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Snow Dome and Elliot Glacier

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.0 (1)

A scenic line with options for a steep pitch of glacier skiing or a crevasse free intermediate line on the Snow Dome


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Map Key

5.2

Miles

8.3

KM

Ascent

9,519' 2,901 m

High

4,558' 1,389 m

Low

5,069' 1,545 m

Up

175' 53 m

Down

19%

Avg Slope (11°)

112%

Max Slope (48°)
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
OR Snow Park Permit required

Need to Know

The described route crosses glacial terrain that could be crevassed or icy. Evaluate it carefully. Crampons and mountaineering skills are useful. In some years the Snow Dome is skiable into the summer season.

Description

Just a few decades ago the Snow Dome stood out as a white dome crowning the divide between the Elliot and Coe Glaciers at an elevation between 7800' to 9700'. Melting and shrinkage has affected both the Elliot Glacier and the Snow Dome, which now resembles more of a ramp than a dome. It's still a great ski tour.

Skin or hike to the Tilly Jane cabin area from either the Cooper Spur snow park via the Polallie Trail, or the Tilly Jane snow park and the Tilly Jane Trail. From the cabin area ascend to the south lateral moraine of the Elliot Glacier circa 6870' in the vicinity of the Cooper Spur Shelter. Assess the condition of the lower Elliot Glacier here to confirm that you can cross safely to the north lateral moraine. If all looks well, then a well-trod path usually traverses the moraine SW dropping gently to the Elliot Glacier. Cross the glacier heading west below the small remnant icefall to climb the north lateral moraine. Access the snow dome area at circa 7800' and either boot or skin to the top of the dome where it terminates at cliff bands, circa 9650'. Enjoy views of the Elliot Headwall and Cathedral Ridge looming above you. You might dig a snow pit to assess conditions/stability for the steep drop into the Elliot Glacier.

You have two descent options to choose between: The Snow Dome or Elliot Glacier. The Snow Dome descent presents an intermediate ski run with few hazards and snow conditions that you've already assessed. Ski the Snow Dome and the lower Elliot along your line of ascent, or for a longer tour drop to the north at the base of the Snow Dome (circa 7800') to access the Langille Glacier, ski north to the Timberline Trail, and follow the trail to Cloud Cap and Tilly Jane. In late season, the Snow Dome can be accessed from the Timberline Trail and a climber's trail along the Elliot Glacier north lateral moraine.

The other descent option is to ski the upper Elliot Glacier, an advanced ski run that includes glacier travel and possible crevasse hazards – be sure to assess it carefully. This section is well-covered and most safe in late winter conditions. The drop starts at 40 degrees and becomes 20-25 degrees below the northeast face with a few nearly flat sections above and below the icefalls. It's a majestic descent, skiing among the upper Elliot's icefalls and below the cliffs of the northeast face.

Contacts

Shared By:

Stephen Shostek

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#1

in Mt. Hood

#195

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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#1

in Mt. Hood

#4

in Oregon

#195

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Photos

View from the south lateral moraine, lower Elliot Glacier
Mar 31, 2021 near Governm…, OR
Lunch break on the Snow Dome, circa 8400' elevation.
Mar 31, 2021 near Governm…, OR
Lower Elliot Glacier, below the lower icefall and climbing up to the Snow Dome.
Mar 31, 2021 near Governm…, OR
Upper Elliot Glacier ski descent, circa 9500'
Mar 31, 2021 near Governm…, OR

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Mar 27, 2021
Stephen Shostek
Freezing level 7000'; Blue sky; Light wind; 6 hrs climb; Low avy risk