Finally Climbing Mount Hood, Oregon's Highest

Where: Cascade Range, Oregon
When: July 2008
Partners: Solo
Route: South Side (Old Chute Variation)
Mileage/Gain: 6/5,200
TOPO: Here

Late July 2008, a rather dry Mount Hood

After a failed attempt of Mount Hood during a spring 2004 blizzard, and several other plans to climb the mountain thwarted by poor weather, packed flights and whatever else, I found myself in the area of the mountain in late July. Knowing that the standard route up the mountain typically goes out of condition some weeks earlier, I was skeptical about the safety of pulling off an ascent this late in the season.

Calling Timberline Mountain Guides for current conditions on the mountain, I was told that they were still taking clients up, on a day-to-day basis. Well, I'll just go for it!

Starting alone early, early one morning, I headed up the mountain, soon reaching the talus below Crater Rock. Contouring to the right on snow, I soon gained the hogsback and headed up. A bit below the bergschrund, I gained a boot pack angling off up and left toward the Old Chute. Gaining the chute, I negotiated through good, 50-degree snow to reach the final, loose rocks below the summit ridge that would take me to the top of the mountain.

And then, I finally gained Mount Hood's the dark!

I considered waiting for the sun to rise, but it was cold and I headed down instead.
Looking down to Crater Rock on the descent

Gaining the hogsback on the way down

Looking back up at the final portion of the route, the Old Chute Variation is left of center

South to Mount Jefferson and The Sisters

Mound Hood's shadow casting out beyond Illumination Rock