Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon

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Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir

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  • Arriving at Illumination Saddle at first light.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • View to the north from Illumination Saddle. Mount St. Helens can be seen on the horizon.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Camp at Illumination Saddle below Illumination Rock.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • View to the south from Illumination Saddle toward the Three Sisters and Mount Jefferson.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Roping up to cross the Reid Glacier.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Roping up to cross the Reid Glacier at Illumination Saddle.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Beginning to ascend the Leuthold Couloir toward the Hourglass notch.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • The Reid Glacier and the summit shadow stretching across the clouds.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Above the Hourglass.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Above the Hourglass.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • A climber takes in the view nearing the Queen's Chair.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Ice formations on the west face of Mount Hood.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • The slope becomes more gentle at the top of Leuthold Couloir.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • View to the west while climbing the Queen's Chair.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Gentle slopes of the Queen's Chair nearing the crater rim.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Crossing the crater rim to the summit.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • View to the north from the summit.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • View across the crater rim to the west from the summit.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • View across the crater rim to the west from the summit.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Mount St. Helens.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Mount Rainier.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Mount Adams.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • View into the crater rim and the ski lifts of Timberline from the summit.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
  • Descending into the crater after down-climbing the Old Chute.- Mount Hood: Leuthold Couloir
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Solitude. Great views. Unique ice formations.
Cons: 
Advanced mountaineering skills required. Dangerous. Unpredictable conditions. Steep.
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Region:
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, OR
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Recommended Equipment:
Ice axe / crampons, Ice axe / crampons, Harness / rope / anchors, Harness / rope / anchors, Harness / rope / anchors, Additional ice tools, Helmets
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade II
Net Elevation Gain: 
5,482.00 ft (1,670.91 m)
Parking Pass: 
Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)
Preferable Season(s):
Spring
Total Distance: 
7.80 mi (12.55 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,900.00 ft (1,798.32 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

The Leuthold Couloir is a very unique summit route on the west face of Mount Hood. Compared to the south side routes, it is used less while still being easily accessible to ascents.

The level of technicality it demands does not allow for the inexperienced mountaineer to attempt it. Only follow this route if you are trained in the necessary mountaineering skills required for this route. Like many climbs, the conditions during the ascent can change the requirements for personal protection needed. 

Take the climber's trail from Timberline Lodge, which is the snowcat track to the east of Timberline's Magic Mile and Palmer ski lifts. Once you arrive at the top of the Palmer lift, cross the Triangle Moraine to the Illumination Saddle. Here is an ideal place to rope up for glacier travel. Descend onto the Reid Glacier and traverse its top toward Yocum Ridge.

There are many prime avalanche gullies on the Reid Headwall. Previous avalanche runouts may be seen and crossed. This section of the Reid Glacier does have open crevasses. Take care, utilize proper ice axe technique and probe as needed. Continue across the Ried Glacier until you are at the last chute alongside Yocum Ridge. From here, turn right (east) and proceed up the Leuthold Couloir.

The slope is steep here and snowpack conditions can vary greatly. Use appropriate protection as needed. Proceed up the slope, aiming for the narrow passage just to the left that is known as the Hourglass. Be wary of rockfall through this section. The ice formations here can be quite unique and beautiful.

Once above the Hourglass, proceed up the less steep slope to the left, following the natural contour of the mountain until you arrive on the Queen's Chair ridge. Enjoy panoramic views of the Washington Cascades to the north and the steep northern slopes of Mount Hood down below. From here, the ascent of the Queen's Chair to the west end of the crater rim is gentler. Cross to the summit along the rim; be aware of fragile cornices. From the summit, you can descend any of the standard south side routes like Pearly Gates or Old Chute.

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(59 within a 30 mile radius)

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