At 9,543 feet, Illumination Rock is one of the most technical alpine summits in the Pacific Northwest. It features snow, rock and ice climbing ranging in difficulty from 5.4 to WI5 to M4+. The base of the formation also features sport routes up to 5.11 in difficulty. Not only is Illumination Rock one of the most recognizable rock features on Mt. Hood, it is also one of the least trodden summits in all of Oregon. Our guides can help you achieve the summit and build alpine climbing skills in a stunning mountain environment.
The standard route to the summit of Illumination Rock is the Southwest Chamber. In late spring and early summer it features steep snow climbing and potentially some low-angle alpine ice. The final pitches to the summit feature exposed climbing on a sharp rock-ridge. Later in the summer it features more 4th class scrambling leading to the technical rock pitches. Your climb begins with meeting your guide at the Timberline Lodge to gear up. You may need crampons for the approach along the Zig Zag Glacier and mountaineering boots or rock shoes depending on the season and conditions. Then you’ll ride the ski-lift up to the top of the Timberline Ski Resort and begin the hour long hike to the base of the rock. On the approach you’ll traverse below Crater Rock and have excellent views of the iconic South Side of Mt. Hood and the West Crater Rim. If you choose to climb a more advanced route you may find yourself swinging technical ice tools, or jamming your rock shoes into the high-quality basalt cracks that are uncharacteristically solid for rock on Mt. Hood.