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[TR] Mt Hood - Elliot Cirque, The Raven - FA 05/02/2021

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Trip: Mt Hood - Elliot Cirque- FA- The Raven

Trip Date: 05/02/2021

Trip Report:


A claim of a first ascent on a mountain as popular as Hood must be precluded with the fact that it’s always very possible that a line has been done by a pre-internet team, or a team not seeking interweb plaudits... So please let us know if you’ve done it or know someone who has!


The Raven is a line that parallels the existing Ravine line. I’d spotted this line on my first trip up the Elliot Headwall this year, jaw-dropped at the amount of ice all over. The dark rock band above the ice looked menacing yet alluring. This seemed almost as obvious a line as the Ravine to me; one which points directly up in line with the initial starting ice flow. The line climbs the "Potential" between D and E in this photo: http://www.portlandrockclimbs.com/mt-hood-rock-climbs/eliot-headwall.htm
I had recruited a friend to join me on this objective, but, after a long traversing pitch on bullet hard ice above the gaping bergschrund, he decided he didn’t want to continue and we climbed the established Center Cirque Direct, which was still in incredibly good shape, but I digress.
I was lucky to link up with Matt @zaworotiuk who had interest in this line and in the Pencil. Matt's been climbing a ton of rad routes on Hood this season and I was stoked and confident in heading up with him. 
We met up at Timberline and headed out promptly into heavy winds and a piercing cold. Nearing the DK we entered the cloud. We forged on, trusting the signs of sunshine ahead, taking our time, but it was a harsh re-run of winter in May.
We eventually dropped onto the glacier to the base of the Pencil. Eyeing it, it seemed very thin, very mixed, and hard to protect. We kind of regret not going for it but the wind and cold definitely made it more intimidating. I think it’d still go now, it would just be a trip. Anyways, I digress again. 
Traversing the upper Elliot: 
Matt near the base of the Pencil:
Deciding against it we hugged the left side of the glacier to avoid cracks and reach the base of our route. 
Pitch one started with a nice WI3 flow that kicks back and weaves its way through a rock couloir with occasional bulges higher, 50m. 
Myself on P1:
Matt wrapping up P1:
Pitch two is steep snow or easy ice to a pretty short, but pretty steep pillar, WI3+/4, 45m. 
Matt headed off towards the pillar center of photo:
Pitch three starts on easy ice to steepening mixed terrain to a 40-foot mixed crux, hooking chossy cobbles and ice blobs with a solid thin crack on the big chockstone for pro. I was also able to drill in a 10cm stubby in an ice blob. Some pictures I've seen show more ice in this section, so in fatter (hard to believe) conditions it may be a thin ice pillar. Felt about M4+. Easy ice/ steep snow straight up above to easier terrain shared with the North Face. 60m. 
Myself in the crux:
Matt topping out the crux with Cathedral Spire below:
I'm choosing to tentatively name this route "The Raven," to play on its brotherhood with the nearby "Ravine" and in hommage to the black birds known to swirl ominously over the vanity of Mt Hood climbers... 
After topping out directly onto the summit, we sat and enjoyed the first warmth we'd had all day. Matt and I, having been sneaked out of the Pencil, were hungry for more, so he showed me the Right Cirque variation on the Elliot Headwall which we simuled in two blocks. Reaching the summit ridge, it was HOT, and we made our tired, happy way down the slushy south side to be once again greeted by the viciously cold wind as we hit the parking lot. 
Back up the headwall:
All the action this area has seen this year has been inspiring and I can't wait to hear of more! 


Gear Notes:
Brought a lot, used cams 0.2-0.5 & lots of 10-13cm screws

Approach Notes:
South side

Edited by ACosta
  • Like 2
  • Rawk on! 3

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Fantastic! What a sweet line! 

Strong work, gentlemen.

I love how rich and varied the climbing is on Mount Hood. There is so much to do up there! 

The crux photo is gnarly! Looks both exhilarating and terrifying. Get that pic into Alpinist asap!

Edited by Nolan E Arson
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Awesome route. So much happening on the Eliot since that solo of yours a month back.

How was the top out on your final lap? Any ice left or was it all rock in that upper rockband. We scouted the top Saturday but got socked in by clouds and decided not to try. 

Edited by DET
Saturday, not yesterday

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Thanks for getting out and for writing this up! I checked with the normal sources (Wayne, Anastasia) and they don't know of any previous ascents, though of course it's hard to be certain. One day a few weeks ago @nkimmes and I talked about doing this line but I was in a rush to get back for work and pitching out the bulletproof WI2 traverse ate up an embarrassing amount of time. We were also pretty intimidated looking up at the exit chimney. From the glacier you can see the huge chockstone and the overhanging cracks on the right. The way @ACosta led around to the left is not really visible or obvious until you're in the small bowl directly underneath. And it was still maybe the hardest 40 feet of climbing I've done on Hood!

Here's the full line:


@DET The right Eliot Headwall line (McJury-Leuthold according to the one random topo linked above) still has good ice in the exit chimney, as does Center Cirque Direct (as of Tuesday). Things are getting a bit thinner but I think we're also getting some more thaw/freeze cycles so it could all be here for a while!



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