Mt Hood Climbing Conditions
South Side Climbing Conditions – [July 26, 2012]
Please note this will be the last climbing report for the 2012 season due to decreased climber activity.
The routes on the south side have been in fairly good shape but should be deteriorating quickly with the heat of the summer, so as always, approach with caution. The crevasse/glide crack on the traverse up to the Hogsback has gotten too cracked up to traverse, so climbers have been going left of the glide crack up through a small patch of dirt until they hit snow. With the recent spring/summer warming trend, the Bergschrund above the Hogsback is widening and another crack just below it and to climber’s right has opened up. The re-alignment of the Hogsback is resulting in a steep traverse up and through the Pearly Gates. As these cracks grow larger, the snow bridge between shrinks, and many climbers have chosen the Old Chute to minimize exposure to the Bergschrund and rockfall/icefall. The Old Chute route is more exposed than the Pearly Gates once on the summit ridge. From the top of the Old Chute, be careful traversing this ridge towards the true summit; there is a dangerous two-foot wide section of the ridge. To one side of the ridge there is a 2,000 foot drop, to the other side is a 150 foot drop.
When you leave either parking area, please use the Climber’s Trail just east of the ski area to avoid resort operations.
As always, visibility above tree line can go from good to bad quickly, making navigation difficult. Use caution and be aware of the rapidly changing weather if you choose to climb this weekend or into next week.
Please check the NOAA weather service and the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center for up to date snow and weather conditions expected on Mt. Hood. Also, web sites exist that contain anecdotal trip reports that may or may not prove helpful.
Spring climbing conditions can be dangerous and unpredictable. Sudden storms, avalanche hazard, and high winds can happen at any time and may make climbing conditions dangerous and potential search and rescue even more dangerous. Those planning to climb should take all necessary equipment for self rescue and sustained stays on the mountain if it becomes necessary to wait out a storm. Avalanche rescue gear such as beacon, shovel, and probe is also strongly recommended. Mountain locator units are available for rent at REI and Mt. Hood Inn. Personal locator beacons, like a SPOT device, are also an option. Cell phones are a good idea but be advised they may not work in many locations. All climbers are required to pack out human waste. Blue bags are available at the climbers register in the Wyeast Day Lodge. Please adhere to a Leave No Trace ethic while on the mountain so climbers after you may enjoy their experience.
Short term weather conditions:
See NOAA Mt. Hood forecast:
a) go to - http://forecast.weather.gov
b) type-in zipcode 97028
c) click on the top of Mt. Hood on the map for a local Forecast. Note the elevation of the forecast you are reading!
d) click “Zone Forecast for Northern Oregon Cascades” for a regional forecast
Short term weather and avalanche conditions:
Conditions on the mountain change rapidly. This report does not point out all hazards. Don't expect that what is described here is what you will find. These reports are from competent climbers who are sharing their observations at one point in time. You need to be evaluating conditions and weather throughout your climb.