Climbing Mt. Hood
Mt. Hood is an 11,240-foot volcano and has 11 glaciers. The peak is part of the Mount Hood Wilderness. Mt. Hood attracts an estimated 10,000 climbers a year.
- Climb mid-week for reduced crowds.
- Mt. Hood is a technical climb and requires planning. Please consider a guided climb.
- Watch the video below for some tips.
- View the planning & safety climbing page for more info.
- View current conditions photos during the climbing season.
The mountain has gone through daily melt-freeze cycles this week, leaving hard icy conditions on the upper mountain in the early hours of each day. As we near the weekend though, we are expecting warmer overnight temperatures. This may soften the icy snow and make for easier climbing conditions, but it will also increase the rockfall and icefall hazards. Climb early and keep your eyes and ears out for falling debris, especially as the day progresses. There will be a full moon Saturday night and we expect to see many climbers on the mountain! Please look out for climbers above and below.
With the free air freezing level forecast above the summit elevation through this weekend we don’t expect much of an overnight freeze. Warm temperatures increase the risk of rockfall and icefall. Please travel early on any terrain with steep slopes or cliffs overhead. The forecast shows clear blue skies with light to moderate wind. This is a perfect recipe for sunburns. Sun protection is highly encouraged.
This week produced hard icy conditions early morning with afternoon softening of surface snow. Temperatures should warm this weekend and we expect to see a much earlier thaw on the upper mountain. Parties reported good, albeit icy, climbing conditions on the upper mountain in the morning hours this week. The crux of the Wy’East route has melted out, leaving a difficult, exposed, and not recommended scramble to reach the summit. The Devils Kitchen Headwall routes all look to be done with for the season. The Leuthold Couloir has significant rock debris from the hourglass down. As we near summer, the conditions are greatly depreciating on the mountain. Routes in climbable condition yesterday may not be tomorrow. Please, travel safe and wisely. There’s plenty to do on the mountain and if it’s not in, please wait for a better time.
Climber congestion: This weekend is expected to be another busy one. Crowding is likely on popular routes. Good conditions bring lines on popular routes. Due to the poor conditions of the Pearly Gates and The Hogsback, South Side climbers can expect most traffic to funnel onto the Old Chute area. Remember that climbers above you may fall, drop gear, and initiate rockfall and icefall: All increased hazards on steep terrain.
Long, sliding falls: The current morning snow surface is hard and icy from daily melt/freeze cycles. These conditions could easily allow a sliding fall that is near impossible to arrest on steep slopes. Sliding falls produce many fatalities on Mt. Hood and other cascade volcanoes.
Rockfall & Icefall: Now that we are out of the winter months, these hazards occur daily. Rock and icefall are lessened at night and but they can still happen any time. Know what is above you, keep vigilant while traveling below steep terrain, and wear a helmet.
Glacial features: Many of the mountains glacial features are open and exposed. Snow bridges will continually break down and crevasses will further widen. Use glacier travel techniques on glaciers and around crevasses.
Avalanches: Your ability to identify avalanche terrain and assess snowpack stability, along with your beacon, probe, and shovel, are often crucial for reasonably safe travel on Mt. Hood. Daily Northwest Avalanche Center avalanche forecasts ended for the season in April. Their website remains a valuable resource for weather station data, public observations, and general avalanche information year-round. Please use these resources to help inform your terrain choices.
ACCESS AND PARKING: The Salmon River lot at the Timberline ski area is currently the primary point of access to the upper mountain. The Cloud Cap Road remains closed due to snow.
PERMITS AND HUMAN WASTE PACK OUT: Wilderness permits are required year-round on the South Side climbing route. You need to complete a Wilderness permit if you’re travelling above the Timberline Ski Area boundary. Please carry one or more “Blue Bag” human waste pack out bags and use them if you need to defecate while on the mountain. No one wants to see human waste on the mountain, but poop sightings can be common on the South Side route. Pack yours out! Wilderness permits and Blue Bags are available free of charge at the Climbers Registration near the entry to the Wy’East Day Lodge at Timberline.
Climbing Register forms are highly recommended. These forms are not checked to ensure that climbers have safely returned, but they provide rescuers crucial information if a rescue is initiated on your behalf.
-Levi Timmerman, Climbing Ranger
REMEMBER: You are responsible for your safety. Those planning to climb should take all necessary equipment for self-rescue and extended stays on the mountain due to weather or incident. There are no emergency medical services available on the mountain. It is a remote location. Any help may be hours or days out, especially in situations where your location or weather would create an unsafe situation for rescuers. It is always advisable to leave your itinerary and estimated time of return with a third party. Climbers Registration is in the Wy’East Day Lodge at Timberline.
Climbing Permit in 2024
Mt. Hood’s popularity as an alpine climbing and ski mountaineering destination has resulted in public health and safety issues, including technical search and rescue operations, human waste in sensitive ecosystems, and parking issues at trailheads. The Mt. Hood climbing program needs more dedicated staff and financial support to help manage and address these issues.
In late 2022, the Forest's citizen advisory committee approved a proposal for a climbing permit for travel above 9,500 ft. Here's a summary of the permit, which will be required starting Jan. 2024.
- Among other improvements, permit fees will be used to provide regular patrols along popular climbing routes, improve climber education, support search and rescue, and reduce human impacts on the natural landscape.
- The climbing permit will only be required for travel above 9,500 ft. The Timberline Trail, Forest trailheads, and the ski areas on Mt. Hood are below this elevation and will not require a climbing permit.
- To maximize flexibility and convenience, the Forest will offer both a single use and an annual climbing permit- available for purchase on Recreation.gov.
- There is not a limit on the number of climbing permits issued.
- The permit will take effect January 2024.
- Learn more about the climbing permit.
Climbing at a Glance
|Current Conditions:||The Northwest Avalanche Center issues daily avalanche forecasts early winter through spring.|
|Rentals & Guides:||Outfitter/guide organizations currently authorized to conduct climbing services on Mt Hood:|
|Restroom:||Climbers Registration restroom is open for the season.|
|Passes:||Some trailheads require a day use fee. View a list of available Recreation Passes that may be used in lieu of day use fee payment. Oregon Sno-Park permits are November 1st to April 30th annually at all Sno-Parks, including all Timberline parking lots and the Tilly Jane Sno-Park,|