Illumination Rock is located just above timberline lodge ski area on Mt. Hood. In winter, the routes are mixed rock and ice climbing. The route we climbed was 4 pitches of M4 – AI4. The protection was mostly rock in splitter cracks. For April, the climbs seemed quite winter-esque making the placement of gear even more fun than usual. Moving among sugar gargoyles put me in a total dream-like head space.
I had only seen fluffy mushrooms of ice in magazines, so it was great to touch them. Stoke seemed to be running through my veins….
Below is a topo of the rock with routes:
The East Face of Mt. Hood, just above the Meadows Ski Area, is becoming well known in certain climbing circles. It’s no secret that climbers have been flocking to this beautiful Volcano for a century to climb the more standard routes. However, the East face, or “Black Spider”, has seen considerable attention from the alpine ice climbing world in the last few years. Two first ascents were done in the winter of 2010. One of which was the “Center Drip” WI3, III, 1000′ by myself and partner Wayne Wallace. And the second was the “Frick-Amos” AI4, by Bill Amos and Dustin Fric.
Our new route ascends the rock wall directly on beautiful moderate alpine water ice. It had taken my partner 23 years to climb the line, it was a pleasure to accompany Wayne on this classic ice route. We were stoked after seeing a picture of the wall in ill-sick-nasty condition in a CC.com post. After the quick scenic drive from Pullman we parked the Prius and packed our sacks. We walked past the Meadows Ski Resort, chair lift, and right up towards the wall. On the way up, the ski patrol (or “red coats” as I call them) were very adamant that we needed to exit the resort terrain, which we assured them would happen once we got high enough. They finally let it be, and we set up a camp in time to watch the sun slip behind the Planet. It all went really smoothly the next day. Perfect weather and an early start are all an alpine climber needs, right? We stumbled onto the summit by around 10am to the surprise of some really awesome Oregonian south side climbers. Where the hell did you come from? they asked. I pointed my pelvis to the east and told them, “the fucking black spider!”
The wall produces climbs nearly every year, and I do feel that one day it will be considered “classy” for its aesthetic alpine ice climbs. It should go without saying that this hunk of ice and rock would be crossed and circled with climbing routes if it were located in reach of European ice tools….but its not, so lets keep going up there and climb some mixed routes!
You can see the climbing Video by clicking here
The alpinist.com article here
The Oregon Public Broadcasting documentary on” Climbing Mt. Hood” by clicking here
Here is a topo of the wall:
COLONIAL PEAK – NEW ROUTE 2010
On a perfect weekend in February 2010, I met up with Geoff Cecil and climbed a new route on the North Face of colonial Peak in the Cascades of Washington State. We felt lucky to have climbed in such perfect weather in the middle of Winter. The temperature at night was right around freezing making for a pleasant night on the face. I wrapped myself in a tarp on the ledge we stomped out, humming with delight.
This climb is a good alternative to the more sustained Watusi-Rodeo Route. Below are some links to more information on the climb. Get Stoked for Winter in the Cascades!
North West Alpine Journal Report Here
Geoffs Report Here
Short Video Here