Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

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Chip Down
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Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by Chip Down » August 2nd, 2017, 7:49 pm

Another hot windless day, so back into the snow zone. This time my destination was Dryer Glacier, just east of Pittock Glacier which I reported on last week, at the edge of the White River drainage. Interesting to note that although Dryer does drain into White River, and presumably used to merge with White River Glacier down low, it's presently much closer to Newton-Clark, and must have been contiguous with it not terribly long ago.

So down I went into the White River Canyon again, up to the point where Pittock and Dryer merge, but this time I took the Dryer fork. This was new terrain for me, I think, unless I was in here many years ago and don't remember it. Either way, it was all fresh and exciting. Nice scenery and pleasant easy travel for a while, mostly on snow. Around 7000' I stood at the base of a fin, where the bulk of Dryer is to the right but a lobe cuts up to the left. I figured they met here, and it was good to see confirmation. I started up the left lobe, surprised at how broad it was down here.

Popped over left to the divide between this Dryer lobe and Pittock, to check out a cliffy spot that reminds me of Mississippi Head. From there I decided to continue up this divide, because it was so broad and easy to walk on. In fact, with a bit of caution I was actually able to mostly enjoy the scenery as I ascended, the way you can on a nice even snowfield. When it got pinched down to a narrow blocky spot, I dropped back into the Dryer lobe, which was now a slender ribbon, exactly as it appears from most vantage points.

Ascending snow again, I was disappointed when I reached a short melted out spot, and I chuckled at my disappointment. It occurred to me that I wasn't a neutral observer/explorer, but instead had been rooting for this lobe to be continuous to its end. Was soon back on snow, and continued to the top. Above and a little to the west of the top of this lobe, I revisited a shallow basin with a concealed snowfield not visible from Meadows. Charming campsite, with sandy soil and outstanding views and a bit of natural wind protection.

Maybe the smart thing to do would be to pop over to the top of Dryer main and descend it, but I thought it would be more fun to do it from the bottom, so I dropped down the lobe I had just ascended, explored the fin which I mentioned above, and then started up Dryer.

It was boring. And getting warm. Not particularly recommended unless you're pathologically curious or obsessed (like me). One thing that kept it interesting was the swarms of butterflies. I've never seen so many, and I watched their elaborate flight paths as I ascended. Never saw any sign that this is an active glacier. And the stream below is clear, not milky.

I reached the top of Dryer at 3:30, and with hours of spare time I decided to drop into Super Bowl to visit the waterfall on Newton-Clark Prow, and then the prominent ridge that divides Clark Canyon and Heather Canyon. Although everything went very well and I encountered no significant difficulties on the descent, it took me five hours, testament to the fun opportunities to dawdle and explore along the way.

The astute observer will notice lighting variations that suggest my pics weren't all taken on the same day. Some pics of the area around the tops of Pittock and Dryer are leftovers from the previous week. If you see a cloud, it's from the Pittock trip. The Dryer day was completely cloud free. (Boooo!)
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I'd been wanting to get to this viewpoint for quite some time, but I always overshot it and ended up too high when I hit the White River Canyon rim. The view was much better than expected, straight up the eastern part of the canyon. That obvious creek was my ascent route; eventually it splits, left to Pittock and right to Dryer.
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The fin, where the Dryer lobe goes up to the left, steep and broad at first, later a thin ribbon of snow.
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Just a little above the prow that reminded me of Mississippi Head. Pittock left, Dryer lobe right.
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Looking down Dryer lobe.
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Foreground: Top of the Dryer lobe (ends just a few feet to the left)
Background: Dryer main (continues quite a bit higher)
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The bonus snowfield above the lobe, with a bit of snowmelt desperately trying to form a creek, but getting swallowed by the sand.
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Looking down the lobe, with the fin down to the left.
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Broad ramp to the end of the fin. I wasn't expecting this to be so easy.
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A fellow glaciologist.
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Nearing the top of Dryer main. See the butterfly on the right?
Last edited by Chip Down on August 2nd, 2017, 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Chip Down
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Re: Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by Chip Down » August 2nd, 2017, 8:15 pm

more pics
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My favorite part of Dryer. After an hour of a boring hot slog up a featureless snowfield, in a gully that blocked views, I came to a spot where the rock and snow intermingled in neat interesting ways. And I was having fun again.
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I'm a sucker for pics where the sun is just barely hitting the tip of something.
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I wanted to play around on this, but didn't like the looks of where I'd land if I were to fall.
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Looking up at the top of Dryer.
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The waterfalls of the Newton-Clark prow. It was especially interesting to visit the lower falls, having ascended them one spring day when they were just about to melt out (terrifying).
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Looking back at N-C Prow. Notice the steep narrow band of snow that one can follow from Clark Canyon up to the high end of the N-C moraine, and then up behind the prow.
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Approaching my next destination, the Rocky Knoll of Heather Canyon. I went up through the snow alley to the right, and dropped down the gully behind the Rocky Knoll.
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The Rocky Knoll of Heather Canyon, with sandy soil and a concealed snowpatch in a depression, and glacier-polished rock. One of my favorite little secret spots on Hood. And it doesn't even matter that I'm letting the cat out of the bag, because almost nobody reading this will be willing/able to go there.
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To get out of Heather Canyon, I had to drop down the snowfield (much easier than last time, a few years ago on a very icy day), then hang a right and ascend. At the low point were creeks and nice flat grassy spots, quite scenic.
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Ascending left, in the sun, would be a gentler slope, but rockfall was substantial. I stayed just a little into the shaded zone, where it was steeper, but cooler and safer.
Last edited by Chip Down on August 2nd, 2017, 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Chip Down
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Re: Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by Chip Down » August 2nd, 2017, 8:18 pm

Towards the end of the day I was in too much of a hurry for good pics (as so often happens). But there's almost always enough time for a reward beer.
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mjirving
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Re: Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by mjirving » August 4th, 2017, 5:09 am

Nice! I was in that area a few weeks ago. I think I exited Heather where you did, going up the left side of the ski run "A-Zone" which then contours over to the top of the Cascade chair. Is that where you went? It was a little tricky and I'm not sure it would be possible without the snow there. But I don't think there is an easier way out of Heather Canyon without dropping all the way back down to the big waterfall down by 1/2 Moon Bowl / Jacks Woods area. Do you agree? Thanks for the interesting report.

Mike (aka GoalTech)

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Chip Down
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Re: Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by Chip Down » August 4th, 2017, 6:42 pm

Hi Mike, thanks for the feedback.
I'm not familiar with the ski runs, but after looking at google map/photos, I'd say yes, it must have been A-Zone where I exited. I agree it would be ugly without snow.

No, I don't think the next opportunity to climb out of Heather would be all the way down at the half-moon waterfall. I've dropped into Heather at a number of places along the rim, and although it's generally loose and unpleasant, it's manageable. Predicting what an ascent would be like, I'd say it's doable in a few places.

edit: I just noticed you weren't asking what could be done, you were asking what was best. Yes, this was at least my second time doing this, and I have no regrets. That snow ascent was almost certainly more pleasant and safer than the dry crumbly canyon slope down below.

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mjirving
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Re: Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by mjirving » August 4th, 2017, 6:56 pm

Indeed! It wasn't bad on the snow, but I imagine that's all gone now with the heat or close to it. Doesn't look like there is non-sketchy access out above there either was my assessment??

Where are you getting this glacier name? Is it one that isn't on the main maps? A subset of one of the larger ones?

These off-trail reports are quite interesting.

Mike

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Chip Down
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Re: Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by Chip Down » August 4th, 2017, 7:08 pm

mjirving wrote:Indeed! It wasn't bad on the snow, but I imagine that's all gone now with the heat or close to it. Doesn't look like there is non-sketchy access out above there either was my assessment??
With another hot weekend looming, I'm going back again for some exploring around Newton-Clark, maybe up to Steel Cliff, possibly even summit via Wy'East, although I doubt it will be in condition for climbing. Will be interesting to see how the snow looks. I've seen tremendous snowmelt in a single week before, so I'm bracing myself to be upset at some of my favorite spots being dry. Will report back. I would agree that the cliffs just above A-Zone would be sketchy, but I'd love to try it with a few feet of good solid snowpack. A little higher and it gets really easy, kind of into the edge of Super-Bowl.
Where are you getting this glacier name? Is it one that isn't on the main maps? A subset of one of the larger ones?
Tom/Splintercat proposed Dryer and Pittock on a Wy'East Blog entry. They're not generally recognized, but I'm not aware that anybody else has suggested names, so I'm going with Tom's suggestions.

recommended reading: https://wyeastblog.org/tag/henry-pittock/

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Re: Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by Splintercat » August 4th, 2017, 7:13 pm

Thanks, Chip - enjoyed this one, too!

Tom :)

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Re: Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by Splintercat » August 4th, 2017, 7:21 pm

...BTW, I'm going to challenge Viking (on that old thread you pointed back to) on what constitutes a "glacier". First of all, a "snowfield" is something completely different than anything you'd find on Mount Hood. It's also not a recognized name for anything on Mount Hood, and especially for the Palmer Glacier, which (IMHO), the Timberline resort likes to call a "snowfield" as a way to avoid criticism for pouring a few tons of salt on this glacier every summer to soften it for skiers/boarders... which, in turn, flows into the pristine Salmon River. So, names do matter!

Viking argued that a glacier (in this case, alpine glacier, just to be specific) needs to have all aspects of a typical glacier in order to qualify. But any permanent body of ice that moves under its own weight, no matter how tiny, is a glacier. So, thus my theory that stranded arms like Pittock and Dryer are actually glaciers in their own right. For example, at one time the Reid and Sandy glaciers joined and flowed all the way down to a confluence with the Zigzag glacier where today's Zigzag Ranger station is located... so, in that sense, all three glaciers by those names are remnants of a former parent glacier that terminated somewhere near the Ivy Bear. :D

Tom

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Chip Down
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Re: Dryer "Glacier" (Mt Hood)

Post by Chip Down » August 4th, 2017, 7:43 pm

Glad you found these, Tom. Thanks for the inspiration.

I work with a guy who insists Timberline does not salt Palmer. I won't say any more because he's generally a decent fellow, and I don't want to publicly ridicule him.

I agree that if snow turns to ice and creeps downhill, it's a glacier. I think it's weird some of the restrictions people put on what qualifies as a glacier.

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