Summit Elevation (m): 2903
Elevation Gain (m): 1200
Trip Time (hr): 8
Total Trip Distance (km): 12
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you sprain or break something.
Difficulty Notes: Moderate scrambling on the Kane route.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
Map: Google Maps
For some reason, I’ve wanted to scramble Mount Hood for quite a while already. So when Wietse and Kelly were thinking of which scramble to do around the Kananaskis Lakes area I was quick to suggest that one and invite myself along. We set out at around 08:00 from the King Creek parking lot on a gorgeous July 19 2008. Many previous trip reports on this mountain indicate that people have a tendency to get lost on the approach. We briefly considered ascending King Creek Ridge first and then descending the 200 meters to the saddle between Kings Creek Ridge and Mount Hood just to avoid the hassles but after reading Dow William’s trip report we decided that if the creek wasn’t ridiculously high we would just follow it.
The creek wasn’t ridiculously high so we set off. The air was remarkably crisp for late July. We ran into frost on the ground almost right away. This wasn’t a big concern except for all the trees we had to balance across the creek on! They were very slick because of the thick dew and frost – thank goodness for hiking poles. After about 10 creek crossings that were all quite reasonable we came to the fork in the creek. Following the left one (north) we encountered no major difficulties up to the headwall. There is a trail that crisscrosses the creek but technically you don’t really need it, especially for the first bit. You should never be far from the creek and whatever else you do, do NOT follow trails or cairns that lead away from the creek until you are at the headwall.
The headwall is very obvious. By the time you reach it you should be looking up at the summit of King Creek Ridge on your left and the saddle straight ahead of you. Up to your right Mount Hood and the scramble route up. The grassy slopes on the left side of the headwall are the best way to get above it. These slopes are a great way to gain height very quickly and the views get better and better the higher you go. Opal Mountain and the whole Opal Range are amazing as usual, and the green color of the valley running alongside this mountain range is stunning. We had a blue sky with puffy white clouds which made the views extra special.
We reached the scree cone that leads up to the base of the scramble route and ground our way up it fairly quickly too. There were smatterings of a trail here and lots of sheep sign. Once at the base of the cliffs and slabs that lead to the Hood / Brock col we found a trail heading up to climber’s left. We followed this trail and eventually ended up traversing to the right as indicated in Kane’s book. We actually trended a bit too far to the right because when I popped out on the Hood / Brock ‘col’ I was actually on a knife-edge ridge! This was difficult scrambling that reminded me of the rock fin on Compression Ridge but much shorter. I safely negotiated this ridge to the real col and joined Wietse and Kelly who had done a slightly better job of route finding.
From here there was roughly 250 vertical meters of easy scrambling just under the ridge leading to the summit. I’m sure you could follow the ridge but there was such an obvious trail just below it to the east that we couldn’t resist following that instead. The summit was quite cold but the views more than made up for the temperatures and we lingered there for almost a full hour, just enjoying the scenery.
The descent was quick and uneventful. We arrived at the cars for a total time of 7:41 including an hour at the summit and many stops along the way (especially on the way out to dunk our heads in the creek).
I loved this scramble and would highly recommend it – just stick to the creek on the ascent!