Type: Ice, Snow, Alpine, 3000 ft (909 m), Grade IV
FA: Beckey/Scheiblehner, 1959. Young/Hiatt, via First Gendarme, 1972.
Page Views: 5,918 total · 114/month
Shared By: Kyle Tarry on Mar 14, 2020
Admins: Micah Klesick, Nate Ball

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Description Suggest change

Considered by many to be the premier route on Mt. Hood, Yocum Ridge combines moderately technical climbing, an aesthetic line, difficult conditions, and sparse protection for an overall package that is memorable and engaging.  The grade of the climbing doesn't fully capture the difficulty of this route, due to complex terrain, exposed knife-edge ridges, limited protection, and the challenges of rime ice.

From the Reid Glacier, gain the lower ridge on either side of the cliff bands at around 8800 ft.  Climb moderate snow and easy ice to the broad crest of the ridge, which becomes narrower and steeper as you approach the base of the first gendarme.  Climb the first gendarme via 1-2 pitches of steep rime, potentially the steepest ice climbing on the route (note, the '59 first ascent bypassed this feature and the knife-edge ridge by taking steep snow and gullies to the south).  From the top of the gendarme, either downclimb along the ridge, or rappel, to the beginning of a long section of exposed narrow ridge.  A 60m lead will get you through all the difficult ridge climbing here, leading to a long section of much broader and easier ice and snow, passing the second gendarme on your left, to the summit of the third gendarme.  From the third gendarme, either make a short rappel directly to the ridge crest, or a long (60m) rappel to the north to snow fields below the ridge.  Negotiate your chosen route to the point where the ridge tapers off below the large upper buttress.  At the buttress, there are multiple options; the Wickwire variation goes directly up a slot where the ridge intersects the buttress, while the Beckey Route makes a descending traverse to the right (south) towards Leuthold Couloir, and then ascends a large gully up and to the right, and then up and left, to the top of the route.  Beware overhead hazard in this section, as it is often climbed in the afternoon after a long day, and may be in the sun.  From the top, either descend Leuthold Couloir, or slog up and over to the summit and descend via one of the standard south side routes.

Due to the complex nature of the terrain, bailing would be difficult between the first gendarme and the base of the upper buttress.  From the base of the upper buttress, it is possible to downclimb easy snow slopes back to the Reid near the base of Leuthold Couloir.  If attempting this route, it is likely best to make sure conditions are good before climbing the steep terrain on the first gendarme, and either bail at that point or commit to completing the route.

Due to the nature of climbing on rime ice, protection on this route may be finicky and limited.  Bring an array of protection options and experience using them, and be prepared for run out climbing and creative belay anchors.

Location Suggest change

Approach from Timberline on the south side, to Illumination Saddle.  Once at the saddle, descend to the Reid Glacier and make a gently descending traverse across the glacier to the chosen entrance point around 8400-8800 ft.

Protection Suggest change

Ice screws (4-6X), Pickets (2-4X), and a small assortment of nuts, pitons, and cams.