Skiing and Snowshoeing Boy Scout Ridge - Mt Hood, Oregon

Katie and I went out on our first snow adventure of the season together today. Even though the weather forecast was not great, we were both happy to be out doing what we love. We decided to head to White River Sno-Park (off hwy 35) to ski and snowshoe up to Boy Scout Ridge. This hike is about 2-2.5 miles (~1,800' elevation gain) depending on how far up you go and can have great views when the sun is out. The last time we were here was about two years ago on another poor weather day.

Boy Scout Ridge Trail Elevation Profile

We arrived at White River Sno-Park around 8:30 AM to find only a few other vehicles already there. The roads were icy on the way up and there looked to be lots of fresh snow around. I was excited to finally have enough snow to ski. The temperature was about 30°F with foggy, low visibility conditions. Even though the temperature was just below freezing, there was unfortunately a light drizzle coming down. It was still better than sitting at home and all the fresh snow made what we could see very beautiful.

Early Morning at White River Sno-Park     Katie Getting Ready to Snowshoe
Poor Visibility Looking Up White River Canyon     White River in the Snow

We set off, Katie on snowshoes and me on skis. The fresh snow was thick and deep, but we could still make out the defined track toward Boy Scout Ridge.

Katie Having a Great Time Snowshoeing     Jason Dreaming of Being a Better Skier
Well Defined Trail to Boy Scout Ridge     Fresh Snow on a Pine Tree

It continued to drizzle as we climbed higher and higher. We paused occasionally to take pictures and enjoy the snow scape.

A Blustery Winter Day on Mt Hood     Looking Back at our Fresh Ski and Snowshoe Tracks

Visibility decreased even further and before we realized it, we were at the base of the steep gully up to Boy Scout Ridge. The snow became very deep and eventually too steep for me to continue skinning up. I had to take my skis off and secure them to my pack while Katie broke trail to make it easier for me in my ski boots. I still ended up sinking nearly to my waist every few steps. It was slow going until I made it to the top where Katie was waiting for me.

Steep Climb up Boy Scout Ridge with Low Visibility     Katie Breaking Trail through 2-3 Feet of Fresh Snow

Right as we neared the top, the weather began to improve. We even saw blue sky. Unfortunately it was just a tease and the fog and drizzle soon returned.

Looking Down     Jason Struggling in the Deep Snow

The wind picked up once we were on the ridge. We decided to only go a little further since there was nothing to see. The snow was melting off all the trees and the wet conditions made skiing pretty slow. I didn't even need skins to go uphill.

Jason on Boy Scout Ridge     White River Canyon from Boy Scout Ridge

We turned around and headed back down. We ran into several other people happy to also be out in the snow. Once down lower, we found shelter from the wind and enjoyed hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and snacks.

Lots of Fog Over White River Canyon     Looking Up Boy Scout Ridge Towards Mt Hood
One Last Look at our Route up Boy Scout Ridge

We had a great time even with all the wet snow. It was nice to finally see some accumulation down near the sno-parks. Winter will soon be in full force and we'll be back to enjoy it.

Gear List

Osprey Variant 37 Pack
Deuter Futura 32 Pack
HighGear ATF8 Altimeter
Komperdell Powerlock Trekking Poles
Atlas Electra 9 FRS Snowshoes
Grivel G12 Crampons
CamelBak Antidote 70 oz. w/Insulated Drinking Tube
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Garmont Axon G-Fit High AT Boot
K2 BackUp Skis (160 cm) w/Dynafit TLT Vertical ST Bindings
K2 Climbing Skins
Marmot Expedition Mitts
Marmot Big Mountain Gloves
Head Digital Sport Liner Gloves
Columbia Sportswear Men's Ultrachange Parka
Columbia Sportswear Women's Alpine Aliance Parka
Merrell Women's Whiteout 8 Winter Boots
Head Outlast Women's Gloves
Triple Star Packable Down Hooded Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Transition Jacket
Outdoor Research TrailBreaker Pants™
Seirus Ultra Clava
Columbia Men's Fast Trek Fleece Hat
First Aid Kit
iPhone w/NeoTreksGPS
Suunto A-10 Compass


DavidJ, Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:07

I went up to BSR with a couple friends Sunday as well! We hit the trail around noon. Looks like you guys were the first ones up the ascent to gain the ridge, thanks for breaking trail!. I was hoping the weather would turn out as nice as the forecast made it out to be earlier in the week, but it was great to get out on our first snow adventure of the season, and my first time to BSR. We went no further than the top of the steep climb as well since the weather was picking up and there were no Hood views. A great day overall and good test of our gear. Love your website btw, it's been a great resource for winter activities. Cheers!

jloomis, Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:21

Thanks for the compliment David. The snow sure was deep going up to the ridge. One of these weekends the weather will cooperate with us!

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Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.