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.