Alpine climbing NCCS rating
Grade II
Elevation Gain
5,482.00 ft (1,670.91 m)
7.80 mi (12.55 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)


Solitude. Great views. Unique ice formations.


Advanced mountaineering skills required. Dangerous. Unpredictable conditions. Steep.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

5,900.00 ft (1,798.32 m)


Big vistas


Nearby Lodging + Camping

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon
Oregon, Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon


Daniel - this is an awesome submission that makes me want to get up through this route for sure! Nice work.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.