After some internet pursuing, I finally decided to head out to Frenchman’s Coulee or Vantage to do some rock climbing. Fellow AAI guide Chad Chochran and friend Boe Trosset were willing partners. We departed Bellingham late morning on Friday and started the drive.
After driving south on I-5 for about an hour, chatting, and abusing iPhone internet, we slowly came to the realization that alpine climbing could be very good with the previously dismal forecast. The rain that had previously been the bane of my existence was going to be followed by rapidly lowering freezing levels on Sunday and then sun on Monday.
Kicking ourselves for not realizing this earlier, we pulled over, grabbed some coffee, and debated alpine objectives. Settling on the north face of Mt. Hood, we headed back to Bellingham to grab our alpine ice gear.
The plan was to rock climb Saturday and Sunday, then head to Hood for the high pressure on Monday. We arrived at Vantage Saturday morning to find good weather and lots of people.
|Prepping in Targets parking lot. Photo: Boe Trosset|
|Hard to beat the views on the north side of Hood Photo: Boe Tosset|
|Our route is the righthand gully.|
|Low on the route, below the first ice step.|
|Approaching the second ice step. Lots of calf burning 50 degree snow/ice.|
|Chad on the second ice step. Photo: Boe Trosset|
|High on the route|
|Mandatory summit shot. Chad, on right, looking like an alpine gangster.|
|While it appeared short and easy, the descent was longer and steeper than anticipated.|
--Dustin Byrne, Instructor and Guide