Phillip Elden on His First Glacial Climb at Mount Hood

Phillip EldenPhillip Elden climbed Mt. Hood for the first time 12 years ago with a small group including his wife, Cindi. Below, he explains the course of events from this life-changing experience.

Q: When was your climb up Mt. Hood?

Phillip Elden: The climb took place in early June. It started at Timberline Lodge around midnight. If you don’t start between midnight and 3 a.m., you can’t do the climb as the snow becomes too slushy during the late morning and throughout the afternoon to make the climb safely. Climbers are then picked up by a snowcat and taken up to the starting point near the ski resort.

Q: What were some memorable highlights of the climb?

Phillip Elden: First, our guide steered us up the south side of the mountain. We hiked through the night and watched the sun rise along the edge of the mountain. We were able to summit using the Old Chute route and were standing at the high point of the peak by 7 a.m. It was an amazing feeling.

Q: Could you describe your view from the peak?

Phillip Elden: From that vantage point, you could see several mountains of Oregon and Washington, including Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. It was truly breathtaking. On the way down, once we had passed the most challenging stretches, we pulled garbage bags out of our packs and used them like sleds.

Q: What other mountainous journeys have you enjoyed since the Mt. Hood excursion?

Phillip Elden: Since that first climb, I have joined the Mazamas, a mountain climbing club, and scaled Mt. Hood three more times, each time taking a different approach. No matter what obstacles are ahead, it’s always worth the trip.

An avid mountain climber, Phillip Elden recommends the Timberline Summit Program for first-time mountaineers.