After having my own intended summit attempt thwarted by a nasty mountain top storm, I decided to join Dave and the group for the memorial visit with Jakk's ashes. I was able to talk one of my regular hiking companions into going, the rest had to work.
We drove from Seattle on Sunday morning, arriving at Timberline around 11:00 AM. I thought the HP group would be long gone, but Becky Covill met us in the parking lot, introduced herself, and said the last of the group was just hitting the trail. We, being of the reasonable (vs purist) persuasion, chose to take the ski lift as far as it would take us, to 8500'.
When we left Timberline, the weather was not great, but not terrible. As we stepped off the lift, it became apparent that all the bad weather was below us. This held true for the next 24 hours.
We heard there were "flat" spots for camping somewhere around 9000', and we searched in vain, always thinking they would be over the next ridge. Finally, at 9500', we found a reasonably flat spot, and called it home. Never did see any obvious camping spots.
We made camp, melted snow, and enjoyed the beatiful weather. Visibility was perfect, and we could see the entire top of the mountain. The clouds below us just seemed to thicken, but never reached us. The wind was mild throughout the night.
The HP party started showing up about 500' below us at 4 PM. We new it was them, but didn't intend to descend just to say hi. We'd meet up with them in the morning.
Set the alarm for 3 AM, thinking we needed a very early start to beat the warming of the day, but looked around outside, and didn't see a sole on the mountain. Back to sleep for a couple of hours!
Finally got up and hit the trail at 6:30. Could see the HP group already on their way, about 15 minutes ahead of us. It was light enough that headlamps were not needed, so we started to follow the footprints.
There is not much mystery to this mountain, particularly when visibility is so good. We caught up with the group a little before the Hogsback, and after a round of introductions, we were on our way.
Rope teams were assigned at the Hogsback, and everything went smoothly. The climb was leisurely, and we reached the summit at 8:15, the last rope team to do so. We were in the mountain's shadow until near the top. The ceremony was very touching, and everyone felt a special connection to Jakk and the beauty of the land he loved.
The descent was uneventful and the snow was still firm enough for safe passage. The trip down, on foot, was long with the full packs. As I said, the weather on the mountain was exceptional. Sunny, mild, a slight breeze. As we approached Timberline, we entered the clouds, and the wind picked up. By the time we reached the parking lot, it was 34 degrees, and the wind was blowing 30 mph. It was downright freezing!
Overall, you could not have asked fopr a better trip. Last stop, a must, was the Mt. Hood Brew Pub!