Summit Program

The Summit Program is our most popular and our most successful program. We gear this program for folks with little to no previous mountaineering experience, although a high degree of physical fitness is needed for this climb. Much of the information in the media and on the internet is misleading on the technical description of the Southside Route on Mt Hood. The Southside route is best described as an entry-level technical climb. It is not a walk-up or nontechnical climb. This is an important distinction to make when deciding about whether to attempt this mountain.

On the first day, after meeting your group and your guide, you can expect to spend a few minutes sorting and issuing gear, fitting boots and crampons, and going through logistics for the climb. If after reviewing the equipment list you still have questions about what to wear or bring on the climb, this is the time to ask, so please bring all of your gear with you. During this session, your guide will brief you on the current mountain and route conditions, weather, and the schedule for the rest of the climb.

Once everyone in your group has all the gear they need and all of the pre-climb logistics have been sorted, you’ll head out to begin the Steep Snow Climbing Course. Usually this involves just a short hike from the lodge, but you’ll want to come prepared for a day out on the snow. If the weather is fair, you often won’t need to bring all of the layers you’re planning on climbing in, but you will need waterproof shells, gloves, food, water and all of the technical climbing equipment for the climb. Please arrive at the office prepared for the day’s weather.

This course usually takes until early afternoon, and covers everything you’ll need to know to climb the mountain with our guides. Topics include footwork in mountain boots, crampon and ice axe techniques, rope systems, and self-arrest.

Your guide will let you know on Day 1 when and where you will meet the snowcat to begin your climb on Day 2. Typically, you’ll meet at the Climbers’ Register at the lower entrance to the Wy’East Day Lodge sometime between 12:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. You’ll have a few minutes for a final gear-check before boarding the snowcat. The snowcat ride will transport you as high on the mountain as snow conditions allow – generally to between 7,000 and 8,400 feet – cutting hours off the start of your day. From there, you’ll shoulder your pack and head up the mountain on foot. Usually we’ll climb the Southside route and attempt the summit via one of many popular variations including the Old Chute and the Pearly Gates. Generally, you can expect to take about four to six hours on the way up, and two to four on the way down, making for a typical day of about eight to ten hours round-trip from Timberline Lodge. Any ascent of the Southside routes will include climbing roped-up in technical terrain; steep slopes of snow, ice and possibly rock.

Most of the climbers we guide are surprised about how steep and exposed the climb is. In addition, most people feel that the climb was more physically demanding than they anticipated. We mention this information because we want you to be prepared and understand what you are getting yourself into! Those who do participate are rewarded with an amazing experience on Oregon’s highest and most iconic peak. It will all be worth while when you see that view!

 2 Day Program Itinerary

2 Day Summit Program Equipment List

Oregon Cascades
Spring, Summer


*Climbers in open group programs can be turned around for any reason, including but not limited to weather, mountain hazards, fitness, or to maintain the maximum climber-to-guide ratio of 3:1

Private Guides are also available – Private Rates

Trip Length: 
2 days
Trip Dates: 
2019 Summit Programs in April:
April 7-8
April 14-15
April 21-22

2019 Summit Programs are on Sunday-Monday, Tuesday-Wednesday, and Thursday-Friday between April 28 and July 3rd.


April 28-29
April 30-May 1
May 2-3
May 5-6
May 9-10
May 12-13
May 14-15
May 16-17
May 19-20
May 21-22
May 23-24
May 28-29
May 30-31
June 2-3
June 4-5
June 9-10
June 11-12
June 16-17
June 18-19
June 23-24
June 25-26
June 30-July 1
July 2-3

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