Headed up to McNeil Pt in search of snow to play in. Roads to Top Spur TH were completely clear, although that might change this weekend, with snow levels dropping. No snow at the trailhead, but I strapped my snowshoes to my pack anticipating snow at higher elevations. I was shocked to find one other group at the trailhead. During the day I saw prints of at least one additional group, but didn’t actually see anyone on the hike.
From the first viewpoint on Bald Mt, Mt Hood looks a bit cold in its snowy mantle.I lucked into a nice break in the weather — no precipitation and even a little sun for the first half of the day.
At about the McGee Creek trail junction and the start of the climb up the ridge, there were patches of 1-2” old, crunchy snow topped with a dusting of fresh powder. At the open viewpoint along the ridge there was a good 2-3” of snow. From there, snow depth increased continuously as you gain elevation. Nonetheless, boots were fine all the way up to the junction with the McNeil Pt. Trail. I put on micro spikes just after the little dip coming off the ridge, where things got a little slippery, but didn't really need them.
I headed up the shortcut to the McNeil Pt shelter. The snow in the meadow was a good foot or more, and spikes helped climbing up the steeper parts of the scramble.
After a break at the shelter, I put on the snowshoes and headed up the ridge above the shelter. There was probably 1-2’ up here, more in drifts. The wind was brutal coming from the south over the ridge, and I gave up following the exposed trail up the ridge. Instead I meandered up the little bowl to the left and headed up through the krummholz, and eventually reached the top of the ridge. I dropped over the ridge into the little shelf on the north side, then down the rocky slope to join up with the McNeil Pt trail. A couple of ravens followed me all the way from the shelter up to the shelf below McNeil ridge.
From the MP trail I dropped into the south branch of the Ladd Creek (although you might also call it the Glissan Creek, since it flows from the Glissan Glacier), wandered up the creek a bit, then back down the Glissan/Ladd moraine into Cairn Basin where I rejoined the Timberline Trail.
Great snowy day on Hood! Depending on how snow levels work out, I'm hoping for a couple more opportunities to access the higher elevations of Hood this year.
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