Illumination Saddle, 10/25/13

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adamschneider
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Illumination Saddle, 10/25/13

Post by adamschneider » October 25th, 2013, 10:11 pm

Another Trip Report Lite, because I'm feeling lazy and tired...

A friend and I hiked from Timberline Lodge up to "Illumination Saddle" today — the relatively low spot between Illumination Rock and the summit of Mt. Hood, at about 9300' above sea level. Well, it should be called "Illumination Scary-Ass Crumbly Knife-Edge Ridge"! :shock:

Usually when I hear about a really narrow ridge, I get there and think "oh, this isn't so bad." But this thing was about 6 inches wide, and made of absolutely horrible crumbly rock and plain old sand. (The Sketch Factor was exacerbated by the fact that a fall to the north onto Reid Glacier would be very bad news and maybe even fatal.)

Now, I admit it's possible that the true low spot in the saddle is less terrifying; we aimed to the left, a little closer to Illumination Rock, where there was a steep finger of snow that went all the way to the crest of the ridge. The lower part of the saddle was guarded by a bowl that looked like it got pretty steep (and rocky rather than snowy) as it approached the ridge, and that looked like its own kind of unpleasant.



Anyway, the stats: just over 3 miles each way, about 3500' of elevation gain. The trip up took more than three hours, and the trip down less than half of that. It was perfectly sunny, with temperatures in the 40s and 50s and minimal wind. The snow got a bit soft in the afternoon. Gaiters and poles (and sunscreen and sunglasses) were a must, and YakTrax were helpful on the ascent.

And now for a few photos before I fall asleep...
above the lodge.jpg
On our way up the snowboard runs
Illumination Rock and the summit.jpg
It's a little maddening to be able to see your goal the entire time. On the other hand, it sure makes navigation easy.
Illumination Rock.jpg
Getting closer... on the far right of this photo, you can see the steep little snow ramp that took us up to the saddle/ridge.
knife-edge ridge.jpg
Illumination Rock from the east. Don't slip.
Reid Glacier.jpg
Check out those crevasses. Mt. St. Helens is on the horizon.
saddle bowl.jpg
The bowl on the south side of the "true" saddle.
Crater Rock.jpg
Crater Rock was nicely frosted.
glacier glasses.jpg
I finally got a chance to wear my super-dorky retro glacier glasses! (They're the kind with leather pieces on the sides.)
Sara.jpg
Down is SO much more fun than up.
pussypaws.jpg
Last wildflower standing! (Or, in this case, since it's Mt. Hood pussypaws, last wildflower laying down?)
map.jpg
These tracks are colorized by speed (red/yellow = slow, blue/purple = fast); it should be obvious which one was up and which was down!
Last edited by adamschneider on September 1st, 2020, 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Guy
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Re: Illumination Saddle, 10/25/13

Post by Guy » October 26th, 2013, 5:30 am

I did this last year for the first time, I think the view from the saddle down over the Ried Glacier & Yocum is one of the best on Hood. Makes you feel very small when you are standing there!
hiking log & photos.
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Splintercat
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Re: Illumination Saddle, 10/25/13

Post by Splintercat » October 26th, 2013, 10:02 am

Cool! Still on my to-do list, Adam -- and exactly the kind of day (clear/autumn) when I hope to go. Did you need traction of any kind?

Tom :)

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romann
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Re: Illumination Saddle, 10/25/13

Post by romann » October 26th, 2013, 10:02 am

Nice photos and TR. Did it once in the beginning of winter (Dec. or Jan.) and that ridge on the saddle was made about 3 feet wide by snow drift... was not bad at all. The last 200 yards on approach to Illumination Saddle, OTOH, had nasty rock and ice fall the entire time (kind of bowling alley of sorts).

On your photo of Illumination Rock - are these climbers' tracks on snow to the right of the rock? When I was there, a pair of climbers came up from Reid Glacier side, almost scared me as it seemed no human could get to/from there.

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retired jerry
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Re: Illumination Saddle, 10/25/13

Post by retired jerry » October 26th, 2013, 10:10 am

One year someone was missing up there. SAR gave up on search. A member made it personal mission to find the person and did frequent walks up Reid Glacier to Illumination Saddle looking for the person. I was up at 7400' on Yocum Ridge and saw the track he had worn. Looked like it would have been easy, but maybe walking on Reid Glacier might not be such a good idea.

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Re: Illumination Saddle, 10/25/13

Post by adamschneider » October 26th, 2013, 10:20 am

Splintercat wrote:Did you need traction of any kind?
I wore YakTrax on the last mile of the ascent, but they weren't "needed." They just helped keep me from backsliding a little bit on each step. Crampons would have been overkill.
romann wrote:The last 200 yards on approach to Illumination Saddle, OTOH, had nasty rock and ice fall the entire time (kind of bowling alley of sorts).
That bowl did have a lot of rockfall debris in it, but nothing that looked big enough to be dangerous, and you wouldn't be in there for long. I think it might be worth a try.
romann wrote:On your photo of Illumination Rock - are these climbers' tracks on snow to the right of the rock?
They were definitely human tracks, but I couldn't really see where they led to/from. Maybe someone just wanted to get a little closer to the rock itself? (Or, heaven forbid, climb that pile of crap?) Whoever it was, I hope they had an ice axe.

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Re: Illumination Saddle, 10/25/13

Post by K.Wagner » October 27th, 2013, 6:27 am

A long, long time ago, in another life, I climbed the west face of Hood. The route drops down onto the Reid glacier from the saddle. I know it was early spring, but I don't recall it being that scary at the time. The snow must really pile in there and ease the slope some.

There are actually 3 or 4 routes up that pile! (Likely only done 1 time!)
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