According to Oregon native Phillip Elden, the picturesque scenery of the Northwest is appealing to both long-time residents and short-term visitors alike. As an active environmentalist, Phillip Elden believes that nature is something that should be cherished and respected. Below, Phillip Elden recalls the precious memories of his experience climbing Mount Hood.
Community Blog: Welcome, and thank you for sharing your stories with us today, Phillip Elden.
Phillip Elden: I’m glad to do so. Mt. Hood is a special location.
Community Blog: How popular is Mt. Hood for mountaineers?
Phillip Elden: Mt. Hood, which scales more than 11,000 feet, is an active tourist spot all year round. Approximately 10,000 climbers ascend to its peak annually.
Community Blog: Isn’t Mt. Hood a volcano like Mt. St. Helens?
Phillip Elden: No, not exactly. Mt. Hood is actually a dormant volcano with 11 glaciers.
Community Blog: When was your first Mt. Hood climb?
Phillip Elden: My first climb up Mt. Hood occurred about 12 years with my wife, Cindi.
Community Blog: Were you traveling with a group?
Phillip Elden: Yes, we were members of the Timberline Summit Program.
Community Blog: What exactly is the Timberline Summit Program?
Phillip Elden: The Program is a terrific resource for newcomers that are embarking on their first climbing expeditions.
Community Blog: How long does the climb take?
Phillip Elden: An experienced climber can make it in only one day, as long as you have the right materials. You’ll need to use ice axes, as well as cramp-ons.
Community Blog: When did you climb Mt. Hood?
Phillip Elden: It was during the first week of June. Our journey began at midnight in the Timberline Lodge.
Community Blog: Why the middle of the night start time?
Phillip Elden: If the climb doesn’t begin by 3 a.m., the snow turns into a slushy mess that makes a trek hazardous.
Community Blog: What happens next?
Phillip Elden: The group is then transported on a snowcat and driven to the home base. Our particular guide led the group up the Mt. Hood’s south side.
Community Blog: How long did your journey take?
Phillip Elden: Our group traversed up the mountain all the way through the night and eventually witnessed a beautiful golden sun rising in the East. Along the Old Chute path, we summited the mountain around 7 a.m.
Community Blog: What was this experience like?
Phillip Elden: Truly life-changing. From the highest peak, you can see Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Adams and several of the region’s most famous mountains.
Community Blog: Is the trip back down the mountain less challenging?
Phillip Elden: Well, you must proceed with caution, but it is generally easier. In fact, once the difficult portions were completed, we took garbage bags and turned them into sleds.
Community Blog: It must have felt like a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Phillip Elden: The first time was truly special. Since that day, I have been to the top of Mt. Hood an additional three times. For each adventure, I select a different approach. That way, the outing is always fun and exciting.
Phillip Elden is a long-time member of the Mazamas, a collective of mountaineers who enjoy the outdoors while raising awareness about environmental issues affecting the Northwest.