Mount Hood is a stratovolcano, and is host to twelve named glaciers or snow fields. The glaciers are almost exclusively above the 6,000-foot level, which also is about the average tree line elevation on Mount Hood. More than 80% of the glacial surface area is above 7,000 feet.
The glaciers and permanent snow fields have an area of 3,331 acres (13.48 km2) and contain a volume of about 282,000 acre feet (0.348 km3). Eliot Glacier is the largest glacier by volume at 73,000 acre feet (0.090 km3), and has the thickest depth measured by ice radar at 361 feet (110 m). The largest glacier by surface area is the Coe-Ladd Glacier system at 531 acres (2.15 km2).
Glaciers and snowfields cover about 80% of the mountain above the 6,900-foot level. The glaciers have lost an average of 34% over the 20th century (1907–2004). Glaciers on Mount Hood retreated through the first half of the 20th century, advanced or at least slowed their retreat in the 1960s and 1970s, and have since returned to a pattern of retreat. The neo-glacial maximum extents formed in the early 18th century.
During the last major glacial event between 10,000 and 29,000 years ago, glaciers reached down to the 2,300-foot to 2,600-foot level: a distance of 9.3 miles from the summit. The retreat released considerable outwash, some of which filled and flattened the upper Hood River Valley near Parkdale and also formed Dee Flat. This, on a somewhat clear day is visible from your location.
Directions: (Summer months)
Park at Cloud Cap Inn and sign in at the Cooper Spur Trail head (6000ft.)
Proceed up the Cooper Spur Trail to coords (6,900ft.)
Directions: (Winter months, gate closed)
Park at Cooper Spur Ski Resort and snowshoe/ski the Cooper Spur Trail via Tilly Jane Guard Station ski cabin.
This requires an over night trip.
It's ALWAYS a good idea to write down your travel plans, including coords and place on your dash.
REQUIREMENTS to LOG CACHE: E-Mail me the answers to the following questions:
1) At the posted coords, which side of the trail LEADING DOWN to the glacier is the cairns (pile of rocks) on?
2) What is your estimated width of Eliot canyon?
3) What is your estimated distance to the Eliot Glacier head wall?
4) Although I can't require a photo, one or many would be appreciated!
***ARM CHAIR LOGS WILL BE DELETED***
Ice axes and crampons are highly recommended during winter through late spring.
Eliot Glacier is a great place for ice climbing. Many crevasses line the glacier and are great for any level of climbing ability. The head wall is a blast as well.
REI is a great place to rent mountaineering gear. (boots, crampons, & ice ax packages available at select REI locations. Downtown and Tualitin, I know carry gear rental packages.)
If you plan on exploring Eliot Glacier please remember:
Rock climbing and mountaineering have inherent risks involved. Climbing and mountaineering are dangerous activities. Understand and accept the risk involved before participating in any glacier activities. You are responsible for your own actions and assume the risks of your decisions. Before using any climbing and mountaineering gear, read and understand all instructions and warnings that accompany it, familiarize yourself with its capabilities and limitations and obtain proper training in the use of the equipment. Check and understand the avalanche danger level(s) before you set out on any back country, mountaineering activities, and adhere to those warnings.
Failure to read and follow these warnings can result in severe injury or death!
Mountain Locator Units DO NOT work on the north side of the mountain