Fresh brewed coffee in hand, I sat on the deck at Cloup Cap – the morning light illuminating Mt. Hood. Taking in the glow of the mountain, I slipped into my ski boots for the first time in almost two months this weekend. The usual razzing about why my pack was so small, and whether I needed help getting my boots on filled the air. Playing off the sarcasm, I pointed out my favorite credo, "Pack light, mooch heavy," and then asked if anyone had room to carry my jacket.
Tempted by the robust summer snowpack, I motivated a couple of Hood River pals for a mid-summer ski up on Mt. Hood over the weekend. The mountain bike and the family have been keepin’ my mind off of skiing the past couple of months, but with summer temps finally here, our still relatively good snowpack is disappearing quickly. It seemed like the time get out, while the gettin’ was still relatively good.
We stepped off the deck at a civilized half past six and began our hike up the East Moraine. There are a few lingering snow patches around 6,000 feet, but the snow has receeded to the upper mountain for the summer. Aside from firm conditions at the toe of the Eliot Glacier, the snow was already soft as we booted up along the Cleaver to the base of the Snow Dome.
We topped out at about 10am with snow consistency pretty damn good, but looking at more runnels and sun cups than I might have guessed. There are also more crevasses than I recall down where the Dome merges onto the Eliot. Still, it was very skiable and very fun to be ripping turns down the hill on July 30. If you are keen to get out, I recommend you get soon….
Here’s a few photos of skiing the Snow Dome.