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KirkW

Mt Hood

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Hello people, I am very new to technical climbing and would like to attempt Mt. Hood. I am in pretty good shape, and I think I can handle it. We are actually probably not going to attempt to summit, instead stopping once we reach the hogsback.

I have a whole bunch of question, probably most of them n00bish, but please be patient.

1. When is it too late to go to the hogsback? We plan to go around July 5th. Should we do south sister instead?

2. How early should we plan to wake up?

3. What snow gear do we need? Crampons? Ice axes?

4. Do we need any skills for that or is a basic hiking knowledge good enough. What about for the climb to the summit, assuming that is still an option this late.

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Given the questions you are asking my suggestion is hire a guide or join the Mazamas (or similar organization) and take a one day course then attempt the summit. This will give you some basic knowledge to be reasonably safe on the hill.

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Just hire a guide. You can shave years off of the learning curve by paying for some high quality instruction. Check out Timberline Mountain Guides.

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Guys call the south side of Hood a "hike" because it's super easy, as technical climbs go... about as easy as it gets, in fact. But it's still technical- it's still not something you can expect to just walk up. On the higher areas of the mountain, a simple slip will result in an uncontrolled slide- and it kills someone up there almost every year.

 

Crampon technique and self-belay and self-arrest technique are very important, and should be learned to proficiency before you "hike" Hood. I won't tell you to hire a guide- that's up to you. But one way or another, I strongly encourage you to know what you're doing before going higher than the last lift hut.

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Don't be cheap. You could get all the instruction you need and a summit for $260/person/day, with ice axe, crampons, and boots for rent (harnesses and helmets come with the program). And someone who knows how to use the rope appropriately on the route:

Timberline Mountain Guides - Mt Hood

 

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Okay, but while I would be open to trying the summit, I am going with my family, so I'm not quite sure if that is doable even with a guide, because of basic fitness level, that I am questioning if I am ready. So if we plan to stop at the hogsback, do we avoid the most strenuos and technical aspects of the climb? And what gear would we need? The whole 9 yards?

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Okay, but while I would be open to trying the summit, I am going with my family, so I'm not quite sure if that is doable even with a guide, because of basic fitness level, that I am questioning if I am ready. So if we plan to stop at the hogsback, do we avoid the most strenuos and technical aspects of the climb? And what gear would we need? The whole 9 yards?

 

I've taken guided courses, and they're totally worth it. I will take more in the future, as well. High quality instruction is extremely worthwhile. I'd say stick to something you are comfortable with skill and fitness wise.

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The snow conditions of the day dictate what you need. I would not plan on curving around Crater Rock without an ice ax as it can be steep alongside. By family, do you mean very young kids? If so, then you will want the extra security of a line.

 

While the climb on Mt. Hood seems "short" in miles and vertical gain, it is somewhat steeper and has a bit of an altitude component. As a family event, I would recommend St. Helens or even a Gorge hike as a good alternative. Yes, St. Helens permits are basically gone, but see the permit exchange - you can score a permit during your visit. Dog Mountain, Table Mountain, Hamilton are all family alternatives that have some exposure, great views, but less chance of rock and ice fall. Another option is to do the "hike" to Camp Muir on Rainier.

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The ages of our party are 51, 52, 24, 17, 16, and 13, though we are not extremely outdoorsy but we have camped on the north side of hood. The most strenuous hike we have done was old rag mountain in Virginia, which is about 8 miles, 2,500 feet elevation gain.

So do you think we are ready?

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The ages of our party are 51, 52, 24, 17, 16, and 13, though we are not extremely outdoorsy but we have camped on the north side of hood. The most strenuous hike we have done was old rag mountain in Virginia, which is about 8 miles, 2,500 feet elevation gain.

So do you think we are ready?

 

Fitness wise, the worst that's going to happen is you get tired and turn around. Technical wise, you need to understand and have practiced proper crampon technique, and self-belay and self-arrest technique. There was at least one rescue injury and one death last year from slips below Crater Rock- Hogsback is above Crater Rock. It's fairly serious stuff up there.

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No.

 

I've hiked Old Rag many times. There is no comparison of Old Rag to Mt. Hood.

Mt. Washington in NH or Katahdin in Maine would be better comparisons.

Timberline Mountain Guides or other hikes in the area that would give you a good perspective on Mt. Hood might be a better option. or St. Helens as others have said.

 

Or go yourself without your family and decide if you want to bring them up there...

Edited by cwired

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The ages of our party are 51, 52, 24, 17, 16, and 13, though we are not extremely outdoorsy but we have camped on the north side of hood. The most strenuous hike we have done was old rag mountain in Virginia, which is about 8 miles, 2,500 feet elevation gain.

So do you think we are ready?

 

Not only No, but Hell No. But that has not stopped a lot of folks from trying and dying. That said you are one step above many by at least making some inquiries.

 

My suggestion is like that of others, myself included, take a one day class on glacier travel and then use a guide for a summit attempt. Be prepared, you are going be paying for at least two guides for six people.

 

Fitness wise, the worst that's going to happen is you get tired and turn around. Technical wise, you need to understand and have practiced proper crampon technique, and self-belay and self-arrest technique. There was at least one rescue injury and one death last year from slips below Crater Rock- Hogsback is above Crater Rock. It's fairly serious stuff up there.

 

You forgot about weather - which can turn to shit faster than most think. Being able to get back to Timberline when it is a white out is critical. People hate finding bodies when climbing.

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The ages of our party are 51, 52, 24, 17, 16, and 13, though we are not extremely outdoorsy but we have camped on the north side of hood. The most strenuous hike we have done was old rag mountain in Virginia, which is about 8 miles, 2,500 feet elevation gain.

So do you think we are ready?

 

No, not without a guide. Going it alone is not worth the risk with your current skill set. The mountain will be there another time. Gain the skills needed to do things properly, and try another time.

 

There are plenty of other awesome options in the Gorge.

 

http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/tools/hikefinder/hike_finder.php

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No! I did not mean to suggest that because we had done Old Rag we were ready to do Hood unguided. That would be suicide. I guess I am asking three questions.

1. How much more difficult then old rag are we talking, not counting the technical skills?

2. If we plan on only going to the crater rock- devils kitchen region, do we need any technical skills? If yes, then are we better off with a guide and going to the summit? What are the best guiding companies? I know about Timberline mountain guides. Does anyone know about Northwest school of survival?

3. Is July 9th going to be too late?

 

Again, thanks everyone for answering my n00b questions.

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I'm guessing guide or not, not everyone in your party is in shape for this and those that are are barely so and not going to enjoy it.

Head up to Barrett Spur instead. There is far less risk to manage. As long as you stay away from the steep slopes where you don't need to be, then there is no possibility of someone slipping and dying or getting seriously injured, as there is on south side Hood. You will be walking on snow much of the time, but won't need crampons or axes. The views are far better than you get hiking up to the Hogsback. You can start at dawn instead of the middle of the night. If the weather is as warm as is being forecast, you can hang out on the spur and listen and watch as Coe and Ladd glaciers groan and Mt. Hood slowly sheds rock and ice right in front of your. Spectacular. No guide necessary. Enjoy. Have fun.

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No! I did not mean to suggest that because we had done Old Rag we were ready to do Hood unguided. That would be suicide. I guess I am asking three questions.

1. How much more difficult then old rag are we talking, not counting the technical skills?

Far more difficult than you can imagine. Old Rag is equivalent to Tiger Mt, basically just a hill. Hood is steep, icy, prone to rock and ice fall, is relatively high, has far more elevation gain, has no trail other than a boot path in the snow. People die on it all the time. Beyond the physical and technical demands, experience and judgment is required. That is perhaps the most valuable asset a professional guide supplies, good decision making skills.

2. If we plan on only going to the crater rock- devils kitchen region, do we need any technical skills? If yes, then are we better off with a guide and going to the summit? What are the best guiding companies? I know about Timberline mountain guides. Does anyone know about Northwest school of survival?

Yes. You are better off going with a guide. Timberline is reputable, never heard of the other one.

 

3. Is July 9th going to be too late?

Probably, but conditions are different from year to year and can change quickly. I personally won't climb Hood later than May.

 

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No! I did not mean to suggest that because we had done Old Rag we were ready to do Hood unguided. That would be suicide. I guess I am asking three questions.

1. How much more difficult then old rag are we talking, not counting the technical skills?

2. If we plan on only going to the crater rock- devils kitchen region, do we need any technical skills? If yes, then are we better off with a guide and going to the summit? What are the best guiding companies? I know about Timberline mountain guides. Does anyone know about Northwest school of survival?

3. Is July 9th going to be too late?

 

Again, thanks everyone for answering my n00b questions.

 

1. Hood is a different type of climb/hike compared to Old Rag. Timberline to Crater Rock is about 4K elevation gain.

 

2. I'd still recommend a guide. TMG is good. I'm still new to mountaineering, but taking guided courses has been very worthwhile.

 

3. July is late season, but it is still climbable. Conditions change all the time. Likely snowing above Timberline now. I'll likely get up there sometime next week.

Edited by ARBrandon

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No! I did not mean to suggest that because we had done Old Rag we were ready to do Hood unguided. That would be suicide. I guess I am asking three questions.

1. How much more difficult then old rag are we talking, not counting the technical skills?

2. If we plan on only going to the crater rock- devils kitchen region, do we need any technical skills? If yes, then are we better off with a guide and going to the summit? What are the best guiding companies? I know about Timberline mountain guides. Does anyone know about Northwest school of survival?

3. Is July 9th going to be too late?

 

Again, thanks everyone for answering my n00b questions.

 

You could get all of these questions answered much more quickly if you just called TMG and asked them these exact same questions.

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Well we (2 total beginners) rented boots, crampons, ice axes, and helmets, woke at 2AM, and went up the south side. The route wasn't apparent, especially in the dark, and we criss crosed on our route and were unsure if we were allowed to trespass on the ski areas, and if we were supposed to go to the east or west of them. We quickly decided we needed the crampons (about 50 feet up) and were stunned at how much of a difference they made (lol noobs are funny). We continued going up, and backtracking on ourselves. We made it up to about the 9,500 foot level, but were not physically prepared to go any further. We hit the trail at 3:15, made it to Silcox at 4:30, and turned around about 6:30. The sunrise was spectacular, but the July sun made the descent a bit of a chore. Added to the fact we had no idea where we were going. Several staff on the ski runs came over and told us we were in the wrong place. We made it back to our car at 8:30

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Anybody know if there's any ice up in them Gates right now? We're thinking about heading up this weekend and debating bringing a rope and a little pro. If it's snow-filled, we won't bother bringing said rope and pro.

 

TIA.

Edited by astrov

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