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I am really interested in hiking Mt.Hood
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By jTaylor
Sep 26, 2012

So last February I moved to Portland. I've been looking at Mt.Hood a whole lot and wanting to hike it more and more. Although being a snowy and icey hike (as well as seasonal) leaves me wondering where I should start in order to conquer this little dream of mine. Can it be done in the winter? Or do I have to perhaps wait until Spring?


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By JoeR
From Eugene, OR
Sep 26, 2012

www.timberlinemtguides.com/Alpine/MtHood/tabid/74/Default.as>>>


Give these guys a call, they should be able to help.


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By jTaylor
Sep 26, 2012

i've seen that mt.hood has a lot of guided hikes... but is in necessary? I feel like this may kinda take away from the type of experience i'd like to go on... I'm not all that enthusiastic about going with a bunch of strangers compared to some friends... kinda reminds me of going on a field trip and having to listen to the teachers the whole time to be honest...

thanks for the recommendation JoeR


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By jeb013
From Portland
Sep 26, 2012

Mt Hood is normally done in the spring, May thru July. Winter climbs are possible but weather and snow conditions can change quickly that time of year.

Keep in mind that even though Hood is one of the most "Hiked" mountains around, it can still be technical. There are casualties there pretty much every year and some of those are very experienced climbers. If you don't have solid experience in the mountains or partners that do, a guided climb may be the best option.


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By jTaylor
Sep 26, 2012

Thanks for the info Jeb :)

It's nice to hear what I already assumed and have read, I just like to double check so its why i ask.

I do understand that mt.hood is somewhat technical also, but what about the south side route? Honestly from what i've read up on, it doesn't sound as bad as many make it out to be. If anything it looks ideal as far as difficulty to me from what I can understand.

I do have experience hiking some steep rugged routes (specifically on Mt.Katahdin in Maine and on the Asgard Pass Trail in Washington's Wenatchee National State Park..) I know this isn't much but I solo'd the Aasgard Pass Trail as my first solo hike (ended up doing roughly 20-22 miles that day) with no problems and was on Katahdin's slippery steep trails a couple years back with my brother. Not trying to come off as over confident what so ever, just kinda trying to give a perspective at some of my experience with difficult hikes. Both these places have had casualties reported also...

In the spring time, I would like to do the south side route with a friend though.. Not a guide..


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Sep 26, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

Aasguard pass is a hiking trail, Hood would be very different. If your foot slips on a hiking trail you fall onto the trail and stop, if your foot slips on snow you and your partner could die.

How long ago was that accident where a rope team fell and clotheslined at least one other group into a massive fall? I forget how many fatalities there were, but it was more than one.

If you haven't already gotten the message, here it is: based on your experience it would be unwise to climb hood without some form of a guide, and you would learn a lot getting on a route such as that while at the same time having someone make sure no fuckups occur. Post something on cascadeclimbers.com, there would probably be some people over there willing to help you out. If I was planning on going back the the NW next spring I would love to show you guys some techniques, but I'll be here in the rockies. Goodluck!


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By Jeff Fiedler
Sep 26, 2012

jTaylor.

It sounds like you might not have much (any?) experience with crampons on your feet and an ice axe. This isn't rocket science, but like anything a little practice in less risky areas might go a long way toward minimizing your risks here.

I get that a guide might just not be your thing.

So at least just practice a bit before doing the upper section of this climb (i.e., above the hogsback, and the final ice chute). How about going one weekend and just climbing the lower snow slopes, and practice with your crampons, a bit of glissading, self arrest. You'll figure a few things out, have fun, and also be able to scope the upper section. Then go back for the full thing when you are a bit sorted out.

You live there -- no rush.

And are you and your friends going to rope up? What portions? If yes, practice that. The ice ramp requires traversing back and forth and around other climbers -- can you do that safely while roped? Or if not roped, do you all accept what you are doing on the ice where it will be tricky to self arrest?

This is the route you will be on:
www.rockandice.com/articles/how-to-climb/article/902-rewind


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By jTaylor
Sep 30, 2012

Keenan Waeschle wrote:
Aasguard pass is a hiking trail, Hood would be very different. If your foot slips on a hiking trail you fall onto the trail and stop, if your foot slips on snow you and your partner could die.


I kindly disagree Keenan, there are plenty of spots on Aasgard (as well as Katahdin) where if you slip you can take a long and nasty potentially deadly fall.

I know about the Helicopter story as well... thanks . . .

Jeff Fiedler wrote:
jTaylor. It sounds like you might not have much (any?) experience with crampons on your feet and an ice axe.



Hi Jeff, I really appreciate your post :)

No I do not have experience with crampons and an ice axe, exactly why I am here (to learn). While on the note of learning, do you guys have specific crampon choices? I did read that the stiffer the better, so I at least have one thing I know to look for in my ideal pair. Now to figure out what point setup is ideal... and maybe a few other things?

Jeff Fiedler wrote:
So at least just practice a bit before doing the upper section of this climb (i.e., above the hogsback, and the final ice chute). How about going one weekend and just climbing the lower snow slopes, and practice with your crampons, a bit of glissading, self arrest. You'll figure a few things out, have fun, and also be able to scope the upper section. Then go back for the full thing when you are a bit sorted out.


Great advice, I will for sure do this when the season comes around.


Jeff Fiedler wrote:
And are you and your friends going to rope up? What portions? If yes, practice that. The ice ramp requires traversing back and forth and around other climbers -- can you do that safely while roped? Or if not roped, do you all accept what you are doing on the ice where it will be tricky to self arrest?


I would plan to go with a friend and rope would be brought for sure, it doesn't look to necessary to me from the trails i've seen pictures of thus far but for sure I would always rather be safe than sorry. I will for sure look into the ice ramp more though to be prepared as much as I can be, thanks :)

...anyways I did find this today which i found extremely helpful.. hopefully it can help anyone who may find this thread in the search engine looking for the help that I was looking for. Only skimmed it over so quick since I am at work at the moment, but it looks like it has all the answers I came here for

www.mountainshop.net/blog/?page_id=514

from the mountain shop mt.hood FAQ:

"Before climbing Mt. Hood, you should go on several training hikes. These hikes should consist of elevation gains of 3,000-5,000 feet and distances of 2-4 miles to simulate the slope of Mt. Hood. Locally these are climbs such as Table Mountain, Dog Mountain, Hamilton Mountain and Mount Defiance to name a few. During these hikes, if possible, carry the equipment you will climb with. If you do not own all the equipment you will need, put other items in to simulate weight. A pack of 20-30 pounds is average for a Mt. Hood climb."

I found this pretty helpful as well... please keep in mind everyone, if you are gonna tell someone they aren't ready for something... maybe next time give them clues at where to start? This excerpt was taken from the "training" portion.


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By jack s.
From Kamloops, BC
Sep 30, 2012
Mean Green P2

Seriously, not trying to be rude, but I strongly recommend getting on some nice steep snow slope with a good safe, rock-less runout zone and practice self arresting. Once you can arrest a fall on 50 to 60° snow slopes after falling head first on your back with a pack on, I'd say you got it figured out. I say this because after a few solid years of alpine experience, I took a fall on 60° snow this summer. Within a couple seconds I was 100 feet down the slope. It is a good thing self arrest was second-nature or I would have hit the rocks below and I would not be writing this response to you right now. If you fall on parts of Hood, you had better be able to stop yourself as well. I am sure you could check out cascadeclimbers.com for some good glissading spots to practice on.

I have been on Aasgard Pass before. Even if it was completely snowed in, you should get on steeper terrain and practice self arrest. It really isn't as steep as you would like to think. It really doesn't take much practice to become proficient, but putting that small amount of time in is critical. Most people who are practiced in rope work and self arrest can safely climb Hood without a guide. A lot of people die on Hood though because they aren't as proficient as they think they are.


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By jTaylor
Sep 30, 2012

Jack, you do not come off as rude what so ever. I appreciate your insight.

I'd like to make it clear that I do not feel overly confident, but I do feel like between now and next season I have a wide window to prepare and learn, and I can't repeat that enough that I come here to learn, prepare, stay safe, and keep those around me safe, so thank you everyone who has gave me helpful information!

I also do not think that Aasgard is that steep, but I do think it had potential for injury and what upsets me about this thread is the attitude that seems to be condescending when people straight up tell you "go get a guide". I mention Aasgard simply to state some of my background experience... Just trying to let you all know where I am coming from, not trying to claim since I can do one trail that I think I can do them all.


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By Stephan Doyle
Sep 30, 2012

Yes, you are overconfident. This can become worse by "false success." To climb a mountain, it's not enough to be capable of getting to the top when things go right.

Guides are not what you make them out to be. A good guide will not teach you like you're four years old, but empower you, make you safer, and build your skills for future forays into the hills.


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By jTaylor
Sep 30, 2012

i didn't state a guide would teach me like i'm four. I said it would feel like a teacher on a field trip. If your gonna rearrange my words to fit your perspective i'd appreciate you not even posting in here as I am here to learn from this forum and have clearly stated numerous times my opinion on the guide situation.

I am willing to go with a guide if necessary, but at the time I feel from now until spring I have plenty of time to learn and practice the self arresting and walking in crampons. This is not overconfidence, This simply confidence. If I felt unsafe after going past crater rock into the steeper terrain I'd turn around and not risk myself and those around me.


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By jack s.
From Kamloops, BC
Sep 30, 2012
Mean Green P2

It is really easy to sit here on the internet and assume that you are one of the idiots that we have all dealt with on various climbs, but the truth is that we all had to start somewhere and we all had to push our limits a bit to get where we are now. You'll always have people telling you that you are too dumb to climb the next big thing that is just a little out of your current ability level. The best thing to do is prepare for thethe climb and ignore the nay-sayers, but understand the risks. Always be willing to turn around if things aren't going well (this happens a lot and doesn't really mean that you are a failure in any way), but it never hurts to go see for yourself what the climb is like. Do your research and when you are confident, head out to the route and give'r.

A good starting point would be to read Freedom of the Hills. Be sure to get out and practice the things that you read. The book isn't perfect, but it gives you a good tool set to start with. Again, be sure to practice the techniques that apply to your climb in addition to reading about them. That way you can use them at moment's notice if need be.


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By Stephan Doyle
Sep 30, 2012

jTaylor wrote:
i didn't state a guide would teach me like i'm four. I said it would feel like a teacher on a field trip. If your gonna rearrange my words to fit your perspective i'd appreciate you not even posting in here as I am here to learn from this forum and have clearly stated numerous times my opinion on the guide situation.


You don't understand the guide situation. You're assuming that a guided trip means getting your hand held. It doesn't. Part of a guide's job is to keep you safe, sure. But one guide can take you and a friend up Mt. Hood and teach you more than you'll learn on your own in months. Why, exactly, are you so opposed to working with a trained and experienced guide?

jTaylor wrote:
I am willing to go with a guide if necessary, but at the time I feel from now until spring I have plenty of time to learn and practice the self arresting and walking in crampons.


If those are the only skills you have, you're a danger to yourself, your partner(s), and all the other parties out there.

jTaylor wrote:
This is not overconfidence, This simply confidence. If I felt unsafe after going past crater rock into the steeper terrain I'd turn around and not risk myself and those around me.


You have no experience, yet you're here on the internet talking about how it's not overconfidence. Your attitude here is dangerous to everyone up on the mountain. Just because you feel safe doesn't mean you are.


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By jTaylor
Sep 30, 2012

jack s. wrote:
It is really easy to sit here on the internet and assume that you are one of the idiots that we have all dealt with on various climbs, but the truth is that we all had to start somewhere and we all had to push our limits a bit to get where we are now. You'll always have people telling you that you are too dumb to climb the next big thing that is just a little out of your current ability level. The best thing to do is prepare for thethe climb and ignore the nay-sayers, but understand the risks. Always be willing to turn around if things aren't going well (this happens a lot and doesn't really mean that you are a failure in any way), but it never hurts to go see for yourself what the climb is like. Do your research and when you are confident, head out to the route and give'r. A good starting point would be to read Freedom of the Hills. Be sure to get out and practice the things that you read. The book isn't perfect, but it gives you a good tool set to start with. Again, be sure to practice the techniques that apply to your climb in addition to reading about them. That way you can use them at moment's notice if need be.


thanks Jack, I appreciate your post and feel that spot on with it as I read it. :)

I'll check out that book tomorrow locally

Stephan Doyle wrote:
You don't understand the guide situation. You're assuming that a guided trip means getting your hand held. It doesn't. Part of a guide's job is to keep you safe, sure. But one guide can take you and a friend up Mt. Hood and teach you more than you'll learn on your own in months.


Stephan, the only one here assuming is you. I know what guides do and understand how much you can learn from them.


Stephan Doyle wrote:
Why, exactly, are you so opposed to working with a trained and experienced guide?


Because I'd rather enjoy this experience with a personal friend and not someone who costs hundreds of dollars when I feel adequate to complete the task at hand and turn around If I am not capable. Clearly I understand the risk and everything....


Stephan Doyle wrote:
If those are the only skills you have, you're a danger to yourself, your partner(s), and all the other parties out there. You have no experience, yet you're here on the internet talking about how it's not overconfidence. Your attitude here is dangerous to everyone up on the mountain. Just because you feel safe doesn't mean you are.


Learn to read and stop assuming. I never said those were the only skills I have, are you done trolling?



btw this tv special about the helicopter crash gives great insight into all the climber's errors as well as the setup of the route/mountain:

www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=bfq-dQHBjRs


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Sep 30, 2012

JTaylor,

The biggest concern for doing the moderate South Side route on Hood is getting back down. The natural fall line of the slope doesn't put you back at Timberline Lodge, it puts you into a side canyon.

Descending in low visibility conditions (which often occur on Hood, it is the PNW afterall), people end up off track and in that canyon all the time. It's easy enough to remedy...take a compass, shoot a reading when you start up, and go ahead and set your compass right then for coming back down and you'll be ready.

There is nothing especially technical about the climbing itself. It's mostly a long walk on a snow slope that would be a bunny run at a ski area to a short bit of steeper stuff that, unless conditions are especially bad and it's icy, is about as difficult as climbing a step ladder.

Crampons and axe are necessary, but hiring guides or doing session after session of "practicing" are totally unnecessary. WTF are you going to practice, not tripping over your crampons? If you understand how to kick a step and frontpoint (drop your heels after setting the points), there's not much else to it. It's intuitive.

My first alpine climb and second time ever using crampons I climbed the Reid Glacier Headwall route on Hood, ropeless, with a single 65cm non technical axe and low end crampons. I did have a good amount of traditional rock climbing experience at that point, but the biggest challenge honestly was just a long day with a lot of elevation gain.

If you don't take skis and skin up with the plan to ski down, take a piece of heavy duty garbage bag with you, it makes glissading on your butt on the way down much easier and won't destroy your pants that way. It's also WAY faster than walking down and you'll probably be a little tired by then, so it's welcome...just beware about having crampons on if you do this, if you catch a point while sliding it's easy to break a leg/ankle/etc.

Have fun, Hood is a cool place to be.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Sep 30, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

I was lucky enough to have very experienced partners to teach me skills the first few years I climbed.

Perhaps you don't need a full fledged guide but at the very least go with a friend who has some experience. Aasguard pass is not a dangerous trail, unless it is early season and snowcovered.

Do you know anything about glacier travel and running belays? A rope isn't worth shit if you don't put gear in.

The general consensus of advice on here is go with someone with more experience. After you get more skills under your belt then it might be fine to do Hood with just your buddy.


Do you want to end up like these guys?
www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1886785


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Sep 30, 2012
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Watch for a high-pressure system, check the avy report, and go on a weekend. You'll be one of about 50 or 60 other people on the mountain... no much can go wrong, so long as you keep your feet apart and don't snag a crampon.

Learn to "french." Hood is perfect for learning French crampon technique- crampon flat against the slope, toe angling out progressively as the slope increases. Your thigh muscles are a lot stronger than and have many times the endurance of your calf muscles, which should be saved for the short technical sections where frenching is less practical. It's hella awkward at first, and takes practice to get down, but will make your alpine climbing a lot stronger and more comfortable overall if you figure it out early on.


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By Stephan Doyle
Sep 30, 2012

One last post, because I don't like dealing with posters who resort to ad hominem…

Going up a mountain, you ought to have chops. The best way to build this array of skills is knowledgeable instruction, which is performed best by a professional guide.

You have the rest of your life to go up Mt. Hood with your buddy. By all means, work with a guide on a one-day trip this winter, get a bunch of practice, work on skills in the lower hills with your pals, etc. - you can prepare yourself for a spring/summer attempt at Hood if you are willing to put in some work between now and then.

Again, you have the rest of your life to go up Mt. Hood with a great number of close friends. You can go up more than once.


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Oct 1, 2012
Cleo's Needle

I've never hired a guide and I've climbed Mt. Hood. ZOMG!!!!!!

When I was new I heard the same old tired bit of advice as above. Hood is a fine place to learn. Start slow and don't be a dumbass, you'll be fine. Hiring a guide for the south side of Mt. Hood is retarded.


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