The snow pack in the Northwest has held strong through the summer. Adventure seekers Byron Bagwell, David Ghan, Justin Kious and Robbi Hutton hit the road to test the snow conditions at Mt Adams and Mt Hood last week.
Mt Adams is a 12,000 ft volcano in the south central region of Washington State. The route to the top is pretty straight forward, which makes Adams one of the easier ways to shred 4,000 feet in late August under your own power. The trail head is about an hour and a half from Hood River, so stock up before you head into the yeti zone. Our method of accommodation was taking advantage of one of the many poach camp spots along the access road. Isolation makes for some epic star sleeping.
Wake up, make some coffee, hit the pooper and start the walk. Being this late in the year we questioned taking the split boards versus the regular setups. We were able to skin for about 1,500 feet, so it was worth packing the added weight. The route is a no brainer–you can see the summit most of the way up. Five hours of cruising to the top under heavy August sun. The summit of Adams supplied some great views of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, Mt St Helens, and even Mt Baker way up north.
When it was time to shred, we chose a line called the 333 chutes, which is a solid 40-degree pitch for about 3,000 feet, with another 1,000 feet of mellow cruising to the dirt line. The top 500 feet was sun cupped to death, the other 3,500 was manageable corn snow. Late season runnels supplied a bit of jib terrain and all and all, the decent was quite gratifying for late summer snowboarding. Good shreds, no audience except a sleepy mountain goat at the bottom of the line.
The next day was set for some Mt hood action as Timberline is still running their lifts. The pipe is still cut and the jumps still have shape. There is even a jib or two mixed in along the way. This time of year is my favorite to ride Hood: no crowds, no camps, just slush. It was nice to get on a lift after self ascent the day before–two different approaches to snowboarding, both a good time.
The summer of 2011 was a solid one to stay around Washington and Oregon and take advantage of last winter’s snow pack. It seems the base is already here and waiting for mid to late October La Nina goodness…