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Climbing Mt. Hood

by JJfromNJ Online Now Sep 29, 2010 at 12:21 PM

I am interested in climbing Mt. Hood with a friend in mid October. Neither of us have much mountaineering experience, although I have summited Kilimanjaro and a few smaller peaks in the Adirondacks. Some sources say that after July, conditions become hazardous. Is it too dangerous to attempt a climb this time of year? Should we hire a guide or can we do it ourselves? It's a short trip, so we want to limit it to a 1 day hike if possible. I assume we would start at the Timberline Lodge?

I'm kinda surprised not to find clear info on this online, just looking for someone to point me in the right direction. Thanks.

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Re: Climbing Mt. Hood

    by glabah Online Now Sep 29, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    The hazards depend a lot on the type of weather, and that can change very fast.

    I'm not sure there are any "guides" to hire to go up the mountain. It would probably be a good idea if there were such guides for those unfamiliar with the mountain, but for the most part people tackle this on their own. It might be worth contacting the Mazamas climbing club in Portland to see if they have a group going up there the time you are here. I think they charge a minimal fee for participating in a climb with their group, but this is really the best way to find people who know the mountain and know what to expect of the weather this time of year.

    It can be done in a day, but to do it requires starting at about 3 or so in the morning and putting in about 12 to 14 hours. Therefore, it is best to plan on spending two nights in the lodge, as you don't want to be driving anywhere after the climb.

    There are locator beacons available for a small fee at Timberline lodge, so that if/when you get lost, it is possible for the rescue team to find you.

    There are other routes to the top, but the one out of Timberline Lodge is the one most commonly used and the easiest.

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  • Florida999's Profile Photo

    Re: Climbing Mt. Hood

    by Florida999 Online Now Oct 1, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    I want to go there too!! I hope you will make a VT page with details on this hike, if you do it.

    Maybe take a look at the Highpointers club, they have details on what trails to go up ( that IS the highpoint of Oregon, right?)
    I have used that site several times. highpointers.org/archives/ca...

    Good luck!

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Re: Climbing Mt. Hood

    by glabah Online Now Oct 1, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    This discusses a little bit about the beacons that you can rent. I had thought there were available at Timberline, but this says government camp:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mounta...

    There aren't that many people that get killed every year, but there are enough that they keep trying to pass laws requiring that people use these, rather than have it be a voluntary thing. So far, the various laws have failed to make the floor of the state legislature for actual passage.

    It really isn't an extremely technical a climb, but weather conditions can rapidly change which suddenly turn it into one. This means there are an awful lot of people who hear about how easy it is, and go into it completely unprepared for how difficult it could become. The lucky ones don't have the weather change suddenly on them and live to tell about how easy it is, but once you get above about 7,000 ft, the mountain creates its own weather pattern, and all bets are off in terms of weather predictions actually happening. The unlucky few become the annual headline.

    There are several glaciers on the mountain, and sometimes people do fall into the crevases. It's probably a good idea to bring an ice ax, so that if you start to slide down the ice you can stop yourself easier. Most likely you won't need it, but it's one of those things that could be really helpful if you do need it.

    There is an area called "The Shute" that is probably the most technical part of the climb. Last I had heard, they have installed a permanent rope there so that you don't have to bring your own to get through it. However, it is a narrow rock formation, and if there are large groups on the mountain it can take a while to get through it.

    This is the trail and mountaineering group in Portland that may be able to assist you:
    http://www.mazamas.org/

    I've not done Mount Hood, but I have done South Sister, Mount Adams, and Mount Saint Helens. At 12,200 ft. Adams is about 1,000 higher than Mt. Hood, South Sister is slightly shorter, and Mt. St. Helens is only about 8,000 ft in its current state. All three of those are actually less technical climbs than Hood, but they are farther from Portland.

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