There is something special about being the first. Mount Hood is the second most climbed peak in the world and rarely has a sunny day without many summiteers. January 27, 2010 dawned clear and cold with no wind. We started skinning up around 4am towards the summit in moon light that was so bright we had no need for our headlamps. There was about a foot of new snow and our excitement could not be contained. All we kept saying to each other was ‘incredible’. It became irritating that we could not come up with any other way to describe this morning but it was simply incredible.

I have over a hundred summit ski descents on Mount Hood and this day ranked among the top three. We arrived at Hogsback and decided it was safe to go for the summit. We were the only ones going up the Hogsback and across to the Old Chute. It took us over two hours to climb the last 1100 feet to the summit because the snow was so deep. Pain is not something I enjoy or find some higher meaning in but standing on the summit this day made it all worthwhile. The wind was calm and the sky was so crystal clear it felt as thought we could reach out and touch Mount Jefferson to our south. Standing alone on the summit we could see all of Oregon in its beauty.

The best part was now about to begin as we clicked into our bindings just a few feet shy of the summit. The skiing down The Old Chute to West Crater Rim was amazing. Looking up and seeing only our two tracks brought a Cheshire Cat grin to both our faces. The skiing down Big Zig Zag Canyon back to Timberline was straight out of a Warren Miller film. Looking up at the mountain from the parking lot all we could do is hi-five each other and continue uttering incredible.

Author’s Note: Please use caution when entering the high alpine on any mountain in Oregon. Snow safety and rapidly changing weather patterns during the winter months can easily make a perfect dream day into a nightmare.

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