Rick Treleaven, Aaron Lish, and Roger Fox left Bend @ 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 3rd, and arrived at Timberline at about 3:00 a.m. After sign-in and clothing adjustments started up about 3:30. We ascended to the top of the Palmer Lift, by moonlight, without headlamps, and had great views of the entire mountain the whole way. We put on crampons and headed northwest to Illumination Saddle where we roped up for the traverse across Reid Glacier to Leuthold Couloir at the base of Yocum Ridge. Here we waited and watched to see how much stuff was coming down the route and then decided to head on up.
This is an awesome route with great views of Yocum Ridge, Reid Headwall and Castle Crags. The couloir starts at about 35 degrees and quickly steepens to 40-45 degrees as you ascend to the Hourglass. We had perfect conditions with good crampon purchase on mixed ice and hard snow with only occasional ice fall coming down from above, which is considered rare.
At the top of the couloir you top out at Queens Chair then head east up another 500' of gain to access the Summit Ridge, where we had spectacular views of the entire Cascade Range. The route follows this ridge due east to the Summit. We crossed a couple of exposed and corniced sections, but had good footing. We ate lunch and descended the South Side. Route. I have never seen the top of Hood so calm and warm. It was literally shirtsleeve weather.
If the route had been any icier then a second tool would be worth taking and donít even think about leaving your helmet behind.