GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

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mjirving
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GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by mjirving » June 30th, 2019, 6:36 am

McGee to Cathedral Ridge
“Noa’s Camp” 


6/22/19
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Miles: 4.4
Time: 3 hrs, 0 min
Avg MPH: 1.5
Elev Min: 3,400’
Elev Max: 6,900’
Total Ascent: 3,380’
Total Descent: 40’
Elev Change: +3,500’
Steps: 13,500
Flights of Stairs: 280
Start Time: 3:40
Temp Low: 40
Temp High: 60
Other hikers: 58 (51 on Timberline Trail)
Male:Female hikers: 55%/45%
Longest time without seeing a hiker: 0:30
Wildlife: Birds
Verizon Cell Service: Weak above 4,800’/Timberline
Approach Road: Lolo Paved, side road high quality gravel 25-30mph, short approach road 5mph bumpy but not high clearance
Parking Permit Required: Don’t think so?
Parking Lot: ~10 cars on dirt
Bathrooms: No


McGee Trail * Mt Hood Views * McNeil Point * Cathedral Ridge * Ho Rock * Co Rock * Noa’s Camp


Opening Shot: My campsite that I've been wanting to camp at for years
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The mission today was to scout out a better high-route crossing that is more direct and doesn’t drop back down so much for my "Mt Hood High Route" I designed, and finally hiked last year.


I left home around 1pm, but had to stop by REI as I was interested in getting an Ursack bag and Opsack plastic liners as an alternative to step up my bear bag game. Typically I hang my food in a very light stuff sack. But on these high altitude hikes there are no trees. It’s not the bears I’m necessarily worried about...it’s the mice! They can be devilish. I was going to get the ~$80 one but was informed that it only protected against bears and not critters. So that stepped me up to the $135 one. Yikes...I wasn't planning to spend THAT much. Oh well...might as well bite the bullet and get the best. I also got a pack of 2 Opsacks which are basically big Ziplocs that are 6 mil thick in the walls. That keeps the critters from smelling the food, and the Ursack bag keeps them from getting it. Here is the Loksak-Opsak on the left, and the Ursak-Almity on the right.
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Off on my way, I put Top Spur trailhead into Waze and I was on the road. I turned left in Zigzag to head north on Lolo Pass Road. The turn I normally take zipped by and I missed it, but Waze had me continuing on Lolo Pass Road anyway. I knew there was a back way to Top Spur, so I figured this was it. Lolo Pass Road was in fantastic condition and I was making good time. I tuned right onto an excellent condition gravel road at the PCT junction and continued around the mountain. Then Waze said I had “arrived”, but I hadn’t. I looked closer at my maps and realized that while Top Spur was pretty close...there was no road to get there. Will I ever learn to not trust GPS in the back country!?


Fortunately, it was serendipitous. I was very close to the McGee Creek Trailhead That I’ve never been to before. I also discovered that it was close to the same hiking distance. So it turned out to be a happy accident. Top Spur is usually very crowded. Normally I hike early so it’s not an issue, but today, in the afternoon, I was a bit worried about getting a spot. I had no idea the size of McGee, so I didn’t know what to expect. I pulled onto the kinda rough (but very short) approach road to the trailhead and was surprised to see only 3 other cars there! I pulled in to make 4...this keeps getting better with my mistake! 
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Here are the times and distances on the road (for reference):
Hwy 26 to Ramona Turn-off (I didn't turn): 4.2miles, 6min
Ramona Turn-off to PCT/Lolo Pass: 6.3miles, 12min
PCT/Lolo right turn down gravel road to McGee junction: 1.2miles, 3min
McGee junction to McGee trailhead: 0.3miles, 1min

TOTAL from hwy: 12.0miles, 22min


I quickly prepped for my hike and was on the trail at 3:40pm. The McGee trail is nothing to write home about. It’s a pretty non-descript trail through the trees up to Timberline Trail. You miss the great views from Bald Peak that Top Spur provides, but I’ve been there multiple times, so this was nice to do something new. I only saw two hikers on the 1.6 mile trail up to the Timberline. 


I saw Columbia Windflower on the way,
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and Rhododendron.
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Boy did that change when I got to Timberline! I saw 8 people just at the junction before I even set off up the trail! This is looking down McGee from the junction.
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I spent an hour on the trail and saw 51 people! In the other two hours of hiking I only saw 7! There were a lot of people going up to see the great views of the Sandy Glacier side of the mountain. 
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Avalanche Lily was prominent. 
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On a side note, I got my birthday present from my parents at the Columbia Employee Store yesterday. So I’m rolling in some new Mountain Hardwear pants that are kind of a burnt orange. I like them as they have 15% elastane in them so they are stretchy when crouching down or making reaching moves. I’m also rocking a new Mountain Hardwear long-sleeve shirt that is a little lighter than my last one and has a cool rock-print on it. It is light grey. It’s not quite as functional as my other white one in the heat but it will be close and this will not be a hot hike! Lastly, I have new Mountain Hardwear rain pants. My old pair had torn in the moisture barrier liner so the waterproof qualities are a little lacking. Anyway...I was hiking up the main trail and a guy coming down says, “I love your pants! Orange is one of my favorite colors.” That was kinda cool...maybe I’m just a tiny bit more stylin’ now! (...maybe)


The first viewpoint was a stunner. My camp will be right where the mountain intersects with the ridge on the left side. 
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Bear Grass was plentiful. 
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I could also see seasonal waterfalls cascading off the cliffs over by Yocum Ridge. 
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One of my favorites, the Western Pasqueflower was just blooming. 
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Continuing on, I ran into my friendliest hikers of the day. They must have seen my ice axe as they asked me where I was going. I told them, and then they explained their off-trail route. Lo and behold, they did exactly what I wanted to do! They explained their route and I took good mental notes. We wished each other well and I move on up to the Climber’s Route up to McNeal Point. The snow had started just below there at 5,200’. 


I was kind of looking forward to making the turn as it was so crowded with hikers today. The snow was just starting to be on the trail as I made the turn. It took about a 1/2 hour to make it up the quite steep quarter- to half-mile route up 700 vertical feet to McNeil Point and its shelter, one of the last 3 shelters still standing on Mt Hood. (Cairn Basin and Cooper Sour being the others). This shelter is at 6,000’ which is exactly the same as Timberline Lodge. This “lodge” isn’t quite as luxurious!
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I greeted 3 hikers just finishing their hike for the day celebrating with a photo shoot and kept on going up the ridge. I had gorgeous views of Mt Hood, Mt Adams, Sandy Glacier and Yocum Ridge. Here is Mt Adams.
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I had good views down to the Muddy Fork and on to Portland to the west. 
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On the way up, I saw another occupied tent, and further up, a couple coming down. They were friendly, but I was confused with their wood collection of wind-blown wood branches in their arms. After leaving them I realized that they were most likely collecting firewood. Just before getting to my camp I saw a wind blown dead tree with a bunch of its 3” branches snapped off. I knew it was them as the snapped off ends were golden yellow compared to the silver skins of the wood. Yet another violation of the wilderness permit that specifically treats this as a punishable violation. More education needed! 


I got to my top-out camp just about exactly three hours from the start at 6:40pm. I’ve wanted to camp at this bivy site for years with its epic view out and over the Sandy Glacier. 
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Here’s the view over the Glisan Glacier that I want to traverse tomorrow. Can you see the tracks from the folks I met earlier today? The crossing is right across the middle of the picture. 
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Here’s a closer look. 
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Here is a video clip of the glacier.
https://vimeo.com/345198092


My view down the glacier and out the Muddy Fork towards Portland. 
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Before setting up camp, I went to the end of the trail where it drops down to a bit of a saddle before heading back up Cathedral Ridge. My camp is at Ho Rock. Just up the ridge there is the gendarme Co Rock. These have a funny name origin. Can you guess how they got their name?
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If you didn’t figure it out, Ho Rock is right where it says “'Ho'od River County” and Co Rock is at “Hood River 'Co'unty" 


I set up camp and my expectations were not disappointed. 
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Here is a video clip from camp.
https://vimeo.com/345197574


As I was setting up camp, the fog started rolling in. It didn’t take long until I was socked-in. While that was a bit of a bummer, I knew the forecast coming up here and I was just thankful to get all the views before the clouds came in to visit. I was wearing my long underwear, fleece, down puffy and windbreaker on top, and long underwear, down pants and rain pants on bottom, in the 35-40 degree breeze. It was cold, but I was comfortable.
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A PCT friend of mine from Belgium "Cat Woman" and her husband "Headquarters" were up here the summer before last. I met them at Timberline Lodge for dinner, the night before my girls and I climbed up to the Hogsback near the Mt Hood summit. They were in the area for a few weeks to hike. I told them about McNeil Point and suggested it as a can’t-miss hike. They came up here and quickly fell in love with the place and its beauty. Just recently, they had their first child...a son named Noa. In honor of their love for this place, our friendship, and their son’s birth, I’m naming this special campsite “Noa’s Camp”. (He'll have to come camp here someday!)


I had dinner and crawled into the tent well before dusk since there were no views. It was a bit breezy, so it felt good to get into my down bag as the temps were dropping to the sub-40 range. 


After editing pictures and working on the blog, I was off to sleep at 10:30. Hopefully I’ll get some sleep with the wind flapping my tent around all night. (That's what earplugs are for)


Summary:
A gorgeous day. McGee is nothing special. Crowded Timberline Trail. Epic camp. Excited to have found a strong candidate route for the High Route. 


Favorite experience of the day:
The gorgeous, sunny day that was perfect for hiking. 


Least favorite experience of the day:
The fog rolling in at night that ruined my views. 


Today's route:
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Today's elevation (right-to-left):
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Google Earth with Track:
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GPS Track:
https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/tra ... 34a58b943/

2019.19 - Glisan Glacier Traverse
“Ice axe’s are nice” 


6/23/19
Rating: 5 Stars


Miles: 6.6
Time: 5 hrs, 10 min
Avg MPH: 1.3
Elev Min: 3,400’
Elev Max: 7,200’
Total Ascent: 390’
Total Descent: 3,800’
Elev Change: -3,500’
Steps: 18,600
Flights of Stairs: 50
Time Up: 4:45
Sleep Hours: 5
Start Time: 7:10
Temp Low: 35
Temp High: 50
Other hikers: 29
Male:Female hikers: 48%/52%
Longest time without seeing a hiker: 3:20
Wildlife: Birds
Verizon Cell Service: Weak/1 bar up high


Co Rock * Glisan Glacier * Gladd Ridge * Ladd Glacier * Barrett Spur * Ladd Creek * Glisan Creek * Timberline Trail * McGee Creek Trail


Opening Shot: The morning view of my challenge for the day…the Glisan Glacier.
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It wasn’t one of my most restful nights. As I got in the tent the night before, the back mesh was already soaked with droplets as the heavy fog was condensing on it as it blew through. It started to kind of “rain” on me with the fog condensation on the tent ceiling getting kicked free as the breeze flapped the tent around. I put in my ear plugs and hoped for the best. It actually calmed down a bit after 10:30pm, but it would still gust and wake me from my light sleep. As I lay there thinking, (cuz that’s what I do to keep myself from actually drifting into restful and rejuvenating sleep) I did the usual in these situations. I started to question myself and if this was over my head. I was envisioning the slippery wet and maybe icy rocks that I’d have to climb over. Of course I’d be doing this in the howling wind and low visibility in the fog. The glacier would be steep and icy and I might slip and slide down the slope with my ice axe dangling and whipping around me with my inability to get it to stop my slide. I’d be miserable and cold. The intended route would be way too sketchy for my High Route plans. What if that’s how it played out? Why am I up here…by myself no less?


As morning came, I peered out the crack of my tent down below to the valley. A totally socked in fog. Ugh…this could thwart my efforts, or at least make it pretty miserable. Out of the blue I got some cell service. I tapped my Timberline Lodge webcam app…what!?!? clear skies up to the summit??? I was confused! I contorted my body so that I could see out the tent crack up toward the mountain…and this is what I saw.
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Woah! I’m liking this view much better! I rolled back one of my tent storm doors and had a nice view down to the Sandy Glacier. I was super happy!
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With my food bag in my tent with me I had the luxury of having my hot oatmeal and coffee in bed! That was nice and toasty warm!



I took my time to let the clouds burn off further and for things to warm up a bit as it had dropped down to 35 degrees during the night. As I rousted myself out of the warm down bag and out of my tent finally, I saw the morning light over the Glisan Glacier.

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I got to work, packed up, and was on the trail at 7:10. This “trail” lasted for about 10 yards before it came to an end at the drop-off of rocks and boulders to Cathedral Ridge. This would be turning from hiking to mountaineering at this point. Step-one would be to scurry over the top of the rock pile in my path in this picture.
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Getting up and over it proved surprisingly approachable to me…that wasn’t so bad! It had always looked so intimidating to me when I had been up here before. Up next was a gendarme that would not be able to be crossed so easily with its significant drop-off on the backside. On this one I dropped down on the shale-looking rock to the top of the glacier’s edge to hug the rock formation’s left side to get around it. Again…not too bad! This is looking back on my path along the rock-side.
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On most of the ridge crest I was able to walk straight down the spine. It was stunning to look at the Sandy Glacier on the right, the Glisan Glacier on the left, and up to Co Rock and the summit ahead.
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There was another rock formation I needed to skirt around. This one involved a pretty good step-down to get to the snow. It wasn’t a problem, I just took some careful steps.



After a pretty quick 20 minutes, 1/4-mile and 0.7mph average, I was at the saddle to drop onto the glacier. I took off my pack to put on my micro spikes and to get my ice axe.  Uhh…where’s my ice axe? You know if you get your car stolen and it’s not where you parked it and you just stare at the empty parking space in disbelief…like…it might just turn up if you stare at it long enough? And you think you’re in some parallel universe where it just isn’t right? That it’s just got to be there? Yep…that’s what I was thinking about my ice axe. The proper way to pack an axe is to drop the handle down through the loop at the base of the pack. Then you arc the handle away from the back of the pack, fold it over the loop, and bring it up in parallel and sticking up to the sky on the back of the pack. Then you lash it in place. It’s pretty much impossible for it to slip out. Even if the lashing came free, it would just swing around and down and dangle off the base of the pack against the axe head. I couldn’t fathom how it could have fallen out…was it possible I had left it at camp??? No! (I don’t think?)



Ugh…I might have just lost all my gains for the day with a worst-case 40-minute round trip to go get it. I was not a happy camper. The other worry I had was that if I didn’t find it, then my hike was over as I needed it to safely cross the glacier. I wouldn’t go on there without it. Oh well…at least I wasn’t THAT far away. I started back without my pack which made it easier too. Just as I got to one of the big rock formations that I had to skirt around I realized that there might be an easier and better path on the other side that I hadn’t noticed when coming the other way. Knowing my luck though, the axe would probably be on the other side and I’d miss it! Yep…better go back the same way. So I went around the way I had come…and guess what I saw…
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It looks like I put it there on purpose! As I stood there staring at it, I think I pieced together what could have happened. When I lashed it to the pack, the lashing hook was not super tight, so it was conceivable that it could have come loose. I’m guessing that as I hugged the rock, the cordage was rubbed on the rock and came free. The axe flipped around (without my awareness…it was windy) and the it slipped up through the loop at the base of the pack as I slid on my backside down off the rock face onto the top of the snow. Then, as I stepped away, it slid down the rock face behind me and into the soft snow in the sun…waiting for me. Whatever! I was just glad to have it back, and glad I only had to walk halfway back.  I grabbed the axe and hurried back to my pack.


I put on my micro spikes and was ready to finally enter the glacier! Here is a look back at the ridge. My camp was at the highpoint rock. I had to skirt around 3 rock formations to get here.
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Here’s a video clip from my drop-in point in the saddle at 8:00 at 6,940’.
https://vimeo.com/345199388


Time to drop-in and follow the tracks!
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As I stepped down onto the snow that got maybe almost to 45-degrees in slope, I was surprised at the slushiness of it already. I was a bit worried it might be icy in the morning, but it was already softer than I would have liked for my spikes to grab into.
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I wore my GoPro for the crossing…so look for a high-speed summary video at the end of this post if you’re interested.
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The first part was the steepest. I was glad that steps were already kicked as that made my job pretty easy. I had a trekking pole extended to the max on the downhill side, and my ice axe on the uphill side. Even if I fell, the run-out looked relatively tame. It was steep, but it was softening and it didn’t end in a pile of rocks!
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After getting about halfway across the first segment it started to decrease in slope to about 30 degrees and there were some rocks I could stand on top of to rest for a bit.
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Here’s a look back at my progress.
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And here is another video clip of the surroundings.
https://vimeo.com/345199628


I could see Mt St Helens in the distance.
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It really started flattening out to about 20 degrees as I approached the middle moraine.
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Here is the path back. You can see the rocks I stood at for the last set of pictures.
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Here is a look up to the summit from the middle moraine,
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and a zoomed in shot of the side of Co Rock.
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This is looking down the middle moraine,
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up the middle moraine, 
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from where I came,
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and where I’m going.
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Here is a clip from the base of the middle moraine before I went up it. This focuses on where I came from.
https://vimeo.com/345199820


I climbed up the side of the moraine to it’s crest. It was pretty short and easy. This video clip is taken from the crest of the moraine.
https://vimeo.com/345199946


I was on the middle moraine at 8:30, so it took me a half hour to get here from the other side. My elevation was 7,145’ which was 205’ higher than where I entered the glacier. My pace that was 0.4mph when leaving Cathedral Ridge (due to pausing my track to go get my axe), was now up to 0.6mph.


It took me 20 minutes to get over this last segment to the base of Gladd Ridge. The snow was really firming up, a crusty ice surface. This was due to it just starting to get its morning sun. The base off the cliffy rocks were very pretty. This also shows the length down Gladd Ridge.
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Here is the base of Gladd. My strategy here would be to hug around the cliff rocks to the right as the slope to the top is the least steep right next to the cliff rocks. I’m guessing the footing would be better there too (YMMV as I didn’t do this, I’m just guessing). I was now at 6,925’, only 15’ lower than my start at Cathedral.
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Here is a video clip of the base of Gladd Ridge.
https://vimeo.com/345200038


I thought the snow chute I had passed looked like it might be easier (wrong!) so I went back to it. This was the view back to where I had come from.
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Time to head up the chute!
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Here is a clip of the chute that might give better perspective.
https://vimeo.com/345200148


I started out using the axe shaft and head as my “cane” to go up. The snow was very firm though so I couldn’t poke through the surface to give me a solid handle with the axe. I switched to holding it by the shaft and chopping the pick into the hard snow. This worked well and I slowly made my way up the slope that felt a lot steeper when I was actually on it.  It only took me about 10 minutes to get to the top, but it sure seemed longer due to the effort! Even though it was steep, I was reasonably comfortable as the runout wasn’t bad and I’m pretty comfortable on steep snow due to my experience skiing up to double-black diamond alpine ski runs (I say this to make sure you don’t underestimate it with your personal experience). I eased my way over to the edge of the chute and stepped up onto the rocks. Just a few steps more had me on the flat top just above the top of Gladd Ridge. This is looking down the outcropping, just above the top of Gladd Ridge.

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I was now at 7,070’, which was 145’ higher than the base. It was 9:00, an hour and fifty minutes from leaving camp. I had travelled 0.93 miles at a pace of 0.6 mph…blazing! This next picture looks over to Ladd Glacier and Barrett Spur on the upper-center part of the picture. If you look at Mt Hood on a clear day from Portland, you can see a “shoulder” coming off the left side of the mountain. That’s Barrett Spur.
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This is looking back at the top of the snow chute. I came out of the chute around the lower third of this picture.
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This one looks further down the snow chute and back over to Co Rock and Cathedral Ridge.
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This video clip shows the chute back on down from where I came along with Ladd Glacier and Barrett Spur.
https://vimeo.com/345200235


I needed to get down to the top of Gladd, so I got ready for my reward. I sat down, put my ice axe pick in the snow, and used it as a brake as I slid down the snow to the top of Gladd. The snow was a little soft, so I could have used the fatter adze side of the axe, but it was fine. Here is the sliding route with my axe pick trail.
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Time for a break! I took off my micro spikes and had a snack. Here is the view over to Ladd Glacier and Barrett Spur,
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and down the spine of Gladd Ridge.
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Here is a video clip from the top of Gladd.
https://vimeo.com/345200402


After my 10-minute break, and through the crux of the hike, it was time to go into taking-it-easy mode for the stroll down Gladd. After just a ways down I got a picture upwards to show the alternate path I had considered. This red line I’ve drawn in is what I think the best route on/off of Gladd (YMMV).
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Here’s a video from the same spot that may offer better perspective.
https://vimeo.com/345200742


On this picture, you can see another perspective on the climb up/down the side of Gladd Ridge. The snow chute is now visible that I went up too.
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Here’s another video clip showing the perspective on the Gladd Ridge up/down and the snow chute and then across the glacier.
https://vimeo.com/345200627


Not to forget that Ladd is on the other side.
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Here’s the final shot that includes the snow chute,
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and the final shot that includes all the way over to my camp on the far ridge rock on the right.
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I saw some rare Cliff Beardtongue. The only other place I recall seeing this recently was on Mt Margaret’s Whittier Ridge last year by Mt St Helens.
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Here is the final panorama of Ladd Glacier, Gladd Ridge, Glisan Glacier and Cathedral Ridge.
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I turned to head down below timberline. In the distance I could see an orange tent in the meadow about a 1/3 the way in from the left side of this picture, just below the centerline.
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I got down and off of Gladd at 9:55. It took me 40 minutes and 0.8 miles. I stopped at Glisan Creek to get water. I had run out of water this morning as I had finished my oatmeal and coffee. I was well hydrated and the cold morning didn’t leave me thirsty. I was ready for some fresh, cold water here though! A lenticular cloud was forming over the summit of Hood, which is pretty common.
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Here is the main branch of Ladd Creek that formed in the headwaters up above, underneath its glacier.
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I walked up to the tent to greet my first people of the day as they were packing up. Well what do you know…it was my stick lawbreakers! Ha! I had a friendly and good conversation with them. Towards the end, she said that they weren’t able to build a fire last night due to all the wind. There it was…my opening. I kindly (I think) explained that the permit they signed to get up here specifically says that the breaking of branches off trees for firewood, or anything else, is not permitted. (It’s technically punishable by fine or jail…although I’m sure it would never come to that…I didn’t say that part.) I assured her that I didn’t intend to be judgemental to them and that I was sure that it was simply due to them not knowing…that I didn’t want to be a downer, but that if they knew, then the next time they’d be able to do the right thing. It seemed to go well and I don’t think I got the evil eye from them. Then she said, “I wonder why?” I explained that it was obvious to me, after I saw them, which tree they broke the branches from, and that if everyone did that (or even just them), that it makes a beautiful, untouched environment look “touched” and not so pretty for others. Hopefully it was a good outcome with my earlier goal intact…education. I bid adieu, hopped the main channel of Glisan Creek, and headed down the slushy snow of the McNeal Trail back to the Timberline Trail.


I got to the trail and looked to the east…lots of snow still there! Yes…that’s the trail around the mountain. It was 10:40 now, 3 1/2 hours from my departure, only 2 miles ago. (yep…off-trail is slow!…particularly when you drop your axe! ;-) )
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I went the other way to go down. The trail was about 80% snow-covered down to the Climber’s Route that I had gone up the day before. On the way down I saw the beautiful ponds still covered in some ice, 
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and McGee Creek, which ironically you can’t see or hear from the McGee Creek Trail I came up yesterday and will go down today. It was a cool creek as it looked more like a waterfall flowing down the side of the mountain at an angle rather than straight down.
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I saw a rare Shooting Star,
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and this Service Berry flower.
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I dropped into the lower fog just as I passed the main viewpoints. I saw more Beargrass in the foggy trees.
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As the sun tried to break through, the mix of sun and fog in the trees was quite beautiful.
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More fog in the trees…
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I got to the McGee Creek Trail just before noon and quickly started down…I was smelling the barn. There was some Western Bleeding Heart on the way down.
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I got back to the trailhead at 12:35 and met a nice fellow who was up hunting for shell casings. It’s a bit of a hobby for him to collect the shells as an interest and also to help clean up the forest. We had a nice visit. I got changed and was out just before 1:00pm. My final pack weigh was 20.8 lbs, which was a bit heavy with my extra cold-weather clothing and the new Ursack. I can’t find my start-weight, so I’m not sure how much I dropped. I had some water left too.


It happened again…all that negative energy last night converted into a perfect day. It really couldn’t have gone better…well…except the axe part, but that was small potatoes! Oh…I almost forgot…the women were out in force today more than the men (52%)…that doesn’t happen very often. It’s usually close, but my unofficial trend is that women are a continuing growing percentage of people in the outdoors…which is great! (Yes...keeping track of this sort of thing gives me something to do when hiking solo for hours on end.)


Summary:
Wow…what an experience! It was just at the right level of challenge…somewhat exposed, but not sketchy. I loved today!


Favorite experience of the day:
Crossing the glacier.


Least favorite experience of the day:
Realizing my ice axe wasn’t in my pack when I was ready to go onto the glacier and not knowing where it would be.


Today's route:
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Today's elevation:
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Google Earth with Track:
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GPS Track:
Contact me and I'll share it. I just would like to review a few details to be sure you know what you're getting into...and to learn from your use of it if you go.

GoPro Video Summary of the Glacier Crossing:
This video is 13 minutes long and compresses (with speed at 8x in most of the places) the time, but includes every (almost) step up the ridge from camp and across the glacier. You even get to hear my ice axe fall off my pack...ha!
https://vimeo.com/345201286



-GoalTech aka Mike
www.GoalTechHikes.blogspot.com
@goaltechhikes (Instagram)

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mjirving
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Re: GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by mjirving » June 30th, 2019, 6:41 am

I forgot to mention up-top that this is really long and super detailed...so feel free to skip through it for the short version. :lol:

Part of my detailed documentation is that I want to use this for reference in the future for my Mt Hood High Route hike that I've designed. Also, I'd be very interested in any wisdom that you all have as it relates to this crossing or otherwise up high on this part of the mountain. And of course, please let me know if you find any errors as I'm sure there are some lurking in a report as long as this.

Thanks!
Mike

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retired jerry
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Re: GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by retired jerry » June 30th, 2019, 8:48 am

Nice! trip and pictures

Now I don't need to do that trip :)

As I keep saying, that camp spot is on my list

Probably easier to get onto Gladd ridge when there's more snow

It's pretty straightforward to cross lower. Like, stay on the McNeil Point trail, then cross Glisan Creek, over to Ladd Creek (a bit difficult to find a place to cross), up to Barrett Spur

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Chip Down
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Re: GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by Chip Down » June 30th, 2019, 10:24 am

Fascinating!

A few thoughts:

Although this was a fun rewarding trip, how does it pertain to your scouting for a high circumnav? Specifically, you departed Cathedral lower than I thought you would. The broad open pass above Co Rock is a good spot to cross over Cathedral Ridge, and stages you for a sensible route towards Barrett. You route described above makes me wonder what your plans are for accessing Cathedral from Sandy.

Also, I'm surprised you didn't continue to Barrett. Maybe because you're already familiar with the terrain between Gladd and Barrett?

I thought you went right up the face of the Gladd moraine, which surprised me. Looking down from the top, I balked at descending it. (Getting to the top of Gladd from Barrett is easier; it's the Cathedral side that's tricky.) But reading your report, I see you found a better way. As I was ascending Gladd ridge above the moraine, I considered your snow chute as an escape route, but it looked a bit sketchy at the bottom, so I continued up. I had gained the moraine all the way at the top end and couldn't see the chute from there, but from your pic (lower on the moraine) I realize that chute is perfect. Oh well, continuing up Gladd ridge was fun too.

In your pic with caption "time to drop in and follow the track" my footprints are at upper right. That wasn't my primary route, just poking around at that point, working my way down, exploring and considering options. That main track was new, I'm almost certain. I think I saw the party that established it (who you met up with down below). Other than that, I was grateful to have virgin snow all day. It's fun to see where others have gone, but sometimes it's nice to see it all fresh and untouched, and that rarely happens in June.

I carried crampons, but never used them. There were a few sketchy spots, but it was so soft. Heck, on occasion I was balling on bare boots! Crampons would be miserable. (query: do microspikes ball in soft snow?)

On ice axes: I've found two on mountains, both of them new. Then I dropped one of them myself, but fortunately I heard it, so was able to retrieve (later broke the pathetic little toy, with its wimpy fabricated aluminum head). Here's how I dropped it: It was on my pack with pick facing away from center, and it would occasionally poke me. So I took my pack off, loosed the compression straps slightly, and gave the axe a 180 spin, so the pick was now facing towards the centerline of the pack. Problem is, that twist undoes the retention of the loop, allowing the axe to drop right out. I know it might sound crazy, but try it, you'll see it's true.

Mike, would you be willing to remind us how you navigated this section last time? I know it was lower, but I'm wondering how they compare. Yeah, I suppose I could go dig it up, but maybe other readers are curious too.

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Chip Down
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Re: GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by Chip Down » June 30th, 2019, 10:29 am

retired jerry wrote:
June 30th, 2019, 8:48 am
Now I don't need to do that trip :)
On the contrary; now you don't have an excuse not to. ;)
retired jerry wrote:
June 30th, 2019, 8:48 am
...over to Ladd Creek (a bit difficult to find a place to cross)
Early, when it's under snow. Or late, like a sub-freezing October morning. Those two strategies have never failed me on Ladd.

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mountainkat
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Re: GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by mountainkat » June 30th, 2019, 10:33 am

Nice report! We were up there a few days ago, thinking about taking a similar route. Unfortunately, the clouds interfered.

Thanks for talking to the folks involved with the cutting of the old trees (we also saw fresh cuts on young live trees, too). It was pretty disappointing to see. We disassembled the campfire ring that was up there near where you camped, hoping to discourage that wood collection up there.

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retired jerry
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Re: GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by retired jerry » June 30th, 2019, 10:44 am

"...I see you found a better way...."

Looks to me like Mike has inspired Chip to do another trip

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mjirving
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Re: GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by mjirving » June 30th, 2019, 10:58 am

retired jerry wrote:
June 30th, 2019, 8:48 am
As I keep saying, that camp spot is on my list

Probably easier to get onto Gladd ridge when there's more snow

It's pretty straightforward to cross lower. Like, stay on the McNeil Point trail, then cross Glisan Creek, over to Ladd Creek (a bit difficult to find a place to cross), up to Barrett Spur
Indeed, that's a cool camp...you gotta try it out...preferrably with a sunset that doesn't involve fog like mine. ;)

Yes...I think the crossing I did will be easier in every aspect with the snow...so it'll be interesting to do it again with much less snow and see how it compares.

I agree that it's straight forward lower, but it is called the "high route". ;) Cathedral Ridge is so magnificent, so I wanted to incorporate that as much as I could.

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mjirving
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Re: GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by mjirving » June 30th, 2019, 11:00 am

mountainkat wrote:
June 30th, 2019, 10:33 am
We disassembled the campfire ring that was up there near where you camped
Nice work with the one-two punch on that. All we can do is keep up the efforts and the education. Thanks for the comment on the report too.

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mjirving
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Re: GoalTechHikes Glisan Glacier Traverse - 06/23/19

Post by mjirving » June 30th, 2019, 11:24 am

Chip Down wrote:
June 30th, 2019, 10:24 am
Although this was a fun rewarding trip, how does it pertain to your scouting for a high circumnav? Specifically, you departed Cathedral lower than I thought you would. The broad open pass above Co Rock is a good spot to cross over Cathedral Ridge, and stages you for a sensible route towards Barrett. You route described above makes me wonder what your plans are for accessing Cathedral from Sandy.
My goal for my High Route is to stay above the Timberline Trail and off-trail in general as much as possible while still keeping it reasonable, non-sketchy and fun. Therefore, my route I feel really good about. Having said that, I was torn between my route and the higher route...perhaps dropping into the top of Ladd over the higher saddle. I also see that the area up there is flatter and I'm guessing easier to traverse. What was holding me up was that Co Rock looked pretty intimidating to me to get by...it's also a fair bit of additional elevation to gain to only lose again once dropping back down to Ladd. I also wasn't sure about the slope degrees getting down to Ladd from the high saddle. What really flipped it for me was having the set of tracks already there for me. Being my first time through there, I wanted to make sure it was successful.
Also, I'm surprised you didn't continue to Barrett. Maybe because you're already familiar with the terrain between Gladd and Barrett?
Exactly...I'm already pretty familiar with that area. Plus, I was already stretching my ETA for getting back home.
I thought you went right up the face of the Gladd moraine, which surprised me. Looking down from the top, I balked at descending it. (Getting to the top of Gladd from Barrett is easier; it's the Cathedral side that's tricky.) But reading your report, I see you found a better way. As I was ascending Gladd ridge above the moraine, I considered your snow chute as an escape route, but it looked a bit sketchy at the bottom, so I continued up. I had gained the moraine all the way at the top end and couldn't see the chute from there, but from your pic (lower on the moraine) I realize that chute is perfect. Oh well, continuing up Gladd ridge was fun too.
Yeah...eye-balling that Gladd face to Glisan is tricky...from some angles it looks tricky and from others it looks easy. It seems that it would be easier and shorter than the north side of the old Eliot washout crossing?? The snow chute would definitely need to be down-climbed...it's doable, but maybe not a ton of fun?? YMMV. If you think your route up high is better, then I'd probably do that next time...any tricks in there?
In your pic with caption "time to drop in and follow the track" my footprints are at upper right. That wasn't my primary route, just poking around at that point, working my way down, exploring and considering options.
I was guessing those were yours...did you come down via those or around Co Rock up higher? I'd be curious your recommendation from that direction that you went.
(query: do microspikes ball in soft snow?)
I've never had a problem with them in any snow with that...of course they don't help much either in soft snow.
Mike, would you be willing to remind us how you navigated this section last time? I know it was lower, but I'm wondering how they compare.
Yep...good question. After traversing the Sandy Glacier, I come in near the 2 camps that are just a bit up from the shelter right on on the ridge. Then I followed the trail up Cathedral until coming to the perpendicular ridge that leaves it and is the western boundary of the Glisan (does this ridge have a name?) (this is a few hundred yards below Ho Rock). I followed the ridge line down easily and then had to bushwhack just a bit at the bottom to hit the traversing McNeil Point Trail. I turned right there and was quickly at Glisan Creek. After getting water there, I contoured from the creek toward Ladd Creek until I hit the base of Gladd Ridge and then headed up. This is acceptable to me as it's a nice water source and barely touches the trail, but it's a lot of down, immediately followed buy a big up, so I like the traverse better, it's much more majestic of course too.

Thanks for the chatter that I was hoping this would spark...such a fun mountain to explore!

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