Mt Hood's famous Leuthold Couloir

Statistics

1,720

m

1,720

m

32

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

This is a great route on a legendary mountain! Start from the main Timberline lodge parking lot.

If you have never been to Mt Hood before, it is pretty easy to navigate - just start the long slog of a walk straight up, keeping the lifts off to your left.

Once you get to the top of the Palmer lift, keep on heading up and straight(ish) and you will see Illumination Rock off to your left.

This is where you want to go but it is best to head up to around 9300ft and then cut over lookers left, traversing across Zigzag glacier and below Crater Rock.

Once you make it to Illumination Saddle you can get ready to rope up for Reid Glacier.

It is a pretty small and short section of glacier travel.

Once you make it across Reid Glacier and start heading up Leuthold couloir you might want to consider coming off the rope.

This couloir is known for rock fall and speed is your friend going up it - messing about with the rope might be less safe than just going quickly! There is a scary (but cool!) choke point known as the Hourglass around halfway up the climb.

You will know when you are in it and it is not the best place to hang out - keep moving quickly. After the hourglass the couloir opens up pretty well.

Don't wander looker's left and just keep heading straight up - you are going to be taking the ridge up to the summit.

The ridge is fun and exposed but nothing too crazy unless the winds are super high.

You will pass the top of Old Chute on your way over to the summit.

Head down Old Chute for the safest and easiest descent.

It's probably not the best idea to go down the Pearly Gates route as it is popular and often has parties coming up it. The descent: Down the famous Old Chute.

Some ski it, some downclimb.

Although it can be perceived as safer than the Pearly Gates, this is another hazardous area on Hood.

The conditions can be very variable - always prepare and expect ice on the down climb or ski at any point.

Even if there is magically soft snow on Old Chute, you might have to suddenly self arrest.

If there are other climbers on the summit it could be good to ask them what the conditions were for them on their way up.

On the way down you will see an obvious spine to skier's left - this spine actually divides Hood River County and Clackamas County.

Once up and over the spine it can be tempting, especially on skis, to continue down Hogbacks.

To the left is Devil's Kitchen.

Stay skier's right with Crater Rock to your right.

This will bring you to the Triangle of Moraine.

From here White River Glacier, on skier's left, is the other tempting way down but you want to avoid it.

The safest line down is to head skier's right, but don't go extremely far right, towards the top of Palmer chairlift.

Be prepared and expect chicken heads and ice blocks.