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Re: Anyone willing to share clothing, sleeping bag, boot, and food suggestions for climbing Mt Hood?

Want to buy birthday gifts for an upcoming Mt Hood climb. Best recommendations for both Men/women’s boots, ideas for clothing, sleeping bags. Also any ideas for food during climb.  Thank you.

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Even the "easier" southside climbing route is a technical climb with crevasses, falling rocks, and often inclement weather. Ropes, ice axescrampons and other technical mountaineering gear are necessary.[49

From Wikipedia.  Suggest you check the entry for more useful information.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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@NWMOM97086 

Thanks for reaching out and happy birthday!

Admittedly, it's been over a decade since I climbed Mt. Hood, but I still have a lot of the gear I used! My experience was climbing the 'standard' route up the south side from Timberline Lodge. If you are planning a different route, particularly one that is more committing, please bear that in mind when weighing my advice. Additionally, the gear I used was purchased in order to climb all the Cascade volcanoes, from a long, one-day Mt. Hood climb to a four day climb of Mt Rainier.

In terms of a sleeping bag, I prefer a down bag for its warmth to weight ratio, however, there are lots of solid synthetic options that should work for you. What's most important is knowing whether you run warm or cold in a sleeping bag and getting one in the appropriate temperature range for you. I tend to run pretty warm, and even so, I typically use a sleeping bag just below a 30° F rating. Even at the height of summer, temperatures at altitude can drop below freezing in the Cascades. Here are some options to consider:

  • The North Face One Sleeping bag. This is my wife's (who is a more accomplished climber than I!) go-to choice for mountaineering trips. She appreciates that ability to add or subtract insulation depending on conditions.
  • The REI Co-op Down Time 25 sleeping bag. I actually use a 0° version of this bag because I lived in Alaska up until recently.

In terms of boots, here are a couple of options that work well in the Cascades:

Both of those models are waterproof, have a full length shank, and accept hybrid or strap-on crampons.

When thinking about your clothing, layering is your best friend! Generally speaking, you can do the same on bottom as you do on top, keeping in mind if you run hot or cold and what conditions may be. You can read more about layering strategy in this Expert Advice article, Layering Basics. For a Cascade volcano like Mt. Hood, a thin base layer, a mid-layer or a mid layer shell is a good start. Then you'll want to carry a hardshell and an insulating layer. If the weather is good, you may not need your hardshell and you may only use your insulating layer when you're taking breaks or for that summit selfie.

Here is the system that I use on top and has been adapted over many years of trial and error:

This is what works well for me, you can adapt your system to meet your needs. One thing I have worked to achieve is the ability to wear all of the layers at once if needed. You never know when you'll have inclement weather roll in, particularly at high altitude in the Cascades.

Depending on your experience at altitude, which can affect your appetite, and which route you are planning on climbing (whether it is a long day trip or an overnight), you'll want to be thoughtful about your food choices. Personally, I like to carry food that I know I will be able to eat, even if I am not feeling great. That usually means homemade chocolate chip cookies or Girl Scout Thin Mints if they're available. When I climbed Mt Hood we slept in the car in the parking lot and hiked from the lodge to the summit and back in one day. As such, we didn't carry food that required preparation, although we did have a stove and fuel if we needed it. We took a thermos of hot chocolate which was a blessing as we sat and waited for the crowds to get up through the Pearly Gates and clear out the Hogsback. One of my favorite things about mountaineering is that it tends to be done in cooler temperatures and you can build a 'refrigerator' in the snow when you're camping. I tend to take summer sausage, sliced cheese, crackers, trail mix, some candy bars, and the aforementioned cookies. I also take some tea bags and a freeze dried meal just in case we are delayed and need warm food and drinks.

As my climbing mentor liked to say: ‘The most important piece of gear is right between your ears.’ Mt. Hood is an awesome climb and really fun, however, its accessibility and ‘relative’ short distance can make it dangerous when people are not prepared. Practicing with crampons, rope management and technique, crevasse rescue, glacier travel skills, ice axe use, and wilderness first aid are just a few of the skills needed to climb a mountain like Mt. Hood. When I climbed it there was a traffic jam of roped and unroped climbers on the Hogsback, posing an incredible danger if someone at the top fell. We wisely waited until everyone cleared off, and we had the summit to ourselves. As we descended in the afternoon, we passed a group of three people hiking up the snowfield, hoping to summit, wearing jeans and tennis shoes. I’m sure they had some interesting thoughts about our group, roped up, crampons and helmets on, hiking slowly down the mountain. Fortunately, they made the smart decision to turn around shortly after we passed them.

Don't hesitate to reach back out with more questions! Hopefully this helps, Mt. Hood is a great climb and I wish you all the best of luck!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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