"WY'EAST ROUTE - CLIMBING MT HOOD SMALL SCALE" Top 5 Page for this destination Mount Hood Travelogue by mtncorg

Mount Hood Travel Guide: 86 reviews and 205 photos

The Wy'East route is a little more circuitous than the normal South Side route. As a result - though popular - it is not peopled by the armies of climbers silently shuffling in roped chains up the icy slopes. You do descend by the normal South Side route and you start from the same day use parking lot on the east side of Timberline Lodge, so you will come into contact with the masses. But later on. For while everyone else is starting out from the parking lot and struggling straight up, you will waddle off to the east, eventually dropping down to cross the White River Glacier at its end and wander up the northeastern moraine walls. Now, you begin to gain ground inexorably, up 35-40 degree slopes. Sunrise comes early and the night chill fades with its return.

There are several options that take you up higher. A hurried breakfast as you consider which option to go up. These slopes are prone to avalance at certain times. Be aware of recent snow conditions.

Each step takes you higher. Views expand. The moraines of the White River Glacier - now far below - demonstrate ancient glacial strength. Other icy volcanoes thrust out the Cascade Range to the south.

Then you reach the top of the Steel Cliffs - the southeast side of the ancient summit cone. The mountain is still alive, easy to tell as you smell the sulphurous gases emitted from fumaroles atop the cliffs. From here, it is a long ways down to the ski area at Timberline Lodge.

Glancing around the inside of Hood's upper cone, you see the hundreds of others now, not on your route but chained to the South Side. Silently, they move up around Crater Rock - the Hogsback - around the Bergschrund and then up the Chute - from here looking like so many flies caught on flypaper.

Now, it is time to reach for the peak yourself. The crux of the climb is just around the corner. You follow the rim of the Cliff to the rotten rock flanks of the summit ridge. A short walk to the east brings you to a steep but fairly short couloir - not much more than one rope length.

50 degrees is the slope here. You can easily look between your legs, without undue bending , and see the ski slopes of Mt Hood Meadows Resort far below. But don't spend too much time looking down, for it is time to finish the climb and belay your partners up.

You are on the summit ridge at the top of the couloir. A few steps and you rejoin the masses on Hood's top. One or two observant souls watch as you approach. 'Where did you come from?'

Return the South Side route, in normal anticlimax. See my South Side travellogue for that route. Savor your experiences.

  • Page Written Mar 2, 2004
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