Graduation prompts a father, son to brave Mt. Hood
By Carrie A. Mizell
For many high school seniors the promise of graduation means freedom, days spent lounging by the water and carefree time spent with friends.
For Will George, a 2009 graduate of Trenton High School, the months prior to graduation were spent training for his graduation trip, a grueling climb up Oregon’s famed Mount Hood.
Denny and Hallie George are shown with their son Will at his graduation.
Will and his father, Denny George, traveled to Mount Hood, which is located at the northern end of the Oregon cascades in June to climb the state’s highest peak.
“It was a celebration of Will’s graduation,” Denny explained. “One we were woefully unprepared for … it was tough!”
Despite spending several months running and lifting weights in preparation for their guided climb, both Will and Denny were rocked by just how strenuous the 10 hours of active climbing would be on their lean bodies, not to mention the cold temperatures.
After registering with Timberline Mountain Guides of Bend, Oregon, the men spent the first day of their summit climb experience taking a Basic Snow Climbing Course which culminated the next day, July 20, with a snow cat ride to the top of the Timberline Ski Area, and from there a 10- hour ascent of Mount Hood. It being both Will and Denny’s first climb, the men opted for this entry level technical climb, which required them to use a rope, crampons and an ice axe.
A lookout from the summit of Mount Hood, which is located at the northern end of the Oregon cascades.
“It was raining and sleeting the day before our climb and Will had been sick,” Denny said. “I really wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to do it.”
With a guide leading them, Will and Denny began their climb at midnight. The hours spent climbing in the cold, dark night paid off when they reached the summit at 5 a.m. From the summit the men could see Mt. Adam, St. Helens and Mt. Rainier to the north and Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters to the south.
“It was so cold on the summit that we looked around quickly and only spent maybe 15 to 20 minutes up there,” Denny said.
While it was truly an experience of a lifetime, and one that neither father or son will soon forget, Denny said he may take his younger son to Costa Rica on a surfing trip for his high school graduation rather than braving the glaciers of Mt. Hood once again.