Climbing Mount Hood


Mountaineer Trail

Mount Hood, Oregon's highest summit at 11,240 feet, is a dormant volcano covered with 11 active glaciers. This snow covered peak lies at the heart of Mount Hood Wilderness and is covered with forested slopes and alpine meadows. Mount Hood attracts more than 10,000 climbers a year, making Mount Hood's summit the most visited snow covered peak in America.

Climbing Mt Hood is a technical climb. There are no trails to the summit. The "easier" southside climbing route from the historic Timberline Lodge is still a technical climb with crevasses to cross, falling rocks, and often inclement weather. Ropes, crampons and other technical gear are necessary. Climbing season is generally from April to mid-June due to melting snow and rockfall hazards later in the season. Fatalities on the mountain average at least one a year. Other routes on the mountain are much more difficult.

Consider climbing mid-week to enhance your opportunity for solitude. Check out this video overview for some key information about what it takes to climb safely:

At a Glance

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. Restroom is currently "out-of-order" due to broken pipe.
  • A wilderness permit is required to enter the Wilderness in the Mt. Hood National Forest from May 15 through October 15. You must have a copy of the completed permit in your possession durning your visit to the Wilderness. Permits are free and self issued at trailheads and Wilderness boundaries.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Busiest Season: Late spring and early summer
Closest Towns: Sandy, OR; Hood River, OR
Restroom: Restroom is currently "out-of-order" due to broken pipe. Pack out human waste with a blue bag.
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:
  • Hood River Ranger District, (541) 352-6002
  • Zigzag Ranger District, (503) 622-3191

General Information


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

Know Before You Go

Climbing Check List & Safety Information

Always be prepared. Before attempting a climb, obtain a current weather forecast and review avalanche conditions. During your climb, turn back if weather conditions deteriorate. Visibility above tree line can go from good to bad quickly making navigation difficult. 

View a list of things to know before you attempt a climb.


(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



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