A climber during a summit attempt of Mt. Hood.
Mt. Hood and its surrounding territory offer climbing for every type of climber. The options include an indoor rock wall, outdoor bouldering, sport, trad, and multi-pitch climbs, alpine climbing and high-altitude mountaineering and even ice and mixed climbing.
With 10,000 summit attempts per year, Mt. Hood is the second most-climbed mountain in the world, surpassed only by Japan’s Mt. Fuji. The 11,245 foot summit is reached via a number of technical routes and can be done as independent groups or with a guide service. The best conditions are spring to early summer and a wilderness permit is required. Groups must carry a Mountain Locator Unit and all climbers must sign-out at Timberline lodge before their climb and sign back in upon return. A number of outfitters provide guide and educational services including Timberline Mountain Guides.
For those more advanced climbers who have some steep snow climbs under their belt, Timberline Mountain Guides offers a two-day introductory course to glacier ice climbing. During this course participants learn the fundamentals of using ice tools as well as different crampon techniques. This course is usually taught on the White River Glacier and the Eliot Glacier on Mt. Hood.
Carver Bridge Cliff and boulder field offer some of the best outdoor rock climbing experiences within easy reach from Portland. Easy to difficult, this area has climbs and boulder problems rated for all skill levels and requires a climbing permit and an $8 membership with the Carver Climbing Club available at carverclimbingclub.org.
A great climbing location near the town of Zig Zag is French’s Dome, which is an andesite crag on the flanks of Mt. Hood. The dome rises out of the middle of the forest, giving it a quiet and tranquil setting, but is not visible from the trail. Routes range in height from 80 to 160 feet and most are well-bolted. Climbs range from 5.8 to 5.12d. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead, available at Zig Zag Ranger Station and other businesses along Hwy 26.
Near French’s Dome is the Salmon River Slab. This small but fun climbing area is located on the Salmon River and has bolted routes which range from 5.5 to 5.9.
Other climbing areas include The Swine (aka Enola Hill), Ramona Creek Crag and Coethedral.