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Snow Dragon, Mount Hood

• I was able to talk Craig into co-leading this one with me for his GPS skills.

 

The Plan: Hike up to the Climber's route on McNeil Point , from there we will side hill it down onto the Glacier . The opening for the cave was very large this year and I am assuming it is still open. We will explore the cave. A recent PBS special has been done on this cave. We will not try to go as deep as they did. We won't have the time or the expertise to attempt this.

 

Once we leave the cave, we will head down to the Trail below us that crosses the Muddy River. Heading back to Bald Mountain and Top Spur.

Difficult very I suppose

Distance maybe 10 miles, Craig will know better

Gear:

Winter stuff, temperatures will be around 40 and possibly colder in the cave.

Traction devices please, micro spikes or crampons.

Ice axe never hurts but poles probably good enough.

A must have or you will be turned away, A HELMET!

Headlamp also needed.

Also I plan on bringing some climbing  gear . Could use some help carrying it if it looks like we will need it. Rope, pickets.

Now for a story, I was talking with a friend the other day who was on McNeil Point about 1/2 way up from the shelter to the crags above. They were sitting on the edge just enjoying the day. Suddenly, they were hearing a major avalanche of rolling rocks and I think she said rushing water. Finally the loud rumbling subsided after a few minutes. They looked around for evidence of where it was coming from. No dust was rising from any viewpoint they could see.

My theory is that it came from the Ice Cave, possibly a ice dam broke releasing a lot of water and rolling a lot of rock as it went.

We will be very careful , recent temperatures have been low on the mountain. I believe we will be safe enough.

Got to give credit for the photos from Claudio's trip a few years back.

 

 

 

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  • Byung-Chan L.

    Sorry for my being late. I posted our group picture. It was a great adventure. Thanks Rick, Craig, and everyone else!

    1 · November 2, 2013

  • Craig G

    Greetings All - I posted a trail report of our adventure on portlandhikers:

    http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=17391

    4 · October 29, 2013

  • Sarah

    Looks like you guys had an incredible time! I suggest a round 2? ;) There's also an ice cave and natural bridges near Mt Adams. Has anyone been there?

    1 · October 28, 2013

  • andee

    T'was an absolutely perfect day, never mind my aches and pains; perfect balance of fear and delight. Everyone was great, and thanks, Benson, for dinner!

    3 · October 27, 2013

    • KRIS

      thanks andee! You were so great, so helpful and full of information... Feels so great to be part of a hike filled with many experienced hikers!

      October 27, 2013

  • Rick L. J.

    Thanks guys and gals, this was a trip that took me 3 years to finally get it done. Thanks to Magnus for his post that reminded me of it. Great team to do a fantastic adventure with on a picture perfect and warm day. Special thanks to Benson for treating us to dinner. We didn't traverse to far into the main cave, there was some hanging ice bridges and a vein of rock showing in the center further up. Looked a bit scary to me. To David, thanks for all your warnings and the great compliment too.

    2 · October 27, 2013

  • Craig G

    Hike stats:
    9.7 miles
    Elapsed Time: 9:49:50
    Speed: Avg 1.0 mph
    Moving Avg: 1.9 mph
    Min elevation: 3910 ft
    Max elevation: 6586 ft
    Ascent: 3324 ft

    1 · October 27, 2013

  • Craig G

    Take a look at the photos and imagine something 100x better than what the photos illustrate. It was that good. This group was prepared, skilled, patient as well as fun! I can't remember a nicer day (clear, sun, no wind, great company of like-minded individuals) relaxing on Hood. Well done group! Thank you all for coming along on this adventure! I will post hike stats shortly.

    2 · October 27, 2013

  • Ang

    Big thanks to Craig, Rick, as well as everyone else. I had a great time. Hope to hike with you guys again soon

    2 · October 27, 2013

  • David B.

    Congratulations Rick, Craig, on leading a safe and successful adventure - exchanging luck for experience without harm.

    Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage
    anais nin

    1 · October 27, 2013

  • Benson L.

    Another awesome adventure lead by Rick and Craig. We made to Cave and back without incident. Weather was excellent. Good to see everyone at memorable hike.

    1 · October 27, 2013

  • Katya

    I have been suffering from chronic headaches for the past month. By the time we've reached the cave my pain was completely gone! That's how good this was! A worthwhile destination with a good company on a good day. Rick and Craig, thank you for another memorable adventure!

    1 · October 27, 2013

  • Henry

    This was a very awesome adventure with good leadership that helped the group overcome very dangerous obstacles. I am grateful for what was provided for today.

    1 · October 26, 2013

  • Craig G

    On our way back. All went well. No issues.

    October 26, 2013

  • KRIS

    Hi Craig, Aside from the helmet, traction devices, do we need rope gears (carabiner, prusik?)? This youtube video shows some climbers rappelling down the cave? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E55Qw27Urys&feature=player_embedded

    October 25, 2013

    • Craig G

      No plans to repel into a cave entrance. We are hoping to find the main outflow entrance.

      October 25, 2013

  • Randy G.

    I'm interested if 12th spot opens. Thanks

    October 25, 2013

  • Rick L. J.

    Weather look good. 43 degrees. Clear??

    October 25, 2013

  • Katya

    What's the EG on this, 3,200 feet?

    October 24, 2013

    • Craig G

      Greetings Katya - Yes, I would say 3000 to 3200 ft EG. What doesn't show up is the offtrailing as we "sidehill" the mtn at the same elevation.

      1 · October 24, 2013

  • Craig G

    Greetings Folks - PLEASE NOTE - the Meetup time has been changed to 6AM. This earlier start is necessary to maximize daylight hiking time.

    1 · October 24, 2013

  • Rick L. J.

    I closed the Rsvp's to start limiting it down to the magic number. I am also renaming the adventure. Please take all the comments seriously and make a decision. I or Craig will send out a email.

    1 · October 22, 2013

    • Juergen

      You can also set a new limit of 12 in your hike setup, that would not open up a spot even if someone drops out, at least until the number gets below 12.

      October 22, 2013

  • Benson L.

    Looks exciting trip. I want to go too but RSVP is closed.

    3 · October 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looks like a big wait list. Any odds of someone leading a second climb?

    1 · October 22, 2013

  • Henry

    I'm pretty sure all of us want to go home with a good story just like any other hike safe and sound.

    October 22, 2013

  • Henry

    I'm still excited for this one.

    October 22, 2013

  • Craig G

    DavidB lead this hike for a number of years. I contacted him about this expedition. Here was his reply: "Hi Craig,
    Attached is maps to the location. Hope you have gps, you will need it.
    The cave has grown too unstable and dangerous for me to take people into, after reading of a collapse of an ice caves in India killing 7, on Hood killing one, in Washington State killing one (http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/02/washington.ice.caves.death/) and in hearing a collapse as I entered into it in 2012. If you do go, highly advise going in the winter, where temperatures are colder and thus more stable. I think I was lucky leading this for 7 years and not having a fatality. Good luck with your decision.
    cheers
    david"

    October 22, 2013

  • Craig G

    Greetings All - ***Additional risk***

    Susan,Darren and Rick are correct - there is additional risk on two points:

    1) Ice caves present a risk for ice fall, rock fall and potential water release due to ice dams breaking above the entrance point.

    2) The offtrail to the cave is steep - traction is highly recommended.

    By going on this Meetup adventure, you inherently accept this risk.

    I will post DavidB's email - his experience leading this previous years is valuable.

    October 22, 2013

  • Susan

    My downer comments for the morning:
    You'll be inside the wilderness boundary, where the lgroup size limit is 12.
    And everyone please acknowledge that ice caves are inherently unstable and prone to collapsing - no matter how skilled you may be **you will also need luck in order to not die**, like Collin Backowski, who had his life end this summer at age 25, when the portion of the ice cave on Mt. Hood he was standing in collapsed and crushed him. Make sure that you and your family are okay with that level of risk before you do this.

    3 · October 22, 2013

    • Julie

      Thanks for your concern, Susan. True. WIlderness groups are limited to 12. And, of course, ice caves are inherently dangerous, and this is too warm and late in the season for exploration, so entering isn't a real consideration. I just wanted to check the surrounding glacial ice field and lower entrance before the big snows arrive, but I was there recently and don't need to go again, so I'll be one of the 4 that bows out to bring the group size down.

      October 22, 2013

  • Darren

    I helped sherpa gear for OPB this summer and Snow Dragon cave is amazing! It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Have fun and be safe. Rock fall at the entrance is a huge hazard, as is delamination of sheets of ice from the ceiling.

    2 · October 22, 2013

  • Rick L. J.

    Craig, could you attach Davids email to the hike description. His concerns are valid and everyone should read them.

    1 · October 22, 2013

  • Julie

    Here's the beautiful footage from OPB's Oregon Field Guide program on the caves:

    http://www.opb.org/glaciercaves/ http://watch.opb.org/video/2365091880/

    October 22, 2013

  • Craig G

    Looking at the route - estimated 10-12 miles. Agreed - a helmet is MUST! Chunks can come down at any time. Water will be dripping around the front entrance area constantly. Trip reports show very large openings in Sept 2013. Traction devices will really help.

    1 · October 21, 2013

  • Rick L. J.

    Thanks Alex, next summer. BTW, has anyone seen the special on PBS?

    October 21, 2013

    • Kathy

      I have. They act like it is new and just discovered. I see the meetup did it in 2009. Beautiful. Be safe!

      1 · October 21, 2013

    • Kathy

      I was trying to find it last week, but couldn't. I saw that making of it last week on OPB and they said the video is available now. I found the making of the bit more interesting than the bit although it was educational regarding the global warming and the melting of the Paradise caves.

      1 · October 21, 2013

  • Henry

    I haven't watched all of the special but I have seen pieces of it.

    October 21, 2013

  • Alex

    I've been dying to do this with y'all but am out of town, bummer! Would be a very helpful participant the following weekend!!!!

    October 21, 2013

  • Janice

    Sad to miss this one :(

    October 21, 2013

  • Rick L. J.

    Me too, Henry. Its been 3 years and Magnus gave me the idea with his hike. I also glassed Mt hood from Newberg. The snow line seems to be just below the entrance of the cave. I thought I could see the opening but it was probably just a shadow from a ridge.

    1 · October 21, 2013

  • Sarah

    This sounds like a blast! Such a bummer I will be out of town.

    October 21, 2013

  • Henry

    Yeah, I am excited about this one.

    October 21, 2013

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