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Climbing Mount Hood

Mount Hood is Oregon's highest point and a prominent landmark visible up to 100
miles (160 km) away. It has convenient access and a minimum of technical climbin
g challenges. About 10,000 people attempt to climb Mount Hood each year.[45] The
re are no trails to the summit. Even the "easier" southside climbing route is a
technical climb with crevasses, falling rocks, and often inclement weather. Rope
s, ice axes, crampons and other technical mountaineering gear are necessary. Pea
k climbing season is generally from April to mid-June.[46]
There are six main routes to approach the mountain with about 30 total variation
s for summiting. The climbs range in difficulty from class 2 to class 5.9+ (for
Arachnophobia).[47] The most popular route, dubbed the south route, begins at Ti
mberline Lodge and proceeds up Palmer Glacier to Crater Rock, the large prominen
ce at the head of the glacier. The route goes east around Crater Rock and crosse
s Coalman Glacier on the Hogsback, a ridge spanning from Crater Rock to the appr
oach to the summit. The Hogsback terminates at a bergschrund where Coalman Glaci
er separates from the summit rock headwall, and then to Pearly Gates, a gap in t
he summit rock formation, then right onto the summit plateau and the summit prop
Technical ice axes, fall protection, and experience are now recommended in order
to attempt the left chute variation or Pearly Gates ice chute. The Forest Servi
ce is recommending several other route options due to these changes in condition
s (e.g. "Old Chute", West Crater Rim, etc.).[49]
Climbing accidents[edit]
Main article: Mount Hood climbing accidents
As of May 2002, more than 130 people had died in climbing-related accidents sinc
e records have been kept on Mount Hood, the first in 1896.[50] Incidents in May
1986, December 2006, and December 2009 attracted intense national and internatio
nal media interest. Though avalanches are a common hazard on other glaciated mou
ntains, most Mount Hood climbing deaths are the result of falls and hypothermia.
[51] Despite a quadrupling of forest visitors since 1990, fewer than 50 people r
equire rescue per year.[52] Only 3.4 percent of search and rescue missions in 20
06 were for mountain climbers.[53]
The Timberline Trail, which circumnavigates the entire mountain, was built in th
e 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Typically, the 40.7-mile (65.5 km) h
ike is snow-free from late July until the autumn snows begin. A portion of the P
acific Crest Trail is coincident with the Timberline Trail on the west side of M
ount Hood.[54][55]
The predecessor of the Pacific Crest Trail was the Oregon Skyline Trail, establi
shed in 1920, which connected Mount Hood to Crater Lake.[56]