The highest point in Oregon, this route gets the vast majority of Hood ascents. A weekday climb during prime season (early May - late June) can avoid most of the crowds.

The South Side is a general term for several different "chutes" on the south side of the mountain, including the Old Chute, Mazama Chute, and Pearly Gates. The most popular route on an given season depends on the snow accumulation and snow conditions.

The Pearly Gates was the most heavily used route to the summit of Mt. Hood until 2006 when a dramatic shift in the Hogsback and the increased steepness of the this route made the Old Chute the more typical ascent route. The left chute of the Pearly Gates offers a short "step" of steeper snow/ice climbing, while the right chute of the Gates can offer several steps of steeper snow/ice. You cross over the bergschrund to get into the Gates. You can descend by rappelling or downclimbing the route, or by traversing over to the Old Chute.

The Old Chute is a great route to ascend if the bergschrund is impassable or Pearly Gates are jammed with people. 

Activity Notes

Join us for an early winter climb of Mt Hood. When safe, the pre-season can offer a fresh experience for adepts on this peak. Grab a second tool and hone your steel crampons for a challenge!


  • Lead belay and rappel
  • Confident on 40° snow with exposure
  • Optimism to motivate your teammates and keep them safe
  • Fitness to walk with only cursory breaks, ~1000' / hour

While friendly in spring, the southside routes can have ice steps and crevasse potential, needing rope proficiency. To apply you must have:

  • Prior alpine rock or ice summit, as second or lead
  • Prior mountain summit with glacier travel

Please detail experience in profile. Note especially if you have a gym lead belay card, or graduation from ICS, Mountaineers Basic, or AAI Alpinism II. As a winter climb, expect darkness, continuous high wind, cold and potential need for double boots.

If skies are sunny, bring one item to share for a Hogsback or summit picnic. 🔆 Summiting needs cold weather and quality snow/ice cover.

Apply now, and we'll mutually confirm in future when a date is finalized. Then you'll be accepted and fee processed. For now, hoping for Nov 23 or 24: next likely weekend is Dec 14-15. 

Other Information
Driving Distance from Portland 65 miles
Driving Time from Portland 1 hours
Distance - Round Trip 6 miles
General Route Info This is the standard and most commonly climbed route on Mount Hood. Proximity to ski lifts makes returning to the trailhead and low visibility substantially easier. Photographs taken at the turn of the century show the Hogback in the position it is found in today. Photographs taken during the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s show the Hogaback shifted sharply to the west and significant reduced in size. Sometime during the 1960s the Hogback again shifted east to its current position and grew in size. In 1930s the gully which led from the top of the Hogback to the summit became known as the Chute. When the Hogback shifted back toward the east in the 1960s, climbers followed it and started to use a different gully to gain the summit. Although the route was different, it was still called the Chute. To distinguish between the two, the term Old Chute means the route to the west. From the Hogback, climb diagonally up and left on a steep face which leads to the summit ridge. Turn right and follow the ridge to the top. When you reach the top of the Old Chute, do not be surprised by the narrowness of the ridgetop and the sharp drop down the north face. -From Oregon High by Jeff Thomas
Expected Duration Car to car in one day
Relevant Books Oregon High by Jeff Thomas
Relevant Maps USGS 7 1/2 minute series, Mt Hood South, Green Trails Mt. Hood, Geo Graphics Mt. Hood Google map,-121.7015928,15.02z/data=!5m1!1e4?hl=en
Awards Qualified 16 Major NW Peaks, Guardian Peaks, Seven Oregon Cascades Peaks
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