It's big, it's huge, it's scary. I will most likely fail. If one fire starts and fire season starts early, boom, game over. I could be on peak 99 out of 100 and if a fire starts on peak 100 then it is game over. I am keeping it healthily in mind that as poetic as it would be to have this as my 100th FKT, there is a distinct possibility that it might not go and I have to be willing to enter into the process of trying for it anyways.
Approach was straightforward from Killen Creek TH. Open air bivy at 7,000'. Minor glacier travel with little to no crevasse danger to base of the route. A long, moderate snow slope began at about 9000'.
In the winter season that just continued to give to us ice and alpine climbers, we tried to zero in on another objective. We had always heard "The Pencil" come up as the obvious unclimbed line on the north side of Mt. Hood.
My buddy Tim Bemrich and I were debating objectives one winter weekend. Portland had been in a serious cold spell and many climbers were taking advantage of a freshly frozen over Columbia River Gorge scene. We debated joining in the Gorge fun, but we both had slightly bigger ambitions for this weather window. It seemed like a great, and somewhat rare, opportunity to finally check out the mysterious Black Spider Headwall on Mt. Hood.
On any sunny spring weekend the easy access to Mt. Hood's Timberline Lodge lures throngs of people looking to slog and ski their way up the iconic mountain. But venture away from the South Side to any other point on the compass and your chances of seeing another soul are greatly reduced.