Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Mount Hood/Devil's Kitchen Headwall

Great weather. Terrific route. So-so ice.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The ice on the route was adequate but not generous.

Our party of four headed out from Timberline on snowshoes a little after 3:00 a.m. and we reached the Devil's Kitchen four hours later, just as the clear sky was starting to lighten. The temperature was well below freezing.

We harnessed up and climbed up to the base of the Devil's Kitchen Headwall, one of the most distinctive and imposing features of the crater rim. Our route is sometimes called the "left variation," which is really the main route up the central gully. We formed two teams of two and started up the route at 8:30 a.m.

When I climbed the DKH in 2015 the ice was fat and we simul-climbed most of the route, with just one belay. Yesterday the ice was much more tenuous and we pitched it out. We had to work at finding good screw placements (and used a picket a couple times) and the climbing felt much more insecure. But it went, and the route is terrific. It's a great feeling, climbing up through a narrow canyon of ice and snow while looking out at the green Oregon landscape.


Although the technical portion of the climb is short, it often felt sketchy, so we spent a lot of time putting in protection and building creative belays. Progress was slow. As the day wore on the sun warmed the rime formations on the cliffs and we were barraged with pellets of ice.

We finally arrived at the summit at 1:00 p.m. It was sunny, warm, and there were great views everywhere.

From the summit we descended the Pearly Gates route, retrieved our snowshoes, and booted back to Timberline, reaching our cars around 4:15 p.m.

The climb was challenging but we persevered. The route is lovely and recommended.

Gear: We used 60 m half/twin ropes, doubled over and used as 30 m twins. Each team carried two pickets and around ten screws; each team used one picket and about seven screws.