Trip Report: Mount Hood via Cooper Spur
Luckily from here, we were faced with lower-grade climbing that was on mostly good snow so the shrinking visibility wasn't much of an issue. The summit cornice was not in place so pulling up and over the edge was cake. We drank it in.
With visibility getting worse and worse, we decided to bail on our planned descent- the sunshine route. Instead, we down-climbed the Pearly Gates and found ourselves face to face with a budding crevasse that was beginning to block direct traffic to the gates and which was also stretching its way across the old chute. Good luck, late season Hood climbers....
Together, we skied down from the kitchen and had 4,000′ of perfect, prime, amazing corn. Both of us were pretty worked at this point but we managed to enjoy some sweet turns. We managed to snag a ride back to the Cooper Spur turn off on hwy 35 and another up the road to where we were parked.
(BIG thanks to the wonderful people who helped us back to our car)Andy: As of May 28th, Cloud Cap Road was closed at the parking lot for the Tilly Jane Trailhead. If the road opens, it's possible to drive up to the Tilly Jane Cabin and cut about 2.8 miles and 2,000' of elevation gain off the approach. Patches of snow became more frequent after passing the cabin, and after a mile the snow was continuous. We briefly lost the trail in this section, but the trees are not dense and the trail follows a distinct ridge (the beginnings of the Cooper Ridge) so navigation is straightforward. About a mile after the cabin, the Tilly Jane Trail crosses the Timberline Trail and becomes the Cooper Ridge Trail proper. As Corie mentions, we began skinning from here, but the sun cupped snow made it very unpleasant. Even before reaching the "Tie-In Rock" at around 9,000', the route is obvious. It follows a giant snowfield up the ridge that narrows between large rock outcroppings near the top, terminating in multiple chimneys about 500' shy of the summit. There are several variations possible here, but we moved to the climbers right, joining some of the upper slopes above the north side routes. We encountered steep snow ranging from 45-55*, but the main crux was quickly warming temperatures which softened the snow immediately. We alternated between clearing the slush off the top to find firmer snow below and using the shafts of our tools for purchase. I can easily see how climbers have slipped off this route, even in better conditions. A fall from up high would certainly be disastrous. In the future, I'll only repeat this route with much colder conditions, which likely means earlier in the season. That said, this route was super fun and very engaging.
Equipment List- Cooper Spur - 2 liters of water each - Lunch/snacks - Shells/puffys/fleeces - Skis - 1st Aid Kit + various other essentials - Map and GPS - Sunglasses - Headlamps - Ski poles - Ice axes and crampons - Rope + Crevasse rescue gear (didn't use) - Hiking shoes for the approach
Detailed maps, PDF prints, and GPX files can be found on View Ranger.
Starting Elevation: 3,866' Final Elevation: 11,250' Elevation Gain: 7,384'
Lower Tilly Jane TH to Summit: 6 Summit to Timberline: 3.5 Total: 9.5
Lower Tilly Jane TH to Summit: 11 hours Summit to Timberline: 2.5 hours Total: 13.5 hours
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