Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

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markesc
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Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by markesc » September 1st, 2019, 7:48 am

Being somewhat dissatisfied with not getting high enough on the last trip, I'd solidified the idea of getting an earlier start in an attempt to avoid the winds as they seem to get worse as mid day approaches.

Well, that didn't pan out as the winds were just as brisk as my last attempt, but I decided to push fourth to the actual summit this round, and what a difference!
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Bring your super super wide angle...front row seat!
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It's almost stimuli overload with so many glacier photos to be had!
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St. Helens through the haze...
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Columbia River /Glenn Jackson Bridge:
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Dalles Dam / The Dalles:
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The "trail" up:
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Peering over the edge into the terminus:
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one thing I learned: Stay to the right in most cases between the first lower summit, and the second summit, and at the very top, there's a notch you can pull yourself up through among the large boulders. I'd mistakenly went to the left with one foot on a ledge, and a nice sheer drop off to behold below! I then pulled myself up over the top and wasn't looking forward to going back down, until peering back over finding my mistake and a much safer alternative just a few feet away. Ran into a nice individual on the lower summit and shared bear stories on the tedious trip back down to dollar lake.

More photography here: https://chrismarkes.smugmug.com/
Last edited by markesc on September 2nd, 2019, 6:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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BurnsideBob
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Re: Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by BurnsideBob » September 1st, 2019, 8:10 am

Thanks for sharing your adventure thru your wonderful photography!!
I keep making protein shakes but they always turn out like margaritas.

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markesc
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Re: Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by markesc » September 1st, 2019, 9:14 am

BurnsideBob wrote:
September 1st, 2019, 8:10 am
Thanks for sharing your adventure thru your wonderful photography!!
Thanks!

Not sure why we're stuck with postage stamp sized photos on here? Do I need to host elsewhere then link here? The pano from the top turned out great as a full screen shot.

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Chip Down
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Re: Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by Chip Down » September 1st, 2019, 10:50 am

Congrats. That's one of the best spots on the mountain, and well worth the effort. Be sure to always tell people how difficult and dangerous it is, so it doesn't get overcrowded.

I especially liked the waterfall pic, as that was my crux on the Coe last week. And the terminus pic was fun too. I've been up on Barrett before, but it's been maybe decades since I've seen it in the summer, and my memories have faded.

Isn't Coe an amazing glacier? Possibly the finest on Hood.

Your pics look fine to me: Jumbo thumbnails that open big with a click.

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markesc
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Re: Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by markesc » September 1st, 2019, 3:28 pm

Yes, the danger level is there. Like REALLY there.

None of us want to end up on this channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhTJU-zotjA ( about missing hikers in the PNW ).

This is why on the first attempt I called it good at the lower summit. It's a whole different ball game going on from there.

A single mis-judged foothold, or boulder move = news @ 11pm.

A few things I noticed:

1) The line of site route working from the lower summit to the upper/middle makes it seem like you should stay on the left side, when in fact, you're better off past the half way point to slowly work your way on the 5-10' lower in elevation on the right/west facing side.

2) The rocks as you get into the mid/upper 3rd are large but LOOSE, so don't judge a rock by it's size thinking it's going to be a solid hold, I had many creek, move, teeder, and compress into others which then let loose. There are many points where it's a dropoff on BOTH sides, and we're talking a non recoverable one.

3) The winds: I'm working on getting a resource for wind forecasting, but I've noticed this area the winds change fast, and if you tend to favor one foot over the other like I do, or are comfortable say being on your left but leaning a certain way with your weight while climbing, the wrong wind gust or gust from a unexpected direction = bad day.

4) The summit ledge / last 40' is paramount to test each rock and counter-intuitively to stay slightly to the right on some of the large boulders and use your hands/arms to pull yourself up through a small notch. If you stay to the left, which will seem like the natural way facing east you'll soon run into a ledge to have one foot on, which quickly disappears completely to around 8" wide and then it's whatever it is straight down?... 700-1000'? You're finished with no second chances. This area you have to maintain handholds on less than favorable rock. I def. had more than one "how the ____ did I convince myself to do this today?.... This was a complete mistake... it's now too late to turn back" moments.

5) No cell coverage, so you're SOL; I have sprint and got the 1x "extended" whatever that means.

6) Even though some posted, there isn't a safe way to kick steps down and leave Barret short of having ropes or a ton of experience. To me it seems like a spot you could go up, but not back down other than the normal route. I spoke to the guy that was on the lower summit that had been up there many times since the 1960's and said that even with his experience level, that the terrain is ever changing, so a route that was marginally safe at one point can be completely unstable the next. He'd mentioned how on one trip he attempted to kick steps and make his way down and got stuck, had to go back up and out the usual route.

7) Time. I'm still shocked at how many leave late, go up late, etc. I'd plan on a good extra 60-90 minutes AFTER you climb the lower summit to make your way to the upper summit and back (and that I mean, not the easy wind shelter lower hill thing). Add any time you'll want to spend there, because it is spectacular, but you will see the winds/weather change rapidly especially by afternoon. Descending for me took 2x as long.

8) Barret is def gaining in popularity as the path to the lower hill area is really well worn, but just remember it's not just a casual climb with just the need for stamina. Prettymuch every single step is on unstable sand, with a high variability in rock quality. Rocks you would think are safe to step on move, and the ones you think would not be stay in place. You'll want to have a set of stupid sticks or whatever their called? Many sections are full step downs where you have to be able to hold the sticks and use both hands to lower yourself down.

For me personally this was easily in the top 2-3 scariest hikes I've done in the past 25 years! Well worth the effort, luck, etc, but you WILL be counting your blessings when you are safely back on the "normal" trail 1000' below!
Last edited by markesc on September 2nd, 2019, 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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markesc
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Re: Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by markesc » September 1st, 2019, 3:38 pm

Chip Down wrote:
September 1st, 2019, 10:50 am
Congrats. That's one of the best spots on the mountain, and well worth the effort. Be sure to always tell people how difficult and dangerous it is, so it doesn't get overcrowded.

I especially liked the waterfall pic, as that was my crux on the Coe last week. And the terminus pic was fun too. I've been up on Barrett before, but it's been maybe decades since I've seen it in the summer, and my memories have faded.

Isn't Coe an amazing glacier? Possibly the finest on Hood.

Your pics look fine to me: Jumbo thumbnails that open big with a click.
Appreciate the compliment! I miss how the forum where if say you had a photo @ 1200 pixels wide, it would display as such, but I'm guessing bandwidth costs?

That waterfall is Uh Mazin, I'm not sure how one would/could approach it? Seemed from the perspective looking down on it, that it's steep terrain all over. I did see your other Coe glacier pics, and enjoyed the unique perspective. The Coe is neat with it's own character because of it's elevation vs. narrowness and length. I noticed there's a high variability in ice composition depending upon which part you're looking at. Extremely deceptive from some angles like in Elk Cove, the glacier just seems like it's an easy walk to, but it's actually as your post shows, quite the excursion to get closer.

I say GO FOR IT, but I'd really recommend a night hike to the lower view point, then make your way up during sunrise, it's a strange place where I went from hot/cold depending upon winds. The sound of the rockfall and glacier moving, crows fighting, and ever changing wind patterns bringing in sounds from all sorts of random areas made it difficult to just sit there and take it in..... the anxiety level of knowing I had to get back down kept me from being fully comfortable it seems, on the other hand there's something about the solo hike that grants one freedom with no explanation.

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Chip Down
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Re: Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by Chip Down » September 1st, 2019, 9:34 pm

Markesc, If you're interested in seeing a November report...
viewtopic.php?t=27895

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markesc
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Re: Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by markesc » September 1st, 2019, 10:10 pm

Chip Down wrote:
September 1st, 2019, 9:34 pm
Markesc, If you're interested in seeing a November report...
viewtopic.php?t=27895
Wow! Looks like you had inversion like weather!

So is it more do-able, easier with snow to take a south end lower route up the spur if one can kick steps in? I was looking at GE earlier and it appears to be around 200', but that can be deceiving compared to reality.

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teachpdx
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Re: Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by teachpdx » September 3rd, 2019, 8:09 am

I've made it up to the summit of Barrett Spur a couple of times now, and yes, it can get pretty intense. It still remains one of my favorite areas to visit on Mt. Hood. I usually base camp near Dollar Puddle and make an early ascent.

And yes, the wind can get crazy up there! I've had times when there hasn't been a breath of wind, and other times I feel like my jacket is going to be ripped off by the next gust. I generally look at weather forecasting models that show winds aloft... 850 mb corresponds to around 5000' and 700 mb to around 10000'. I plan any alpine ascents, if possible, to be in a pretty slack time. It doesn't account for winds driven by local topography, but it's a good basic overview for planning.

Specifically for Barrett Spur, if the weather folks are mentioning "onshore flow" or "offshore flow", that will generally correspond to strong winds from the west and the east, respectively. If it's a windy day in the gorge, it'll be equally windy (or more) on Barrett Spur.

I reference these weather forecasting models: http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/model/

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markesc
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Re: Mt. Hood Barret Spur (again!) 08-31-2019

Post by markesc » September 3rd, 2019, 4:14 pm

Wow!

Truly appreciate the weather modeling and advice. I'd love to be there when it's a bit more calm!! I had a hunch that weather transition days seemed to be the worst, like the weekend before last where we were moving into warmer off shore flow.

I'll def be studying that link!

Thank you!

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