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Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute

Mount Hood Wilderness

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon

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Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute

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  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • Looking back south over Hogsback toward Mount Jefferson (10,495').- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • Mount Hood's sunrise shadow.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • From Mount Hood's summit looking north toward Mount Rainier (14,409') on the left and Mount Adams (12,280') on the right.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • Looking down at Hogsback.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • Looking down at Hogsback, down the line of the bergshrund.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • Looking up the Hogsback.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • View south of Mount Jefferson (10,495') and the Three Sisters.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • View looking south.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • View south from Mount Hood's summit.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • View north, from left to right: Mount St. Helens (8,366'), Mount Rainier (14,409') and Mount Adams (12,280').- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • Contributor Josh Lupkin cleaning up the rope at the top of the Old Chute.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • Illumination rock (9,543') is rarely climbed, but offers one of the more challenging climbs in the northwest—ice climbing in winter/spring and rock climbing in summer/fall.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • Climbers descending in front of Crater Rock in late summer conditions.  Lots of rock and ice fall in the spring, and it’s important to keep a heads up while decending  (on the far side of Crater Rock in this photo is Hot Rocks)- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • Camping along the route above the Palmer Ski Lift allows for potentially spectacular sunset views.- Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
  • - Mount Hood South Route: Old Chute
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Panoramic vistas. Clear route. Timberline Lodge at trailhead.
Cons: 
Very heavily used. Common rock and ice fall.
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Region:
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, OR
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Recommended Equipment:
Ice axe / crampons, Harness / rope / anchors
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade III
Net Elevation Gain: 
5,319.00 ft (1,621.23 m)
Parking Pass: 
Wilderness Permit for travel above 8,500'
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer
Total Distance: 
6.80 mi (10.94 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,900.00 ft (1,798.32 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Mount Hood is one of the most climbed glaciated peaks in the world, second only to Japan's Mount Fujiyama. A landslide of climbers descend upon the south route every year with their sights set on the summit of the tallest mountain in Oregon. Beginning at tree line under the starlit sky, the climber's trail ascends the Palmer Glacier up to the top of the adjacent Timberline ski area. By the light of a headlamp you'll ascend the ever steeper mountain face as the path is guided by the silhouette of Crater Rock above and the city lights to the west.

As footprints from climbers ahead grow clearer and the stars above fade into the dim blue hue of the morning sky, you'll see Hogsback ridge as it comes into view leading your eye up to the sheer cliffs and snow chutes on the crater wall. Once you reach the spine of Hogsback you'll notice puffs of smoke spewing from the fumarole areas near Crater Rock, and catch an occasional smell of sulfur.

Two options present themselves at this juncture. Head straight up the spine through the Pearly Gates or traverse to the west up the more popular Old Chute. In late season the bergschrund (horizontal crevasse) opens up, forcing climbers up Old Chute. The climb becomes technical as the slope reaches 40 degrees, at which point many climbers opt to rope up for safety. A strong push up the icy chute and along the snow covered ridge leads to the heart stopping panoramic views; you'll see Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Jefferson, the Three Sisters, and Timberline Lodge below. Exhaustion is mitigated as the thrill of reaching the summit energizes even the most fatigued climber.

Be sure to sign the climbers register at the climbing center before your climb begins and sign out on your way off of the mountain. For this route, any time of the year, all climbers should have at least a headlamp, helmet, ice axe and crampons. The headlamp is necessary to start your ascent early in the morning (closer to midnight than sunrise) in order to reach the summit and begin ascending before conditions become more hazardous (after approximately 10 a.m). All climbers should also be comfortable with self arresting prior to taking on Mount Hood, as there are numerous injuries each year due to falling/sliding climbers.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(60 within a 30 mile radius)

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(158 within a 30 mile radius)

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