Mt Hood: Snowdome

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Mt Hood: Snowdome

Post by Chip Down » October 4th, 2018, 7:48 pm

Between Eliot Glacier and Coe Glacier is Snowdome (SnowDome, Snow Dome, Snow-Dome, I've seen it all). I wanted to ascend a striking rib that separates Eliot from Snowdome, then continue west to the edge of Coe, down to Mooney Tarn (aka Recession Lakes).

The Eliot crossing had a special bonus waiting for me: everything in the spay zone was iced over. I was able to find a narrow/deep/fast spot where the entire flow could be jumped on a single leap.

Worked my way up between Eliot's west moraine and Langille Crags, in beautiful but overly-familiar terrain. Finally, at the bottom of my rib, at 8100', I was in new territory. Dilemma: don crampons and walk quickly up snow to the side, or suffer up the rib, some of which was glacier polished. I decided on the slower rocky option, figuring I'd get better views a few feet higher.

The top of the rib came soon enough, about 800' higher. I crossed a bit of snow to one last rocky spot, where I turned back (about 9000').

To get over to Coe Glacier, I had to drop down almost to the top of Langille Crags in order to avoid Snowdome crevasses. I discovered more complexity than anticipated to the west of Langille. There was so much to explore, I didn't even know where to start. I decided to visit a mini-tarn, then drop the pack and explore a bit, hitting a variety of viewpoints.

Dropping to Mooney/recession was my last challenge. I was committed: If I failed and had to ascend back over Langille, it would have been brutal. But it went even better than expected, as I was able to link a series of snowfields, then an easy ridge, and finally just a little bit of unpleasant rubble to the final snowfield above Mooney Tarn, and then an easy hike down to the Timberline Trail (took a different variant this time, worked great).

The first time all day that I saw free-running water with no ice was when I crossed Eliot Creek on the trail, late afternoon

Didn't see another mammal all day.

Delighted with my decision to bring crampons. Lots of that dreaded new-over-old snow, places where water had run over snow and froze, even the best spots would have been tough to kick steps into.

I've been told Snowdome isn't a glacier. The features that look like crevasses are actually just cracks that have opened as the permasnow creeps down the mountain. Tomayto, tomahto.
Attachments
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Eliot Glacier is often viewed from Cooper Spur. Here's what it looks like on the other side.
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At the base of the spine, last place to rest in a windbreak before starting up.
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Same spot, looking up my route.
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That's as high as I got.
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Skirting crevasses on Snowdome on my way to Coe.
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This viewpoint exceeded my expectations. Coe Glacier. From a great distance (way over by Eliot) I head what sounded like rockfall, but it was too muffled, and I realized it could only be the Coe icefall. Wish I'd seen it.
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Barrett Spur and the Coe Glacier.
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Looking down on Mooney.
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Notice the fringe of ice on Mooney.
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My brother dipped this in the water at Pacific City and then gave it to me so I could haul it up a mountain.

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mjirving
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Joined: July 5th, 2011, 10:40 am

Re: Mt Hood: Snowdome

Post by mjirving » October 5th, 2018, 5:09 am

Nice work. Very cool. I hope to have my Mt Hood High Route post up today or tomorrow. I went through this same area...fun to compare notes.

Mike

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retired jerry
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Mt Hood: Snowdome

Post by retired jerry » October 5th, 2018, 5:17 am

that's what I was thinking about mjis high route :)

pcg
Posts: 268
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 7:46 pm
Location: Chehalem Mountain

Re: Mt Hood: Snowdome

Post by pcg » October 5th, 2018, 9:57 am

I’ve done “the high route” in pieces. Now (October or later) is the time to do this if you are solo - when everything is frozen, no snow bridges of new snow, and crevasses are open and obvious. Have your self-arrest down because some of it is steep. Oh yes, no people as well.:)

On getting from Elliot to Coe, I’ve never found the crevasses on Snowdome to be a problem (nothing like the Elliot), but you do need to drop down to avoid rock and icefall on the Coe.
Last edited by pcg on October 5th, 2018, 10:31 am, edited 4 times in total.

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BurnsideBob
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Joined: May 6th, 2014, 3:15 pm
Location: Mount Angel, Oregon

Re: Mt Hood: Snowdome

Post by BurnsideBob » October 5th, 2018, 10:05 am

Thanks for sharing a truly outstanding adventure.

Kudos to you.
I keep making protein shakes but they always turn out like margaritas.

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mountainkat
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Joined: March 4th, 2015, 6:12 pm

Re: Mt Hood: Snowdome

Post by mountainkat » October 5th, 2018, 1:13 pm

Very cool. I've only seen ski reports on this. That view in the first photo is awesome. I enjoy reading your posts, thanks!

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