Climbing Mount Hood

  

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

  • Climb mid-week for reduced crowds.
  • Mt. Hood is a technical climb and requires planning. If you are new to climbing, please consider a guided climb.
  • Find more Mt. Hood climbing questions from the Mazamas.
  • Watch the video below for some tips.

Mt Hood Fall Climbing Update, 10/13/21:

As the fall weather progresses, snow is beginning to accumulate on the mountain, albeit very thin and patchy. Wintry storms are becoming more frequent and can quickly change conditions on the mountain. Glacial features are thinly covered if not fully exposed. At this time, conditions on Mt Hood can be very poor and summit climbs are generally not recommended by climbing rangers. We will occasionally provide updates through the winter and resume regular climbing reports in spring 2022.

WEATHER NOTES: Expect increasingly unstable weather as the weeks progress closer to winter. Weather on Mt Hood can change very fast. Freezing levels and snow levels can vary greatly from day to day. If choosing to climb Mt Hood, please be prepared for all weather conditions, including a map and GPS for periods of poor visibility.

SNOW CONDITIONS: With passing storms through the last couple weeks, snow is developing on upper elevations of the mountain. As of this posting snow coverage is very thin to nonexistent over loose rock, dirt, and glacial snow and ice. If warming occurs, expect melting to dislodge rock and ice.

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

Rockfall: Varying snow coverage will create varying exposure of loose rock on the upper mountain. Remember that sun and warm temperatures tend to cause rockfall, as the ice that holds loose rock together melts.

Icefall: Some ice accumulation likely exists on the upper mountain and significant ice accumulations can develop quickly. Riming followed by warming is a key producer of icefall this time of year.

Avalanches: Snowpack conditions and stability can change rapidly in the fall. “If there’s enough snow to ride, there’s enough snow to slide” is an adage that should be familiar to skiers and snowboarders. The same concept applies to climbers. 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. Watch for the NWAC avalanche forecast season to begin as winter approaches.

Glacial features: Fall began with crevasses and other glacial features fully exposed on the climbing routes, including openings in the bergschrund adjacent to the upper Hogsback. Expect fall snowstorms to mask glacial features, creating unstable bridges unlikely to support body weight.

Long, sliding falls: Snow accumulation alternating with warming periods will create conditions ripe for long, sliding falls that are difficult or impossible to arrest and 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.

-Sam Clairmont and Ryan Matz, Climbing Rangers

At a Glance

Current Conditions: The Northwest Avalanche Center issued its last avalanche forecast of the season on April 18, 2021. You can still find valuable information and weather history year round on their website: 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. 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.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Busiest Season: Late spring and early summer
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!
Closest Towns: Government Camp, OR
Restroom: Climbers register 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.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:
  • Zigzag Ranger District, (503) 622-3191
  • Hood River Ranger District, (541) 352-6002

General Information

Directions:

The southside climbing route leaves from the Timberline Ski Area. Climbers registration is in the Wy'East Day Lodge. When you leave the parking area, please use the Climber’s Trail just east of the ski area to avoid resort operations.

The Salmon River Lot at the Timberline ski area is currently the primary point of access to the upper mountain. Sno-Park permits will be required starting November 1st. The Cloud Cap Road will close for winter as snow accumulates.

 

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.

View our detailed climbing page for more information.

Photos

(select individual photos to view a larger version)

South side of Mt Hood from Timberline.

South side of Mt Hood from Timberline.

Landmarks on the south side of Mount Hood

Landmarks on the south side of Mount Hood within Mount Hood Wilderness.

From Hogsback looking at Bergchrund and Pearly Gates (06/20/2005)

June 20th, 2005 Picture of Bergschrund and Pearly Gates

Virtual Tour

Portland Mountain Rescue's - Mt Hood Virtual Tour


Activities


Climbing

Show detail SHOW
Areas & Activities

Related Links

Location

 
  Latitude : 
45.37345861

  Longitude : 
-121.6959691

  Elevation : 
11,240'

 

Tips for beginner campers

Tips for first time campers


No drones near wildfires

Drone use on Mt. Hood NF

 



https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=80001