Oregon's tallest peak, Mt. Hood, is also one of the world's most accessible, making it second only to Mt. Fuji as the planet's most climbed mountain.
Since the mid-1800s, adventurers have donned their gear on the mountain's flanks before ascending to one of the most spectacular views in the Cascade Mountains.
One of Mt. Hood's most famous climbers, Elijah Coleman, for whom Coleman Glacier is named, recorded 586 ascents in his lifetime. In the early 1900s, Coleman guided climbers from Government Camp on the mountain's south side to the summit, down the mountain's north side to Cloud Cap Inn for lunch, back to the summit and down to Government Camp in time for dinner!
Following a similar route, today's south-side climb begins at historic Timberline Lodge. After hiking from Timberline to the Palmer snow field, climbers begin the more arduous climb into the still-active crater of this volcano and then up to the summit above.
Though accessible, Mt. Hood is by no means without its hazards, including rock fall, crevasses and sudden weather changes. In 2002, nine climbers slid into the bergshrund crevasse, which yawns across the base of a steep chute leading to the summit. Three perished, and the military helicopter assigned to extract the remaining injured climbers crashed into the mountain's crater.
Yet amid the majestic beauty high atop Mt. Hood, it's easy to forget the possibilities of failure and instead enjoy the stunning display of nature's strength as you climb across crusty snow, smell the sulfur fumes escaping from nearby vents, and soak in the changing colors as the sun rises over an infinite horizon.
Until you can make that trip for yourself, grab your mouse and get ready for a unique desktop climb to the top of Oregon