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Archive for the ‘Rescue’ Category

rogerpollockI’m following up on a previous post about David Oringulph (Legend Homes) doing an interview in the Oregonian where he states:  There’s really nothing wrong with the housing market from the standpoint of economics….”. 

I really took an exception to his line of thinking and was in complete disagreement of his “feel sorry for me” attitude.   And as if helping prove my point… 

Fast forward 45 days and now the “big-box” builder Roger Pollock (Buena Vista Homes – pictured right) is sending out letters to past clients who bought a home from his company about the MEGA house auction planned for December 15-16th, to the likes the Portland Metro area has never seen.  Sure this type of action is the norm in Las Vegas or the burbs of Phoenix, but here in River City? 

This may well be the largest riches-to-rags story on the planet.  In the Fall of 2006 Buena Vista Homes was hailed (largely self-promotion) as the largest home builder in Oregon having “pulled down” 303 permits in the first 10months.  In addition, “Builder Magazine” named Buena Vista the fastest growing builder in the United States with an amazing growth rate of 162.47 percent. Now we’re seeing the “signs” of over building and developers are panicked to sell anything maybe David Oringulph would like to retract his “the media is the problem” statement? 

Then came “THE LETTER”pollock_letter  Imagine getting a letter from Roger Pollock telling you they have decided to auction the remaining homes in your cul-d-sac and the starting bid is going to be $189k less than what you just paid 6 months ago.  WTF?!! 

Is there no shame from these predatory builders?  How do they ignore customer service, relationships with past clients, further driving prices down and exacerbate the home bubble mentality in an already bleeding market?  This is going to be fascinating to watch.

UPDATE (DEC 17th): Auction sold 141 homes at a total of $65 million in sales over the 2-day period.  Average per home is nearly $461K.  None of the Bend homes were auctioned.  So, is Pollock a Marketing Genius or were people drawn-to-the-light?  

And does he really know how to party like a “Rock Star”?    

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The Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a tech geek feast with thousands of consumer gadgets, technology, and accessories — far too much to cover in one read. CNET had more than 50 reporters covering the show, however, here are my observations on some relevant companies.

All my CES Photo’s are here.

AMD:
HP — new category of home servers. The HP MediaSmart Server uses AMD 1.8Ghz 64-bit Sempron processor.

Raon Digital — Korean based company launched the Vega (Ultra mobile device). An ultra portable PC device that looks like the Sony PSP. The Vega uses the AMD Geode LX800 processor running Windows XP Home edition. Excellent messaging with usage models laser beam focused on navigation, internet and multimedia.

LIVE! — Boasted they were powering the smarter HD experience. HDTV premium cable TV support (with the new ATI TV Wonder); Blu-Ray and HD-DVD playback at 1080p and enhanced audio features with integrated 7.1 audio amplifier. The TV Wonder can handle a number of standards, from NTSC analog television to ATSC over-the-air digital television and, of course, digital cable. The digital tuner is capable of handling all common HDTV resolutions, up to and including 1080p, due to AMD custom chips. Analog tuning capabilities are provided by an ATI Theater 550 chip, while an NXT2003 handles DTV duties. For digital cable, the TV Wonder does no video decompression. It simply receives encrypted data via the cable system and outputs a compressed video stream to the PC. Not just any PC can connect to this TV Wonder. It must meet a stringent set of requirements, including OCUR support in the BIOS and support for HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection). The PC must also be running one of the versions of Windows Vista—Home Premium or Ultimate—with built-in Media Center functionality. Media Center support for OCUR must then be activated with a code, much like Windows Vista activation. Other CES news for AMD here.

Bill Gates

IPTV:
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 — the video game console will soon get an online television service based on the company’s IPTV software. The service will offer on-demand video, channel guides, digital video recording, and other features. Gates told the CES audience that IPTV providers like AT&T, British Telecom and Deutsche Telecom can now use the Xbox 360 as their set-top box in those deployments. The Xbox 360 can now act as an alternative receiver and recorder. Gaming has always been the supposed killer app of interactive television, so by selling IPTV to the gaming generation, Microsoft may have come up with a brilliant marketing angle.

Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Players:
LG (BH100) introduced the first combo Blu-Ray/HD-DVD player. Although expensive at $1,200, the player puts pressure on other deck makers to adopt both formats and, more importantly, allows potential buyers to finally purchase discs according to which movie they like–not which player they own. LG also introduced a $1,199 computer drive, model GGW-H10N, capable of playing HD DVDs and playing and recording Blu-ray discs at up to 4x speed. It can also read and write DVDs and CDs.

Automobile Navigation and Infotainment:
Dash Express — is the first portable navigation system to have built-in two-way connectivity (cellular and Wi-Fi), giving drivers access to information via the Internet and the network of other Dash-connected users. The system display real-time traffic data, which comes from the network of other Dash drivers, while Web connectivity gives drivers a points-of-interest database served up by Yahoo Local, with whom Dash announced a partnership last week. Its Yahoo Local search gives drivers access to a points-of-interest database as big as the Web itself, and Dash throws in neat features such as the ability to search for gas stations by fuel price and for movie theaters by showtime.

Sync — In Gates keynote, generated a lot of buzz at the show and a CNET CES award, however, Sync is essentially the Microsoft Blue & Me product announced a year ago with Fiat. Fiat had a one-year global exclusive; now Ford has a one year exclusive in the U.S. market. Sync is more robust according to Microsoft, but it’s missing the GPS navigation feature. Sync is a small, in-dash computer running Windows Automotive, with 256 Mbytes of RAM and a 400-MHz StrongArm 11 processor. More than 50 cars already use Windows Automotive as an in-car operating system. Initially to be made available in twelve 2008 models across the Ford family and across the entire 2009 lineup from FoMoCo, the service will be a fully-integrated, flash memory-based system that enables drivers to call hands-free and to control a range of digital audio via voice commands and buttons mounted on the steering wheel. Microsoft stated that its software will be updatable, probably via the USB port. However, with Blue & Me cars, the user could request navigation instructions using the cellphone. A remote computer parses the request, confirms it’s the address or business you want, then downloads navigation instructions and rudimentary maps, navigating via arrows. The route instructions are spoken through the car speakers; the map information appears on the radio faceplate.

Mobile TV:
MediaFlo — Verizon Wireless partnered with MediaFlo to create a truly watchable TV-on-phone experience. V Cast Mobile TV offers full-length, live television programming on selected handsets via a dedicated UHF signal. There’s little of the pixelated, choppy effects of 3G video streaming, and audio/video syncing and channel switching is zippy. I’ve not been a large proponent of steaming TV on cell phones, but the quality of this solution will increasingly get people to use cell phones to watch videos.

HDTV:
Samsung — (FP-T5894W) wireless TV, the first of its kind, comes with a separate base station that accepts connections from A/V gear and wirelessly transmits to the 58-inch plasma panel via 802.11n at a range of up to 300 feet. Bit rates up to 150Mbps–plenty for 1080p video. This Samsung is the first big-screen integrated wireless TV I’ve seen. Sidebar: Samsung was the only booth with “no photo” tags everywhere. People ignored the tags, but made me wonder why they had them?

Sharp — claimed to have the world’s largest LCD TV: the 108-inch 1080p Aquos
Sony — BRAVIA Internet Video System. Sony announced this free service to be offered on the majority of new Sony televisions starting with several Bravia LCD TVs. The new televisions will accept an attachable module called the Bravia Internet Video Link, can stream broadband high-definition and other internet video content with the press of a remote control button. Sony said the module will be available summer 2007. Partners include AOL, Yahoo and Grouper, now part of Sony Pictures Entertainment, as well as Sony Pictures itself and Sony BMG. Executives from the first three companies joined Glasgow for a demonstration to show off a range of content from Movies to Sports events and even user generated content. The Sony Xross Media Bar (XMB), an icon-based user interface similar to what is already found on PlayStation 3 (PS3), PSP and a recently introduced Sony A/V receiver, made its debut in conjunction with the Internet video demo. The device doesn’t need a PC.

OLED – Sony had a dozen prototype organic-light-emitting-diode (OLED) screens, on display (see picture). They featured an incredible 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio (compared to ratios of 5,000:1 for conventional LCD TVs) and a 180-degree viewing range, and, most of all, they were super thin—a 27-inch model was only 10-mm thick.

BRAVIA KDL-70XBR3, 70 inch 1080p LCD and first to offer x.v.Color, MotionFlow (120hz fast-frame rate), 10-bit pane and processing, Triluminos LED backlighting with 7000:1 contrast ratio.

Wireless:
Gefen — launched a $500 Wireless HDMI Extender showcasing 1080p video.

Samsung — showcased the SPH-P9000 WiMax Phone. The latest in mobile convergence device. It’s a PDA-based device utilizing Mobile WiMax and CDMA EV-DO connectivity for wireless access to the Internet and simultaneously providing mobile phone connection for voice communication.

CellSTART — allows users to control keyless entry, remote start and vehicle security systems through cell phones. The product uses proprietary software that provides a graphical interface on the cell phone for functions such as unlocking and locking doors, starting and stopping the engine, and providing notifications to users in the event of vehicle theft. CellSTART was developed by Crayon Interface, and is manufactured and distributed by JBS Technologies. CellSTART is supported by Crayon Interface’s Moshi wireless platform technology. Moshi turns cell phones into remote control and monitoring devices through graphical software downloaded over-the-air to phones and a data network for dispatching messages between cell phones and various devices.

Content:
Starz (Vongo) — partnered with Microsoft to bundle/pre-load Vongo’s application on all PCs and Laptops shipped with Vista OS. Vongo is a video downloading service offering unlimited subscription access to hit movies, TV shows, and more, all for just $9.99 per month. Subscribers can browse the video library from a TV set through a networked PC when the TV is connected to a Windows Media Center Extender such as Xbox 360. Users and download the movie and stream it to another part of the home network. Downloads can reside on up to three devices, including laptops and portable media players (based on Microsoft’s Portable Media Center Version 2).

CBS — partnered with Sling Media’s “place-shifting” technology to let users access premium home channels while away from any Internet-connected device, on a test of a service that will allow users to share short segments of CBS programming. The Clip+Sling service will allow owners of Sling Media’s Slingbox device to clip and share content directly from live or recorded TV shows with both other Slingbox owners and others over the Internet.

Sony — BRAVIA Internet Video System a free service to be offered on the majority of new Sony televisions starting with several Bravia LCD TVs. The new televisions will accept an attachable module called the Bravia Internet Video Link, can stream broadband high-definition and other internet video content with the press of a remote control button. Sony said the module will be available summer 2007. Partners include AOL, Yahoo and Grouper, now part of Sony Pictures Entertainment, as well as Sony Pictures itself and Sony BMG. Executives from the first three companies joined Glasgow for a demonstration to show off a range of content from Movies to Sports events and even user generated content. The Sony Xross Media Bar (XMB), an icon-based user interface similar to what is already found on PlayStation 3 (PS3), PSP and a recently introduced Sony A/V receiver, made its debut in conjunction with the Internet video demo. The device doesn’t need a PC.

HDMI v1.3:
The new standard for the highest-quality digital A/V connection, and being dubbed as “the 1080p of 2007.” HDMI Licensing LLC, the company behind the connection, along with Mitsubishi and Dolby, did their best to convince people about the benefits of the new HDMI standard. The net-net: HDMI 1.3 has more than twice the bandwidth of the previous version (10.2 Gbps vs. 4.95 Gbps), which allows manufacturers of all flavors to offer a range of future extras. These can include: Deep Color (HDMI is limited to 8-bit); Wider Color Gamut; support for Dolby and DTS lossless audio formats; Lip-Sync compensation. The only confirmed devices with HDMI 1.3 are the PlayStation 3 and the upcoming Toshiba HD-XA2 HD-DVD player and Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 1080 projector (model EPM-TW1000).

Operating Systems:
Vista RESCUE — hard to miss, from the gigantic Vista banner at the airport, to the exclusive space completely separate from Microsoft’s main booth, promoting the new operating system (Consumer launch set for Jan. 30, 2007). Most all hardware vendors talking about its plans to incorporate Vista in upcoming models so the buzz on the floor is positive and interest seems high.

OEMs:
HP — Touch-screen capability is a standard feature in Windows Vista Home Premium, and HP has put it to use in a $1,799 TouchSmart PC IQ770. Many features you’d expect in a midrange all-in-one PC system (DVD burner, Wi-Fi, wireless mouse and keyboard), HP also included an application suite called SmartCenter. The apps include an organizer/calendar and photo-editing software that are all touch screen-driven and ridiculously easy to use. Families will want this.

Sony — VAIO XL3 Digital Living Room System. Included a Blu-ray DVD burner, CableCard support for digital cable reception, and Windows Vista Home Premium. Had a Core 2 Duo, 2GB memory, a 500GB hard drive, and a GeForce 7600 GTL graphics card with an HDMI output. It also comes with both NTSC and ATSC tuners, for analog cable and over-the-air HD, respectively. Not cheap for a $3,300 PC, but Blu-ray burners and Sony-engineered component-style chassis have never come cheap.

Sony — VAIO TP1 Living Room System. Spherical shaped PC encased in lacquer white elegant skin. Dubbed the PC intelligence for your TV-browser with built-in TV tuners, wireless LAN, Media Center and HDMI connectivity.

Alienware — Area 51 m9750. Core 2 Duo (overclocking is an option) up to 2GB of 667MHz RAM and two 7,200rpm hard drives with up to 400GB total capacity, and two Nvidia GeForce Go 7950 graphics cards in a scalable link interface for fast gaming performance. Laptop is Vista-based w/ 17-inch screen is the first to hit the market with two graphics cards. Also includes an integrated TV tuner as well as a Blu-ray drive. Alienware is trying to hit a price point for less than $2,000–which would make it one of the most affordable gaming laptops.

Home Storage/Servers:
HP — a new batch of devices unveiled at the Microsoft keynote is the HP MediaSmart Server (AMD 1.8Ghz 64-bit Sempron processor), which runs Windows Home Server. You can access into the MediaSmart Server from an Internet-connected computer anywhere in the world to access your files and applications, leveraging enhanced security features. With four hard drive bays and four USB ports for external drives, Vista-compatible the MediaSmart Server can be an ideal solution for centralizing and sharing your growing media library.

Hardware & Software Innovation:
Powercast (formerly Firefly Power Technologies) — (Pennsylvania start-up; John Shearer, CEO) is looking to change the way we interact and charge our handheld gadgets. They use energy from a transmitted RF signal to power small, battery-operated devices–cell phones and wireless PC peripherals. The transmitter can be placed in anything that plugs into the wall (lamps, alarm clocks, and so on) and can send a low, continuous signal to small gadgets that contain an embedded receiver.

EyeSpot — Offers drag and drop flash video editing direct to consumers and in partnership with companies like Blip.tv and Veoh. Competitor Jumpcut was acquired by Yahoo! last month. From cell phone ring tones to short video clips, online multimedia editing is clearly being bet on as the next step for the YouTube generation. Veoh has Michael Eisner and Overture’s last CEO Ted Meisel on its board. Blip.tv is the foundation of CNN’s new citizen video initiative. Partnerships like this make Eyespot look like VideoEgg, the company that provides browser based video capture to social networking sites from Bebo to Dogster. Liz Gannes reports that Eyespot also has partnerships with Lions Gate Entertainment, Current TV, Zomba/Jive, TVT, Columbia, Epic, Island Records, and Concord Records.

Bones in Motion — location-aware application developer. Launched at DEMO 2006 their first products is BiM Active and BiM Active Online which are fitness tracking and logging solutions for people living healthy lifestyles. Partnered with Verizon Wireless, runners can easily track, store and share running routes and important training information while listening to music on their Verizon Phones.

JuiceCaster — Mobile Social Network. Juice Wireless, creators of the moblogging platform JuiceCaster. As a consumer-facing site, I found it unconvincing – not clear if it’s mobile photo sharing, or moblogging? Perhaps it’s MySpace for cellphones? It’s hard to tell.

WaveMarket — WaveBlog enables consumers to create location-aware multimedia Weblogs with their mobile phones using an innovative map-based interface. Content can be for private use like a family photo album, or published publicly where the user-generated comments and pictures are categorized, ranked and location-tagged to enable dynamic real-time mobile communities. SMS messages link you to the hippest club-goer through the Entertainment Portal community, allowing you to view pictures of club scenes in real-time. Sell your restaurant reservation to someone nearby. Be warned by the Weblog community of pickpockets around the Roman Coliseum. Mobile users will become the biggest sources of location-specific information and media, accessible by mobile phone or PC.

Smarter Agent — combines mobile location technology, such as GPS, with information about real estate, neighborhoods and interesting places around you. By delivering location-relevant content to mobile devices and the Internet, consumers and professionals can learn, interact and transact with the world around them.

ES3 — A method of identifying content properties such that “the content” can be rendered in many different ways targeting the needs of the end-user. Solution increases revenue opportunities for the Content Provider/Portals and increases Broadband efficiencies for the Telcos. Based on “rich” Meta Data, the ES3 method can identify and “remove” undesired content elements at time of rendering and allows for personalization of content by the end-user

Raon Digital — Korean based company launched the Vega. An ultra portable PC device that looks like the Sony PSP. The Vega uses the AMD Geode LX800 processor running Windows XP Home edition. Excellent messaging with usage models laser beam focused on navigation, internet and multimedia. No information on software eco-system support.

Agere — The portable media usage scenario is: user has cellphone, user has portable media device, user wishes portable media device could be integrated into cellphone so user only needs to take with them one device. Agere’s new BluOnyx device, by way of Bluetooth, SD card, or USB, users load up their BluOnyx which wirelessly transfers via Bluetooth to the user’s cellphone for playback. Ability to easily broadcast video to everyone (or just your specified friends) in your vicinity via Bluetooth, or quickly backup your phone to a portable hard drive are interesting ideas, it’s not clear that the novelty is enough to get you to leave your media player at home.

Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps…

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Mt Hood - From Hood River, OR

The unfortunate turn of events on Mt Hood for Kelly James is sad. And now the massive rescue effort has many calling for a winter month climbing ban and/or forcing location aware devices as you enter any state park. The banter has started…

“They should’ve known”….”They could’ve stopped”….”If they would’ve just…”

And what about who will pay the expense? Some even debate why it seems that out-of-state climbers create the major issues. It doesn’t matter! You and I will pay, but that doesn’t matter. The Hendricks Report has been covering the story non-stop.  We need to find Brian and Jerry. We need to do as much as possible as early as possible to help rescue these two men. Of course there is no blank check, but rescue costs are not significant. Let’s act for the less fortunate rather than resurrect old debates.

The perception that climbers are a significant drain on search and rescue services is just not supported by national or state data. An excellent report is here.

Specifically in Oregon there is a requirement that sheriffs report every search and rescue mission in the state—whether performed for a recreational participant, lost child or escaped criminal. This allows the Oregon Office of Emergency Management to perform the most comprehensive analysis of any state in the country. And despite the high level of climbing activity occurring in Oregon, climbing rescues ranked seventh in the state among all categories, representing a significantly smaller share of all rescues than common activities including hiking, motor vehicle use in the backcountry and hunting.

The report points out that the National Park Service in 2003 spent $3.5 million for personnel, supplies, aircraft and vessels to respond to 3,108 search and rescue missions, an average of $1,116 per incident. These search and rescue costs represent a very small portion of the National Park Service’s annual operating budget. For example, during the six year period from 1993 to 1998, search and rescue costs system wide accounted for 0.15% to 0.2% of the entire park service budget. This amounted to approx 1.5 cents out of total costs of $6 per visitor to run the National Park system.

Charging for rescues conflicts with national policies and creates legal liability issues. State laws currently allow the recovery of rescue costs, but vary in terms of the amount that can be recouped and the standard that is applied is based on “reasonable care was exercised” vs. intentionally, knowingly and willfully” entering an area closed to the public.

So, give me a break and go back to writing your Dear Santa letters to see if you’ve been naughty or nice…

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Mt. Hood Summer


Mt. Hood in Summer.

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Mt Hood Rescue


Given all the press over the past few days about rescue efforts to find the 3 missing climbers (Kelly James, Brian Hall and Jerry “Nikko” Cooke), on Mt. Hood , it made me reflect of the one-and-only time I climbed that same mountain. Of course it wasn’t in the middle of December, but none-the-less it was a challenging adventure for someone with no mountaineering background.

It wasn’t until I was 3 hours into the mountain climb with the crunch of crampons on ice and a heavy fog filled the predawn air that I fully appreciated the skills, hurdles and human conditioning required to do this every other weekend. Let alone execute a rescue like Portland Mt. Rescue in poor weather conditions, with extremely high avalanche hazards and with hurricane force winds.

Here are my summit stats:
Mazama – Summit Certificate
Ascended MT. Hood (South side) on May 16, 1978
Leader: Dick Sawyer w/ assistant Steve Rearder

Mt. Hood is one of several volcanoes on the west coast of the U.S. It is located about fifty miles east of Portland, Oregon in the Mt. Hood National Forest near Hood River. It is very easy to reach the trailhead since it starts at the parking lot of Timberline Lodge at an elevation of 6,000 feet, which is the base for the ski runs located on Hood’s southern slopes. It is common to see skiers high up on Hood. In fact, last year/season the ski area Meadow’s broke the all-time skier/boarder attendance record with 1.83 million visits.

But the mountain can also be very dangerous as noted by the deaths in May 2002 of climbers falling into a crevasse and a helicopter rescue gone bad. The nine climbers were swept into a 50-foot wide and 20-foot deep crevasse, known as the Bergschrund, early in the morning. Three of the climbers were killed and four more were critically injured.

And despite being the site of one of the worst climbing disasters in the U.S. in 1986 and that in the past 100 years, there have been 130 deaths on Mount Hood, it is very popular for various skill levels and some 40,000 people fill out permits to climb it every year.

But I digress, I summited Hood in May 1978 (yeah, I know that was before Al Goreinvented” the internet!) with two friends, Mike and Gary along with a number of other climbers who we never met before. We used the standard route named the “Hogsback”. It is a very long, but straightforward day. We climbed independently most of the time, but roped up near the summit since the final ridge is exposed, slippery and can be windy.

The previous day we met up at Timberline Lodge to get final information and register with our guides from Mazama and the Park Service. We got the paperwork filled out and proceeded to an orientation as we spread all our gear on the floor for a final check and a quick refresher course on the “rest-step”, crevasse rescue and harness/rope travel. Mike, Gary and I looked at each other…”refresher”…we didn’t know about crevasses, or ropes, but we all thought the ice axe was cool. After the “lesson”, we killed a few hours in the lodge giving Heidi some love (a St. Bernard who has since past away) who was the lodge’s goodwill ambassador. Bruno has since replace Heidi and is doing a fine job continuing the role. We over nighted in the Chalet Rooms. These are European-style bunk rooms with shared access to a public bathroom with showers centrally located in the hallway. We had a 3am wake up call and everyone knew it would be difficult to sleep. The “snorer’s” seem to be asleep in seconds and kept most of us from any quality shut eye in the bunks.

We started the climb at 4:00am after a big bowl of oatmeal from the cafe. The route was clearly marked (by our flashlights) with a big sign stating “Climber’s Route” as well as discs on tall poles. This route takes climbers along the east side of the ski runs. The starting elevation is about 6,000 feet. The steady slope rises two miles to the top of the ski runs (oh how we wished for a chair ride on Palmer!) at a 30 degree grade. You are cold for the first 30 minutes then the steady grade gets the blood flowing in the legs and you begin to peel off layers.

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I was surprised to see so many other people climbing on this foggy morning. There was no wind, but the heavy fog made it cold anytime you took a rest.

As the sun came up we were treated to the burn off of fog and the shadow of Hood off to the west. I seemed a little slower than my friends, but I plodded along…step-rest-step-rest. We took a longer rest at the base of the Hogsback about 10,000′. I remember the strong smell of “eggs”…sulfur…I expect from the out-gassing of the mountain. Looking up at the ridge, it was clear we needed to rope up for safety otherwise a quick slide down the mountain would likely happen. So on with the harnesses as I latched onto the rope.

I plodded along near the end of the rope for the short climb up the ridge. I remember someone shouted “FALLing” so, we all fell onto the snow with ice axes to prevent an accident. The person only slide 10-20 feet. We were all down to short sleeve shirts by this time as the sun was in full force. At Bergshund split the ridge about halfway to the twin rock towers called the Pearly Gates. We took a path to the left to reach a narrow gap in the Bergshund. Once across, we continued our climbing to the Gates. Waiting for a number of people already on the way down and everyone else to arrive, I enjoyed the views of the Kitchen and surrounding pinnacles and ridges. And that sulfur smell continued on… We disconnected from our rope and quickly headed for the summit saddle. About 200′ at an aggressive angle and then we were there.

On top! It was about 11:00am and it had taken seven hours to climb the 5400′. Everyone enjoyed the views and took pictures as well as made a quick climb to the true summit about a hundred feet away and maybe 50′ vertical.

On the downclimb, we roped up again until we were at the bottom of the Hogsback. From there it was a simple matter of tracing our steps back to the parking lot. With the steep slopes, we enjoyed some glissading in the black trash bags we packed and that sped things up quite a bit. It took us about 3 hours to return.

I think Mt. Hood is more challenging than advertised, especially if the weather is poor. The route is straightforward as long as you use Crater Rock as a guiding landmark. The crevasses are grouped off the primary route but climbers have been known to “find” them during whiteouts or storms.

As I reflect I remember it was a quiet May afternoon and my body was absorbing the warmth from the midday sun. In fact, it was too much sun. I remember wondering as we down climbed Hogsback that the people coming up were covered in Zinc Oxide? As I unbuckled my harness in the parking lot and felt the stiffness in my body…in particular my face…I realized my Sunforgettable SPF was forgotten and the bright red colorescience in my face was not being out of breath, but for NOT applying sunscreen.

My face and forehead peeled for a week. But, 20+ years later I’ll never forget this positive experience with good friends and have never once thought about doing Mount Kilimanjaro.

I hope only the best for these 3 climbers.

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