We had beautiful weather and stable late season conditions for a successful summit attempt on Mt Hood via the left alternative Pearly Gate approach (continue reading for more info and see link for at bottom).
We were a team of two and knew that the window is closing fast on summiting safely due to increased risks with rock/snow fall on the higher parts of the mountain. We decided to go up mid-week to avoid crowds and associated risks. We arrived at the Timberline lodge car park late afternoon and hiked up to camp on the right side of the top of Palmer chair lift/ski area. We woke up at 1:30am and left by 2:30am to get a head start on the summit as we planned to be on the way down from summit and below Pearly Gates well before 8am when sun starts to warm
up the mountain and increase chances of rock/ice fall.
We got Crater Rock and at base of Hogsback just as daylight was breaking. We met two other climbers (cousins from from Beaverton, OR) and we were reviewing conditions and options on which approach to take to the summit (Pearly Gates vs Old Chutes). We had printed several images and maps of the Southside of the mountain which helped review options. The Bergschrund ‘crevasse’ was quite wide above the Pearly Gates but there was still a small section on the right side against mountain which was unaffected and could be traversed safely. With the increase in temperature this summer, the Bergschrund will most likely soon cut all the way across to the right making the Pearly Gates approach inaccessible and very dangerous.
We started going up the main Pearly Gate (on the right) but eventually found out that the last section was too steep and icy at this time of the season and would have been extremely difficult and dangerous on the way down (despite being well equipped).
We descended slightly and instead took the left Pearly Gate alternative which wasn’t as steep, icy and felt much safer.
We then made it to the summit shortly after 6am after a short walk on the right side.
We spent 10min enjoying the incredible views of the other major cascade volcanoes and made our way down swiftly without stopping until we were under the Crater Rock and in a safer part of the mountain.
The other climbers we met eventually went up the Old Chute and so did another group of 4 we saw. They however took quite a while to come down and around the Bergschrund onto the Hogsback. There are pros/cons to either approach which you can read about online.
Here is a quick video of our adventure: https://youtu.be/4QdriymUuIU
One of my favorite climbs! We had a clear day and a view of the mountains' morning shadow. It was beautiful seeing Rainier from the summit and I loved the rock formations around Devils Kitchen. We didn't have to wait too long at the Pearly Gates.
Stayed cool for firm snowpack. All perspiration turned to frost up top. Bit of a bottleneck in the chute. Good day overall.
Took the left variation on the Pearly Gates as the right side had a short section of water ice that did not look appealing. Left side also required some step cutting to safely ascend. The mountain clouded over as soon as we summited. Glad we had GPS to get us back to 8000’ as visibility was very poor. Seven hours car-to-car.
We base camped at Illumination saddle with the intent of climbing the Leuthold couloir the next day. We discovered the route was melted out and chose to climb the Mazama chute. Fun climb on a cold sunny day.
Planned to stay at 9,000' with a weather forcast at the summit of 10mph wind, low of 37 and 0 precip. Stated blowing sustained 35 and alternating tiny sharp hail and rain at 8,500'. Waited an hour before turning back. It was a real bummer, second year coming from Michigan for this mountain just to get onit and be shut down by weather. Glad we did, there were a couple incidents later in that storm.
It was so icy and loud skiing down that I felt bad for interrupting the conversations of climbers. Otherwise, super!
Elliot from Timberline Mountain Guides was an excellent guide: knowledge and attitude wise. We were a group of three women who met last year climbing Mt.Rainier.
We enjoyed learning to short-rope and were blessed with the perfect conditions. I was wearing my Ice Climbing booth Scarpa Mont Blanc and did not get cold at all.
Thank you, Mt.Hood. Now I will be returning all of your routes unguided with the proper team.
4 hour summit from Timberline in perfect conditions. We arrived at the Hogsback with no other climbers ahead of us and then decided to take the Pearly Gates route. The Hogsback lined up well leading to base of the gates. Bergschrund starting to widen (less than 12 inches where we crossed). Route to summit was in great shape up the Hogsback and left side Pearly Gates.
Up the South Side through Pearly Gates. Pearly gates are in fantastic condition and with the Hogsback lining up perfectly. Looked better than Old Chute, in my opinion. Good snow, 1 AM start and (somewhat) low crowds. What a day!
Went up the left pearly gates chute, decent amount of people on the mountain but we managed to be ahead of the largest crowds of the day. Great sunrise and expansive view on top.
During the summer of 1969 I drove to the Pacific Northwest with Nancy Rose from Oakland, CA to climb peaks in the Cascades. The first peak we were going to climb was Mt. Hood. I had hoped to climb a glacier on the west side of the mountain instead of the standard route. We hiked up past Timberline Lodge in fog the afternoon after we arrived at the road head. The next morning we passes over the SW ridge and began descending the ice to the glacier below. The climbing was too difficult for Nancy so we climbed back up to go up the hog's back route, ascending the glacier next to the SW ridge, dodging large rocks as they fell from the ridges on both sides. approaching the bergschrund we found that it was gaping and too dangerous for Nancy to do the difficult climb around the end to the right. We heard from another party that the crevasses on Rainier were difficult to negotiate this late in the season. Consequently we didn't climb Rainier either. When we got to Mt. St. Hellens the UC Berkeley hiking club member that was going to join us had bailed. It was also my first experience with a premenstrual woman. The trip was a bust, but educational!
I was pioneering a new alpine training technique where you sit around, drink beer and smoke cigarettes for a week before and stop suddenly and then climb a mountain. Doesn't work...
West rim variation for my first ice climb. Snow was already loosening up by 10am but we were well on our way down. Amazing views, 3am start which is recommended!
South climb / hogsback with skis, no cramp-ons so took it slow for snow to soften enough. Much slough on descent. (W/ Jon Carter)
Probably the most fun hike I've ever had. Love my rainbow unicorns!
A lot less snow than 6 years ago and so much warmer. Still a very fun climb. Summited via Old Chute. Bergschrund too big for pearly gate route but that did look like a fun way.
Started at midnight and successfully reached the summit at about 8am on the second attempt (had terrible weather on the first attempt 2 days prior). It took a little longer than expected because of 6-12 inches of fresh snow around Hogsback and bottom half of the Pearly Gates. We were the first group to ascend, after it snowed, so we had to break our own trail. Went to the right side of the Gates (both sides are quite steep). The bergschrund had also opened up pretty wide. I've posted a full write-up with pics of the trip on Medium if anyone is interested (https://medium.com/@kevinlyu/becoming-a-mountaineer-625a07fa9ab0).
Started at 0300 Hours (Alpine Start) from the Timberline Lodge with TMG (Timberline Mountain Guides).
There were light winds - compared to the winds we faced on the summit - all the way up to Hogsback, where we roped up prior to traversing across and through the pearly gates.
Summited at 0730 Hours and descended shortly after due to high winds, low visibility and deteriorating conditions.