The Book. The Mountain. Everything in between.

Latest

Spring Skiing on Mount Hood 2017

I suppose this is the season we should have bought spring passes for Timberline Lodge & Ski Area, seeing as how it’s still flush with snow in June while all the other resorts have long since closed.

But there’s no complaining. We spent a snowy, snowy weekend at Timberline back in March for Spencer’s birthday, stayed for a week in Government Camp for spring break and skied at Mt. Hood Meadows five of seven days, and made the most of an epic spring ski season that went strong until Meadows closed for the year on May 6.

It was a great season. On Mount Hood, they all are.

IMG_7383

The snow piled up at Timberline Lodge in early March for Spencer’s birthday weekend.

IMG_7388

Tons of snow made for deep powder skiing at Timberline in early March.

IMG_7466

Spring break at Mt. Hood Meadows was largely socked in, but the sun broke through every now and then.

IMG_7503

Madeline cruising down Vista at Mt. Hood Meadows, a favorite run on the mountain.

IMG_7494

Another great ski season on Mount Hood.

 

Meeting some mountaineering royalty

There was a chance that Stacy Allison, the first American woman to climb Mt. Everest, wasn’t going to make it to the kickoff event for this year’s Climb for Clean Air program last night. She was on her way back from Denver, and the timing of it all made it a little uncertain.

But she made it — in time to catch some pics from a Hood slideshow even — and added another notch to the list of pretty incredible people that we’ve met over the years.

Climbing for clean air on Mount Hood

Last year, a colleague of mine at the Business Journal, Cathy Cheney, climbed Mount Hood for the first time. She even carried a copy of On Mount Hood all the way to the summit.

Cheney on Hood

Cheney did the climb through a program of the American Lung Association called the Climb for Clean Air. Through that, climbers raise funds for the ALA while training and, ultimately, climbing Northwest peaks.

It’s a cool program and one that I recently wrote about for the Business Journal in a Q&A with Stacy Allison, the first American woman to summit Everest. She’s a Portlander and has been involved in the climbing program for years.

There’s a kickoff party for the hike leaders, assistants and past and present participants this Tuesday at the Lucky Labrador in Northwest Portland. I’ll be there with some climbing pics and tales (and, of course, a few books) to get people in the mountain mood.

While the Mt. Hood climb is all filled up for this year — you can still sign up for the wait list — there are spots still available for the Rainier and Baker climbs. Find out more at www.climbforcleanair.com.

 

The Best Mount Hood Sledding for 2017

We haven’t been up to Mount Hood for any sledding yet this winter, but a few inches a couple weeks ago made for some decent runs right here in the neighborhood.

img_7032

All that’s gone now. But Hood is seeing some mammoth snowfall this year, and the sledding’s bound to be good. Here are some some of the best sledding spots on Mount Hood for 2017.

White River Sno-Park — About 4 miles north of US 26 on Oregon 35 just south of Mt. Hood Meadows, the White River Sno-Park is great for easy, fun and free sledding on Mount Hood with little ones. The closest hill is just a five-minute walk up the snowy road from the parking lot; bigger and better hills are just a little farther along. Because it’s also a popular skiing and snowshoeing spot, White River can be a touch crowded, but it’s expansive enough that there’s room enough for everyone. And with an incredible view of the mountain as backdrop, there’s little to complain about. (It doesn’t cost anything to sled here other than a Sno-Park permit. If you buy a permit from a DMV, they’re $4; most vendors that sell them jack them up a buck or two.)

Little John Sno-Park — At 3,700 feet just 30 miles south of Hood River on Oregon 35, this free Sno-Park (free sledding on Mount Hood except for the Sno-Park permit) is fairly low in elevation, so if it’s a low snow year the pickings can be slim. But when there is snow, the sledding looks like good fun. There’s also an old log warming hut. The Forest Service only allows plastic sleds and tubes.

Summit Ski Area — Mount Hood’s oldest ski area is also home to a tubing area. You can’t bring your own sled, but for $20, you get a tube from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. For weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s $15. frM-F; kids 48″ and under are $10. Summit is just east of Government Camp. Summit also operates Snow Bunny, a little Sno-Park next door, where you can tube (not sled) for $15 all day.

Cooper Spur Mountain Resort — A sleepy but quaint little resort on the beautiful north side of Mount Hood, Cooper Spur is home to a tubing park with a rope tow. Ten bucks for the morning or afternoon, which includes some great views of the north side of Mount Hood on the drive up from Hood River.

Mt. Hood Skibowl — The closest ski area to Portland is also home to a snow tubing area. Cost is $25 for adults for three hours, $19 for juniors; an all-day tube ticket is $50. The area includes a tube conveyor for heading back up the hill. In addition to regular tubing, Skibowl also offers Cosmic Tubing on weekend nights with laser lights, black lights, music and more.

Other Sno Parks and Areas — The Forest Service also lists Sledding and Tubing as activities at these other Mount Hood Sno Parks: Government Camp Summit Sno Park and Multorpor Sno Park. I’ve also seen reports of sledding opportunities at Trillium Lake, near the Hemlock Trail in Government Camp and elsewhere.

Timberline’s sweet Cyber Monday deal

Buy one, get one? Nope.

Try buy one, get two.

That’s the smokin’ deal that Timberline Lodge has offered on Cyber Monday for the past few years, and it’s hard to beat. For the price of just one single mid-week lift pass, you get the pass you paid for, plus two free mid-week passes that are good almost anytime Monday through Friday  between December 1 and May 29, 2017, though not during winter break between Dec. 19 and Jan 2.

Even with those restrictions, there’s little complaining here. We’ve taken advantage of the deal in the past, and plan to again this year.

The sale runs through midnight tonight.

Mskiing mile 4.8.14

 

Kids on Cooper Spur — again

Four years ago, we saddled up and took the kids, then six and two, up to one of our favorite spots on Mount Hood — Cooper Spur.

Back then, Madeline was a little less jaded about uphill hikes, and Spencer? Well, he had it pretty easy at the time, hitching a ride on my back and cruising in relative comfort.

This summer, we decided to head back to our spot on Cooper Spur. It might have been a little harder on Madeline, and Spencer may have had to motor up on his own two legs, but they did it just fine. Like I noted when we did it the first time around, it wasn’t always easy. But the weather, the views, the company, and the fact that Spencer hiked with me all the way to the end of the Cooper Spur day hike made anything that seemed at all hard all the more worth it.

We’ll be back to Cooper Spur, I’m sure.

A rare sunset shadow cast on the cloud layer above, which almost makes it seem like the mountain might be erupting. 

img_6282Spence making his way up Cooper Spur with a smile. 

img_6291Topping out at about 8,500 feet on Cooper Spur. 

img_6295Down we go.