Asit Rathod and Friends Go All Out to Document

the Seven Classic Ski Descents of Mount Hood

Asit Rathod and friends, enjoying the summit of Mount Hood. Ian Bristow is on the ridge with Brian Ellsworth. Asit is in red, skiing down, while Shawn Hokkanen, Carlos Martinez and Blake McCoy wait for their turns. Photos by Richard Hallman

Asit Rathod knows Mount Hood.

He has climbed and skied Mount Hood 234 times and counting, and completed all seven of its classic ski descents. Over the course of his adventures, Asit has accumulated serious insight about the 11,239-foot summit of Mount Hood.

His goal is to distil his knowledge into a book and video documentary project due for release in the fall of 2018 and, as always, to have a good time in the process. He describes the project as “an ode to the mountain we love.”

The film portion is titled “Seven Summits in Seven Days,” and it shifted into high gear this spring with helicopter rentals, aerial footage, and high-energy group efforts. Asit and his mountaineering partners Carlos Martinez, Brian Ellsworth, Blake McCoy and Shawn Hokkanen have been tearing it up in the fast-melting spring snow, while photographer Richard Hallman and videographers Pierce Hodges and Rod Parmenter capture the action from above.

The conditions on Mount Hood this past month have ranged from solid ice to quicksand-like slush, forcing some high-consequence on-the-mountain decision-making. Asit invested $5,000 in a helicopter rental with the plan to ski down the Newton Clark Headwall on May 10th, but he eventually decided to turn back due to unsafe conditions in favor of a more stable route down the mountain’s south side. On April 29th he radioed in from the summit to call off a different planned heli shoot, after determining that conditions were too hazardous.

Asit’s goal is to document all seven of the ski lines down from the summit: Wy’East Face, the Newton Clark Headwall, Cooper Spur, the Sunshine Route, the Sandy Glacier Headwall, Leuthold’s Couloir, and the South Side Route.

He says his favorite line down Mount Hood is the one that scares him just past the point of comfort.

Conditions always determine what that line will be. The line that makes me most comfortable is Old Chute to West Crater Rim. The line that makes me feel most uncomfortable is Sandy Glacier Headwall. Sandy is one of the most aesthetically beautiful descents on Mount Hood. It also has the greatest exposure to get out of to safety. Too much traversing below big exposure after the fun is done.

Here are a few sketches from Asit’s book project to whet your appetite:

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