Mount Hood is unfortunately more developed than the rest of the Cascade Volcanoes. The south side of the mountain features a year-round ski area. All climbs on that side begin at the Timberline lodge (about 5900 ft) and follow the edge of the groomed runs for the first couple of hours to 8,500 ft. Not exactly a wilderness experience! The Hogsback route is also one of the shortest (5,300 ft ascent) and most straightforward and accessible route on any of the volcanoes so it is crowded with independent parties and large guided groups.

Mount Hood is a picturesque mountain however. With a steep pointy top and interesting ice formations, it can be a rewarding climb. We got up at 11PM and had the ritual pre-climb breakfast: oatmeal with a can of fruit. Not exactly tasty but slow burning so it keeps you going. We left the bus and drove to Timberline Lodge an hour later. By the time we got our boots on and dropped the permits it was 12:45AM. We left the parking lot and started hiking to the top of the Palmer Chair Lift. Somehow, we found ourselves postholing for a while as we had missed the well traveled boot trail. Postholing is hard work! Soon we rejoined the "trail" and were making faster progress. There were two other parties ahead of us. We could see the glow of their headlamps in the night above. Less discrete was the incessant traffic of noisy grooming machines. Worse yet, we almost got flattened by a snowcat at 8,000 ft. Guide services routinely use snowcats to deliver truckloads of their clients at the 8,500 ft level. And now this cat had completely ruined the good steps we were following. Aarghh!

We reached "Crater Rock" a little before daylight started to break. There, we passed one of the groups of climbers we had been following for some time. At 5AM, we reached the small saddle at the base of the "Chute", a steeper section just below the summit. We rested for a while, had a snack and roped up for the final slope. We were on the summit a little before 7AM. It was cold and windy, but the views of Mount St Helens and Mount Adams were spectacular. The usual summit shots, and back down. We unroped at the base of the "Chute", had breakfast, and chatted with other climbers. We were back at the Timberline lodge a little before 10AM. We hung out at the lodge where the famous movie "Shining" with Jack Nicholson was filmed. We wanted to have breakfast or lunch there but it was either too late for the first or too early for the latter, so we just ended up eating the sandwiches we brought with us to the summit in the lodge comfortable armchairs.

Mt Hood, OR - South Side (Hogsback)

May 22, 2003 - Grade II, 35° snow, glacier, altitude (11,235 ft), 1 day.
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Mt Hood from Trillium Lake.
 
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The South Side route goes straight up the center on this picture.
 
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Going up the first 2,500 ft along the Palmer Ski Resort boundary.
 
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Roping up at the base of the Chute, the final headwall before the summit..
 
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Bergschrund we crossed on the left side.
 
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High up on the Chute.
 
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Eric reaching the summit.
 
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Summit picture.
 
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Flying in a 60 mph wind.
 
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On the way down by Crater Rock.
 
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Snow mushroom formations above Crater Rock.
 
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Going down passing more snow mushroom formations on the way.
 
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Hiking down the Palmer Snowfield.
 
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Back at the Timberline Lodge.
(high res. images are about 300KB)