The most popular North side route, Cooper Spur is a fun and obvious line. Although technically a small step up from the South Side route, Cooper Spur has long sections on steep ice where an unchecked fall can be deadly.
Begin at the Tilly Jane or Cloud Cap campgrounds and take established trails up to tree line. If you get lost this route is easy to find as it is the prominent ridge. A trail runs along the top of the ridge giving beautiful views of the Eliot Glacier to the right. Continue up the ridge until you reach an obvious large boulder known as tie-in rock. Past tie-in rock the climbing gets steeper (up to 45 degrees) and more dangerous.
There are not crevasse crossings on this route but a fall from above tie in rock would eventually drop you straight off of the Eliot Glacier headwall. Almost a dozen people have died on this route so take the necessary precautions. If the route is not in condition it is wise to come back another day.
The 2000ft above tie-in rock can be grueling and can slow climbers. Once to tie-in rock continue up a long snow chute to the summit. People have reported enormous rocks coming down this section so definitely don't forget your helmet. If temps are warm you had better be fast and a little lucky.
The last pitch of climbing can be either snow as steep as 50 degrees or exposed rock. Climbers can traverse right at the top to scale more mellow terrain.
Descents seem to be the most dangerous part of this route. As a result most shuttle a car around and take the South side route as a descent. Still, Cooper Spur is a popular ski descent. Another option is to descend the sunshine route to get back to the Tilly Jane or Cloud Cap campgrounds.
helmet, pickets, rope, harness, common sense
You might find the remains of old rope or cable near the summit from Mt. Hood's earlier eras.
Mark Kerns high on Cooper Spur in early spring con...
Near the top of Cooper Spur in mid July 1984. the...
Steve Brown on Cooper Spur in April of 1985. Good...
Steve Brown on Cooper Spur, enjoying good conditio...
Bergschrund on Cooper Spur
Sunrise on Cooper Spur - July 1984. Low snow, har...
Loren Black at Tie-in rock in April, 2011
photos at the berschrund on Cooper Spur - yes ther...
Nearing the summit with the entire route below
|By Allen Sanderson|
Aug 13, 2007
rating: Mod. Snow X
Another option for a descent without a shuttle is to descend the south side and traverse back around on the Newton Clark Glacier. This will bring one back to the moraine on Cooper's Spur. The glacier is easy walking. I gave the route an X rating only for the descent because people have a nasty habit of falling down the route and dying.
|By mark kerns|
From: golden, co
Nov 17, 2007
This route gets an early sun hit. The main reason for most parties to get into trouble on descents for this climb is a late start that forces a descent down moderately steep slopes that have softened significantly since the climbers had ascended. Start early, descend early to avoid soft, poor snow conditions that occur after the sun hits the slopes.
|By Max Tepfer|
From: Bend, OR
Nov 22, 2011
1: Nothing about this route is x rated unless you were to climb it completely out of season (late summer) when there's no snow or ice. Yes an unprotected fall would be deadly from many places, but that's also true of an over bolted 5.8 clip-up. If you think you're going to fall-place protection.
2: The Sunshine route is an excellent descent option for all routes on this side of the mountain. It's comparable in steepness to the south side, requires safe glacier travel skills, and the ability to route-find because it sees far less traffic.