Trip Report: September Turns on Mt. Hood, Oregon

Clay Malott | BackcountryBackcountry | Trip ReportTrip Report
mount hood, oregon, September, turns all year,
October turns! Photo credit: Deane Malott

It’s that time of year again when the skiing is often about as inaccessible and bad as it gets. Yet still, the allure of Turns All Year is a powerful force, powerful enough to overcome the dread of skiing dirty, 5-month-old snow in September.

I tore my MCL in the first week of September, which instantly put my 28th month of skiing in a row in jeopardy. However, I’ve been religiously resting and rehabbing my knee, and since it was feeling stabler and time was running out, we booked last-minute plane tickets to Portland, Oregon.

We flew out of San Francisco mid-morning on Saturday. We landed at about 1 pm, and after a frustrating and long process with the rental car, we finally hit the road in the early afternoon on the roughly 90-minute drive to Mt. Hood (with an obligatory Chick Fil A stop along the way).

We got to the parking lot at Timberline Lodge at about 4 pm and began preparing our gear. We saddled up our skis and boots in an A-frame carry, threw in some water and layers, and began ascending.

mount hood, oregon, September, turns all year,
Making our way up to the snow. Photo credit: Clay Malott

It was about 60F and sunny, so it was fairly hot. The trail started off fairly steep but paved, so we made good time up the fire road towards the snow. We hiked at a pretty mellow pace to make sure I didn’t push my knee further than I should, so it took about 30 minutes to ascend roughly 1.5 miles and 1,200 feet of vertical.

When we got to the snowfield, I put on my brace to add knee stability, donned our boots and skis, and got about 15 very decent turns. The snow was fairly dirty and sticky but still provided us with enough skiing to check off our 28th consecutive month of skiing.

Once we were done skiing, we descended back down to the parking lot via our ascent route. Overall, it was a great afternoon of skiing. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get some resort turns in for October.

mount hood, oregon, September, turns all year,
Photo credit: Deane Malott

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3 thoughts on “Trip Report: September Turns on Mt. Hood, Oregon

  1. We were there watching you! After hiking the Zigzag Canyon, we decided to hike up the slope for a closer look to the Wy’East. The snow patch was a surprise and a blessing.
    Sunbathing over the snow and we saw you coming, geared up and all that stuff. Wonderful encounter!
    We didn’t get skis with us (this time only) but we were pleased to see you guys turning!

  2. Knees are really important for skiing and life activities in general. Consider your plan for month 29 vs turns after 50 years old as part of your process for deciding on October turns.

  3. Good going kid, sounds like you’re committed to making it happen.. Even Palmer (on Hood) looks pretty lame nowadays. Consecutive month skiing has gotten worse with global warming/climate change. I’m sitting at 323 consecutive months and my son has 230 consecutive months. We do our summer skiing in the Sierra but it’s not like it used to be. Fortunately I am retiring next summer and moving to Europe, it will be much easier to maintain my streak living in Europe.

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