Mount Hood/Cooper Spur

A snow and glacier climb with 45-50 degree climbing, exposure, rock fall, and avalanche potential. Because of the dangers that increase as the day warms, this route is best done as a carryover up the Cooper Spur from Cloud Cap and down the south side to Timberline Lodge.

getting there

Take I-5 to approximately 15 mi north of the Oregon state line to I-205 bypass around Portland to US 26. Travel east on US 26 for about 50 mi. Just past Government Camp turn left at Timberline Lodge turnoff. Drive 8 mi and park in lodge parking lot.

Leave a car here and shuttle to Tilly Jane or Cloud Cap campground by driving east on US 26 and north on SR 35. Turn left onto  Cooper Spur Road and then left onto Cloud Cap Road. At the T intersection, turn right for Cloud Cap Trailhead (5,800 ft) or left for the Till Jane Trailhead (5,760 ft). It's about a 40-minute drive. Both have campgrounds. Tilly Jane, near a creek, is more primitive, but is less crowed and quieter.


Follow trail from Cloud Cap or Tilly Jane until it connects to the Cooper Spur Trail (6,600’ ft. Ascend the trail to permanent the snow field (8,860 ft). Rope up here or proceed up to Tie-In Rock (9,400 ft) and rope up there. Ascend steep snow up to 45°—consider running belays from 10,400 ft to 10,800 ft depending on your party’s experience and conditions. A climbing line to the right minimizes rock fall risk in this area. From 10,800 ft, bear left and climb on snow and between rocks to the summit plateau.


Descend the South Side (Palmer Glacier) route to Timberline lodge. Do NOT descend the climbing route—it is too steep and soft with increased rock fall and avalanche danger by mid-day to make this a safe descent.


Camp to Summit 7-9 5,335
Summit to Trailhead 2-4 -5,330


Standard glacier gear.


  • Guidebook: Best Climbs Cascade Volcanoes by Jeff Smoot (Falcon Guides 2012).
  • This is not a beginning glacier climb! Students should have experience climbing steep snow under exposed conditions. Leaders may want to make this a "Leaders Permission Only" climb because of steep snow & exposure.
  • This climb is best done in one day with a very early start to avoid soft snow and rock fall danger.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Mountaineering Climb
  • Length: 8.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 5,335 ft
  • 11,239 ft
  • Green Trails Mount Hood Climbing No. 462S
  • USGS Mt Hood South
  • USGS Mt Hood North

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