Climbing Season Overlap for Hood and Rainier?

Climbing Season Overlap for Hood and Rainier?

Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

September 19th, 2007, 9:58 pm #1

I've started thinking about a climbing trip for next summer. On top of my to-do list are Hood (OR) and Rainier (WA). From what I've heard, Hood is best done earlier in the season when the snowpack is still good across the bergschrund and there aren't as many exposed and loose rocks. For Rainier, on the other hand, somewhat later is better, letting the snow consolidate and be easier to climb.

Big question is, how much (if any) overlap is there between the optimal climbing season on Hood and Rainier? I have about a 3-week window next spring/summer when I could conceivably take as much as two weeks to bag the pair of peaks. That is, Memorial Day week in late May and the first two weeks of June.

Would anyone care to chime in on the advisability of planning such a trip to try the two Pacific Northwest highpoints? The plan would be to do Hood first, then Rainier. I have friends in the Seattle area, so if I had to find a place to crash for a few days between Hood and Rainier, that could be arranged, but the limiting factor will be the ability to take a couple of weeks off right around there and before some of the other commitments I already have for the summer. (I will plan on group climbs of both peaks unless I can tag along with a small and experienced crew for Hood. My climbing C.V. can be reviewed on my WWW site under the "Mt. Ritter" and "highpointing" pulldowns.)

Any thoughts, comments, etc.?

Thanks!
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 6:42 pm

September 20th, 2007, 9:28 pm #2

I've only climbed each peak once, so I'm by no means an expert. That said, I summitted Mount Rainier on July 10, 1999, and summitted Mount Hood two days later. At that time, there was plenty of snow on Mount Rainier and the bergschrund had opened up, but was still passable on Mount Hood.

I attempted Mount Rainier in April 1992, but heavy snowfall turned me back.
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Joined: March 31st, 2004, 3:19 pm

September 21st, 2007, 2:20 pm #3

I've started thinking about a climbing trip for next summer. On top of my to-do list are Hood (OR) and Rainier (WA). From what I've heard, Hood is best done earlier in the season when the snowpack is still good across the bergschrund and there aren't as many exposed and loose rocks. For Rainier, on the other hand, somewhat later is better, letting the snow consolidate and be easier to climb.

Big question is, how much (if any) overlap is there between the optimal climbing season on Hood and Rainier? I have about a 3-week window next spring/summer when I could conceivably take as much as two weeks to bag the pair of peaks. That is, Memorial Day week in late May and the first two weeks of June.

Would anyone care to chime in on the advisability of planning such a trip to try the two Pacific Northwest highpoints? The plan would be to do Hood first, then Rainier. I have friends in the Seattle area, so if I had to find a place to crash for a few days between Hood and Rainier, that could be arranged, but the limiting factor will be the ability to take a couple of weeks off right around there and before some of the other commitments I already have for the summer. (I will plan on group climbs of both peaks unless I can tag along with a small and experienced crew for Hood. My climbing C.V. can be reviewed on my WWW site under the "Mt. Ritter" and "highpointing" pulldowns.)

Any thoughts, comments, etc.?

Thanks!
I too have only climbed each peak once, and, being from the south, am not an expert in the topic. I'll relay my experience. I summitted Hood on May 12, 2001. It was the first "official" weekend of climbing the mountain during the "season". We had no problems with weather or the bergstrund that particular weekend. I summitted Rainier on June 12, 2003. We were one of the last teams, if not the last team up the Ingraham Direct route that spring. Earlier in the week there was an accident on the route with an ice fall and RMI laid in the Disappointment Cleaver route while we were on the mountain. The day we summitted weather was moving in with whiteout conditions the next day. As I understand it chances of success on Rainier go up as the summer progresses due to better weather. Conditions on both mountains were excellent during my climbs. Climbing both during late May/early June should be quite doable, depending on weather.

Good luck!

Bill
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Joined: October 22nd, 2004, 3:52 am

September 21st, 2007, 5:29 pm #4

Conditions for both should generally be OK for both in your timeframe, weather is the biggest variable in spring. Living in Portland, I have the impression that May is often nicer, with rainier periods coming back in June, before finally clearing for summer (hopefully). However, weather is always a bit of a ? and it sounds like you are planning on having some extra days for this. I'd strongly suggest a weekday climb of Hood as it can get pretty crowded on weekends in the spring.
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Joined: June 19th, 2005, 5:47 am

September 23rd, 2007, 5:34 pm #5

I've started thinking about a climbing trip for next summer. On top of my to-do list are Hood (OR) and Rainier (WA). From what I've heard, Hood is best done earlier in the season when the snowpack is still good across the bergschrund and there aren't as many exposed and loose rocks. For Rainier, on the other hand, somewhat later is better, letting the snow consolidate and be easier to climb.

Big question is, how much (if any) overlap is there between the optimal climbing season on Hood and Rainier? I have about a 3-week window next spring/summer when I could conceivably take as much as two weeks to bag the pair of peaks. That is, Memorial Day week in late May and the first two weeks of June.

Would anyone care to chime in on the advisability of planning such a trip to try the two Pacific Northwest highpoints? The plan would be to do Hood first, then Rainier. I have friends in the Seattle area, so if I had to find a place to crash for a few days between Hood and Rainier, that could be arranged, but the limiting factor will be the ability to take a couple of weeks off right around there and before some of the other commitments I already have for the summer. (I will plan on group climbs of both peaks unless I can tag along with a small and experienced crew for Hood. My climbing C.V. can be reviewed on my WWW site under the "Mt. Ritter" and "highpointing" pulldowns.)

Any thoughts, comments, etc.?

Thanks!
I do live in the Northwest, and what you learn is to be flexible. The weather will be the deciding factor, and it can swing either way over the course of a week. The route conditions will be fine for both peaks, barring any exceptional winter snowfall. My recommendation is to plan as long of a visit to Seattle as possible, and then play it by ear once you're here. With a 7-10 day window, you should get acceptable conditions on both mountains, you just can't predict where or when.

Let me know when you're coming, I may join you on one or both of these.
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:11 pm

September 24th, 2007, 6:13 am #6

I've started thinking about a climbing trip for next summer. On top of my to-do list are Hood (OR) and Rainier (WA). From what I've heard, Hood is best done earlier in the season when the snowpack is still good across the bergschrund and there aren't as many exposed and loose rocks. For Rainier, on the other hand, somewhat later is better, letting the snow consolidate and be easier to climb.

Big question is, how much (if any) overlap is there between the optimal climbing season on Hood and Rainier? I have about a 3-week window next spring/summer when I could conceivably take as much as two weeks to bag the pair of peaks. That is, Memorial Day week in late May and the first two weeks of June.

Would anyone care to chime in on the advisability of planning such a trip to try the two Pacific Northwest highpoints? The plan would be to do Hood first, then Rainier. I have friends in the Seattle area, so if I had to find a place to crash for a few days between Hood and Rainier, that could be arranged, but the limiting factor will be the ability to take a couple of weeks off right around there and before some of the other commitments I already have for the summer. (I will plan on group climbs of both peaks unless I can tag along with a small and experienced crew for Hood. My climbing C.V. can be reviewed on my WWW site under the "Mt. Ritter" and "highpointing" pulldowns.)

Any thoughts, comments, etc.?

Thanks!
Hi, Alan,

Great pleasure to meet you in Missouri. If you are doing Rainier next year, I'd also love to join you and Will M. [we hosts have to stick together!], and a return to Hood would be great, also. Could be a GREAT adventure. let me know! Thanks. See ya! JES
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:07 pm

September 25th, 2007, 9:47 pm #7

Both of what used to be standard routes on these mountains are becoming not so standard as the glaciers melt year to year. This doesn't change the advice already given, but as all of us highpointers refer to information and trip reports from 2-10 years ago, it bears consideration that on Hood, the bergschrund might not be the crux anymore, and on Rainier, Disappointment Cleaver might not be the easiest or shortest route anymore.

For Hood, most parties in '07 seemed to be taking the Old Crater Variation. This goes around the bergschrund entirely, so the angle of the slope and the ridge walk become the more important issues. Perhaps, given a midnight no-rockfall starting time, later in the season isn't so bad for this route? The ridge is easier in July. Weather is better in July. Just a thought to bounce off of the experts. I did the OC variation in mid July of '04, and it was pretty easy.

For Rainier, the DC route got messy and turned into a VERY long detour in '07. I know less here about the other route possibilities, but again it's possible that if a different route becomes the easiest, a different time frame will be optimal.

Other good forums for these mountains are cascadeclimbers.org and summitpost.org
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