Climbing Mount Hood


Mt. 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 Mt. Hood Wilderness and is covered with forested slopes and alpine meadows. Mount Hood attracts more than 10,000 climbers a year.


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:


07/06/20 Update: Mount Hood’s south side climb route through the Pearly Gates is still in great climbing condition. Beware the Bergschrund in now open and continues to grow wider. Use good judgment when approaching. The Old Chute is also in good condition for climbing and skiing. 

Consistent snow is currently found around 7000ft. The snowpack is transitioning into summer conditions. Sun cups are developing above Palmer and start to decrease as elevation is gained. Snow is becoming increasingly consolidated and storm systems are depositing more rain than snow.

On warm sunny weather days with low wind, the snowpack is firm and icy in the morning, softening in the afternoon, on cooler windy or stormy days icy conditions have also persisted throughout the day. Icy conditions have persisted from the top of Palmer to the Summit regardless of weather.

Winter-like conditions on the mountain are possible in summer. Storms can develop quickly and still bring significant snowfall and poor conditions including snow, rain, high winds, poor visibility, thunderstorms and cold Temperatures. Snow depth increases as one ascends in elevation. The potential for avalanche activity is still a risk that needs to be considered. Monitor conditions and weather forecasts by the National Weather Service, and any special postings by the NW Weather and Avalanche Center. Avalanche rescue gear such as a beacon, shovel and probe are also strongly recommended and the knowledge of how to use them.


Safety Concerns

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.  The southside climbing route leaves from the historic Timberline Lodge. Climbers registration is in the Timberline Day Lodge. Use the Climbers Trail out of the Salmon River Lot to avoid Resort Operations while climbing.

For detailed information go our Detailed Climbing Page.

Other resources:


Portland Mountain Rescue

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 open.
  • 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 operational
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



Show detail SHOW
Areas & Activities

Related Links



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No drones near wildfires

Drone use on Mt. Hood NF