Type: Trad, Ice, Snow, Alpine, 5300 ft, 3 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Mark Weygant, Arthur Emmons, Orville Emmons - Aug 26, 1928
Page Views: 19,376 total · 123/month
Shared By: Karsten Duncan on Feb 1, 2006 with updates from Sam Bedell
Admins: Nate Ball, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

16 Opinions

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This elegant route is one of the best on the mountain. The crux is catching the line in condition. When the conditions are right, this is a spectacular climb that can have fantastic ice pitches up to WI4.

Begin at Tilly Jane or Cloud Cap campgrounds. Follow marked climber trails through the trees. Moving above timberline climb onto a prominent ridge (the lower part of Cooper Spur) Continue up the ridge until you see a cairn on the right side of the trail marking a subtle path down onto the glacier.

Move up the glacier sticking to the left side and watching for seracs and crevasses. There are several nice ice lines that have been forming on the left side of the Eliot headwall. Continue up the glacier and move right after you near the headwall.

On the right side of the headwall, there are 2 distinct couloirs heading up and diagonally leftward. Both can be climbed, but the right one is usually the more exciting route with more vertical ice.

Move into the gullies and follow them to the summit.

The left gully has a vertical section at its beginning then is pretty much a snow slope to the summit.

The right gully contains 3-4 vertical ice sections with the first two being the most difficult.

Descend Cooper Spur or Sunshine to return to start or descend the south side route and make a car shuttle.


6-8 short screws, pickets, 60m rope
Peter Franzen
Phoenix, AZ
Peter Franzen   Phoenix, AZ  
What is the best time of year to try this route? Apr 4, 2006
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
This route can be done most of the year with the exception of when avy conditions are high in winter. However, to get the best conditions you want to climb it sometime in fall after some snow has fallen and then gone through freeze/thaw cycles to form WI on the steep sections. These conditions can also be encountered in the spring as things melt down too but temps can get warm fast causing the route to deteriorate quickly.

More than one climber has climbed the route when it is just a long snow ramp. While still a fun route I would say what makes it my favorite route on the mountain is the WI steps. Sep 20, 2006
Recommend a few long slings and nuts if climbed in late fall/early winter

Do not underestimate the descent in the Fall! Jul 16, 2007
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
Max Tepfer   Bend, OR
It's worth noting that the right gully involves some rock at the top if you climb straight up the fall line after exiting the second step. You can avoid the rock by traversing climber's left and merging with the left gully's finish. (which is basically the top of Cooper's Spur)
It can be a mental kick in the head to pull through what you thought were the end of the difficulties and realize you're not out of the woods yet. Mar 14, 2011
Allen Sanderson
WI3+ Mod. Snow
Allen Sanderson   Oootah
WI3+ Mod. Snow
Not sure why folks have given this route an R rating. By PNW standards the ability to protect oneself is quite adequate. As for the previous comment about moving left around the rock buttress near the top. While one can continue left an top out in the same general proximity of Cooper's Spur, it is preferable to cut back right and continue straight up as it brings one directly to the summit. Though being directly under the summit cornice can be intimidating from some. Oct 16, 2011
Benjamin Beckerich
portland, oregon
Benjamin Beckerich   portland, oregon
What elevation do most people get off the Coopspur and drop onto Eliot? Looks like there's currently (late Feb '12) a steep ramp connecting the spur to the glacier at 9,000'... anyone ever dropped down there? Feb 24, 2012
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
Max Tepfer   Bend, OR
There's a massive cairn at I forget what elevation that has a trail through the lateral moraine to the toe when it's not covered in snow. With snow it's a 30ish degree slope with a big cairn above it. (typically the cairn doesn't get covered as the wind scours it pretty good. (I think it's about mid 6k') 9k is definitely too high. Feb 28, 2012
Your moms house last night
WI2+ Mod. Snow
Portwood   Your moms house last night
WI2+ Mod. Snow
Richard Denker
Portland OR
Richard Denker   Portland OR
Notes on the approach:
If the road is closed above Cooper Spur Ski Resort, you will have to park at the Tilly Jane trailhead. It is approximately 2¾ miles or about 1.5 to 2 hours by trail to Tilly Jane campground. From the Tilly Jane campground, it is another hour to the large cairn, which marks the trail off the Cooper Spur Ridge down to the Eliot Glacier. If on approach you arrive at the stone shelter on Cooper Spur ridge, the cairn is almost due east and nearly the same elevation as the shelter and on a sub-ridge between the main Cooper Spur Ridge and the Eliot Glacier. Depending on your wanderings it is approximately 3.3 miles from Tilly Jane campground (the A-Frame) to the bergschrund at the start of the North Face route. Plan on 5 to 6 hours hiking from Cooper Spur Ski Resort to the base of the climb. Mar 21, 2015
Cam Hook
  WI3+ Steep Snow R
Cam Hook   Portland
  WI3+ Steep Snow R
8,219 elevation gain and 13.5 miles car to car. Tilly Jane trail head to the summit in 13 hours and 3 hours to descend on my old knees... 16 hours from Tilly Jane trail head to Timberline Lodge where we had a 2nd car waiting for us.

Gear: 3 pickets, 7 screws, a few tricams and front pointing calf muscles.

A short video my climbing partner made of our climb. I did all the leading. We pitched out the Bergschrund and the 2nd ice step. Everything between we simul-climbed. We soloed to the summit after the 2nd ice step.

Note: A little bit of passive rock gear is sometimes the only gear you get after the 2nd ice step and it should be added to the description. Dec 14, 2017
Kyle Tarry
Portland, OR
  WI3-4 Steep Snow
Kyle Tarry   Portland, OR
  WI3-4 Steep Snow
Why does this thing have an R rating? Most suggested grades aren't R, and this protects as well as any other snow and ice climb on Hood or elsewhere.

Edit: Looks like the "R" rating has been removed. Yay!

Awesome route, maybe one of the best on Hood. Sep 7, 2018