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Climbing Mt Hood, South Side Route

Ice Axe, Ropes, Snow, oh my!

By: Emily Walbridge + Save to a List

It was 2:30 in the morning as I waited for the rest of my team to arrive outside the Climber's Registration office at Timberline on Mt Hood.   This was a good time to review all of my equipment including the ten essentials and technical gear needed to have a successful and safe climb to the summit of Mt. Hood (11,249ft).  Once everyone arrived and all equipment was accounted for we began our climb.

It had snowed for the previous 48 hours, increasing our concern of possible avalanches, therefore we knew we might not summit today if conditions grew steadily unstable however we still wanted to give it a shot. 

The snow continued to come down along with 20mph winds as we started out of the Timberline parking lot.   By 730am we had made it to Devils Kitchen with the sky just beginning to provide some light for the remainder of the trip.   The nauseating fumes that encompass Devils Kitchen does not make this a pleasant stop for food or a break.   With the fresh powder we trail blazed through as quickly as possible with snow up to our knees at times in order to get to Hogsback where we could break for food, water and put climbing harnesses on.  

After a 15 minute break at Hogsback, we decided it would be iffy to continue and we would need to do an avalanche check before deciding.  Once the avalanche check was complete we all agreed we would continue however we would need to rope up.   Taking the Old Chute route up the rest of the way was exhausting with the new snow, especially the last 100ft vertical climb up but we felt it was the safest route.  

We made it to the summit around 830am and then back down to the Timberline parking lot by 11am.   This is an amazing and surreal mountain to climb, especially when you're one of only seven people on it.   However conditions can be unsafe and change quickly, please make sure you have the proper training, are in good physical condition, and go with a group.    

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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