The Gnome that Climbed Mt. Hood (Part Two)
We sent our intrepid blogger Asit out to complete the Oregon 150 Challenge. He took our challenge, and brought Mookie the Gnome along for the ride. Read Part One Here. In his previous post, he completed his Foodie Stuff, Attractions and Your Choice categories. Join him as he continues through his challenge!
I was jolted awake by the snowcat arriving a few yards away from my truck/sleeping quarters. What I realized was the gnome was a bad influence for having me eat and drink before climbing. I stumbled out of the car grabbing my gear along with Mookie the gnome and jumped in the front of the snowcat. My friend and long time Timberline employee, Brad, was driving and let me take a photo with him and the little guy.
Some say it’s cheating to not start climbing from Timberline. I just call myself lazy and would be happy to take a helicopter to the summit if the National Forest Service would allow it. We get to the 8504ft level and again I start thinking about going back down to fall asleep. This time it is the promise I made to my lady that motivates me to keep on going.
I put on my skins and clicked into my ski bindings to start heading up towards the summit. Since I was solo I decided it would be best to head up the south side, safest route, to the summit. A little below Crater Rock, 9800ft elevation, I heard “Let me out of here man!” This startled me because there was no one climbing close to me. I set my pack down and pulled out Mookie the gnome to see if I was going crazy or if he was really alive. Turns it was just my crazy mind playing late night tricks on me. I blamed sleep deprivation.
I put the little guy back and continued on to the summit. I ended up summiting just before 5.30am. This was fantastic because I watched part of the sunrise from the tip top of Oregon. However this left me with almost 6 hours to kill before the snow would soften making for an enjoyable ski down. I was lucky that there was no wind and pulled my jacket over my head to catch some shut eye.
It was about 10am when I heard “Is he dead? I’m not sure but I call dibs on his skis if he his.” The party leader of this group woke me up to ask if I was OK and began laughing when he saw me sleeping with a gnome in my arms. I told them the story about why I climbed to the summit with Mookie while they took photos with the little dude. Right about this time my friend John hits the summit via the Leuthold’s Couloir route. I was super pumped because it is the line I wanted to ski and now I had someone to ski it with. We waited till about 12pm for the snow to soften and I said goodbye to Mookie and left him to greet all other summit visitors.
John and I skied the Leuthold Couloir with some of the best conditions I had ever seen. We traversed out onto the Reid Glacier and exit through the Illumination Saddle. The skiing back to Timberline was perfect corn and was the cherry on top of a perfect day. Standing in the parking lot I began smiling with two thoughts; one I had finally fulfilled a lon overdue promise to my lady and two the laughs that would come from all the summiteers over the next few days who will have Mookie to greet them when they reach the top of Oregon.
Looks like Asit has completed the Outdoorsy Stuff requirement of the Oregon 150 Challenge! Just one category left!
About the Author: Asit Rathod
Asit Rathod was born in Portland, Oregon and started skiing x-country at the age of five on Oregon's very own Mount Hood. Asit lived and skied between Chamonix, France for five seasons and Las Lenas, Argentina for four summers. He has more than 140 ski descents from the 11,239ft summit of Mount Hood, is an Ambassador for Mount Hood Meadows and contributor to 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America. Asit is a suit and tie by day but big mountain skier at heart.
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