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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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.
Eliot Glacier is often viewed from Cooper Spur. Here's what it looks like on the other side.
At the base of the spine, last place to rest in a windbreak before starting up.
Same spot, looking up my route.
That's as high as I got.
Skirting crevasses on Snowdome on my way to Coe.
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.
Barrett Spur and the Coe Glacier.
Looking down on Mooney.
Notice the fringe of ice on Mooney.
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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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 to compare notes.


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retired jerry
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Re: Mt Hood: Snowdome

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

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

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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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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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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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