous mountaineer Ed Viesturs was planning on climbing Hood that same evening - exciting!
Unfortunately, after setting up camp at 9,000 ft, we rechecked the overnight weather forecast and it had significantly deteriorated since we had last checked it that morning. It was calling for rain, snow, high winds, and low visibility during the night and into the next morning. Deciding the chance of safely summiting was low, while the chance of a soaking and sketchy decent was high, we broke down camp and headed down. As we struck off down the mountain, the weather started rolling in.
Back in the parking lot we spotted a lenticular cloud capping the summit through gaps in the fast-moving clouds. I think we made the right choice - the mountain will be there tomorrow.