Recreation

Climbing Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood is 11,240 ft. in elevation, an active volcano, and has 11 glaciers. The peak is part of the Mt. Hood Wilderness. Mt. Hood attracts about 10,000 climbers a year.

Climbing Report:

Updated 6/23/22

Sunny clear skies are expected through the weekend! With mountain conditions still seeing great snow coverage, the coming days should be very busy with climbers. Plan for traffic on the South Side Climbing Route, be sure to start early. Safe climbers will plan to be off the upper mountain early in the day to avoid increased avalanche and rockfall/icefall hazard, along with weakening snow bridges.

WEATHER NOTES: After nearly a month defined by wind and precipitation, this weekend brings warm and clear weather. Starting Thursday, temperatures will moderately increase each day through the weekend. Free air freezing levels are forecast to reach 15000 feet on Sunday. Wind will increase to moderate gusting to strong starting Friday through the weekend.

SNOW CONDITIONS: With consistent clear skies and warm temperatures in the forecast, expect snow surface conditions to saturate rapidly through the weekend. Upper mountain areas will experience freeze thaw conditions. This means firm conditions in the early morning and soft conditions in the afternoon. With lower mountain areas potentially not freezing overnight, be on the lookout for signs of snowpack instability such as rollerballs and pinwheels. 

MOUNTAIN HAZARDS. Many hazards can exist on Mt. Hood. Some of these include:

Avalanches: Snowpack conditions and stability can change rapidly with large temperature swings. 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. Avalanches can happen any month of the year.

Rockfall: Varying snow coverage will create varying exposure of loose rock on the upper mountain. With temperatures expected to warm, melting snow will free up loose rock to fall across the upper mountain.

Icefall: Significant ice accumulation exists on the upper mountain. Like rockfall, warming tends to produce icefall.

Glacial features: Many glacial features are masked or bridged with winter snow. While some snow bridges may be strong, many others may not support your body weight, and they all might look the same from the snow surface. Again, with warm conditions, snow bridges will rapidly weaken throughout the day.

Long, sliding falls: With strong winds across Mt Hood, large sections of firm snow and ice create surfaces ideal for long, sliding falls that are difficult or impossible to arrest. Such falls have resulted in many fatalities.

Glissading: Glissading has its time and place but also results in many accidents on Cascade volcanoes. Remove crampons to avoid potential serious lower leg injury.

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 is currently closed.

PERMITS AND HUMAN WASTE PACK OUT: Please carry one or more human waste pack out bags and use them if you need to defecate while on the mountain! Blue Bags are available free of charge at the Climbers Registration at Timberline. 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 are required year-round on the South Side climbing route. If you’re travelling above the Timberline Ski Area boundary, you need to complete a Wilderness permit at the Climbers Registration.
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. Complete these forms at the Climbers Registration at Timberline.

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.

‚Äč -Samuel Clairmont, Climbing Ranger

 

Climbing at a Glance

Current Conditions: The Northwest Avalanche Center issues daily avalanche forecasts through spring.  National Weather Service forecast links:
Rentals & Guides: Outfitter/guide organizations currently authorized to conduct climbing services on Mt Hood:
Permit Info:
  • Climbers must have a Wilderness permit in their possession year-round when on the south side climbing route of Mt. Hood. Permits are available at the Wy'East Timberline Day Lodge. Wilderness permits are required for all other areas of the Mt. Hood Wilderness from May 15 through October 15 annually.
  • Climbing Register forms are highly recommended. They provide rescuers crucial information if a rescue is initiated on your behalf. Complete these forms at the Climbers Registration at Timberline.
Restrictions:
  • Group size limit is 12
  • Mount Hood Wilderness Restrictions & Guidelines for Mount Hood's upper reaches.
  • Please carry one or more human waste pack out bags and use them if you need to defecate while on the mountain. Blue Bags are available free of charge at the Climbers Registration at Timberline. No one wants to see human waste on the mountain. Pack yours out!
Restroom: Climbers Registration restroom is currently open.
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.

Climbing Video: