Mount Hood/South Side

Also known as the Palmer Glacier route, this is a Grade II, Class 3 glacier climb.

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.


Follow Palmer Glacier, along east edge (right side) to avoid interfering with ski trails (as directed by sign at climbers’ trailhead), to Triangular Moraine above cat track (5° bearing from Silcox hut). Climb above Triangular Moraine (8,500 ft) on most gentle ground to east side of Crater Rock (slope opposite Steel Cliff). Follow round Crater Rock, above sulfur-fuming Devil’s Kitchen (10,400 ft), to its north side to find wind carved snow formation called the Hogsback.

The “Old Chute” route is now preferred. From the low point on the crest of the Hogsback, descend the far side (to the north) then go straight up (east) a large steep open face into a narrowing and even steeper (~50°) chute on the right. It tops out onto a level spot about 50 yards from the summit. It is also possible to bear slightly left near the top of the steep face, before the chute, and gain the summit ridge by a very steep final slope. Running belays with pickets is recommended.


Descend the climbing route.


Trailhead to Camp 2 3,000
Camp to Summit 5-8 2,235
Summit to Camp 2
Camp to Trailhead 1


Standard glacier equipment.


  • Conditions above the bergschrund have deteriorated in recent years to the point that the “Hogsback/Pearly Gates” route is significantly less viable.
  • Most parties do this route as a one-day climb from Timberline Lodge. If done as a two-day climb, it is possible to camp in snow approx 500 feet above the top of the Palmer Chair lift (9,000 ft).
  • As a one-day climb, the lodge or a car camp is recommended. To car camp, either sleep in cars in parking lot or camp at Forest Service campground (both noisy). An early start 12 am or 1 am) will avoid soft snow and rock/icefall near the summit, and crowds at the Hogsback.
  • Check with the ranger station after July for potential rock fall danger and possible closure of route.
  • Mount Hood Locator Units (MLUs) are available for rent at Mount Hood Inn in Government Camp just off SR 26 on Business Loop. Their use is recommended, but not required.
  • Recommended as a mid-week to avoid the large crowds usually encountered on weekends.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb, Strenuous 1, Technical 2
  • Length: 8.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 5,235 ft
  • 11,235 ft
  • Green Trails Mount Hood Climbing No. 462S
  • USGS Mt Hood South
  • Red Marker
    45.331193, -121.711229
    45.331192659 -121.711229366
  • Red Marker
    45.373444, -121.695662
    45.3734442 -121.6956615

Upcoming Activities

Glacier Climb - Mount Hood/South Side

Climbing Trip
Glacier climb up the standard route of Mount Hood
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb, Strenuous 1, Technical 2
Sat, Apr 28, 2018 - Sun, Apr 29, 2018
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants 0 leaders
Registration closes Apr 26
Seattle Branch

Basic Alpine Climb - Mount Hood/South Side

Climbing Trip
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
Sat, Jun 16, 2018 - Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants 0 leaders
Registration closes Jun 14
Seattle Branch
Trip Reports

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  • Mount Hood/Palmer Glacier
  • Mount Hood/South Side (Palmer Glacier)

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