Reid Glacier

Located on the western side of Mt Hood, the Reid Glacier is one of Mt Hood’s most visible glaciers from Portland, bounded by Yokum ridge to the north and the ridge containing Illumination Rock to the south. The glacier’s upper reaches sit at an elevation of approximately 9800 feet, with snow and ice flowing downhill to roughly 7800 feet at it’s toe, where meltwater from the Reid contributes as a main source to the Sandy River. The glacier has retreated significantly in recent years, and occupies an area much less than it did even a decade ago. The Reid was named in 1901 after Professor Harry Felding Reid of John Hopkins University, who spent much time on Mt. Hood studying the mountains glaciers, particularly the White River Glacier. Professor Reid is also noted for taking many early photographs of Hood’s glaciers from the turn of the century.

The below photo, taken on 8/28/2007, shows the Reid from the west, and is courtesy of John Scurlock and Portland State University.

Reid Glacier, Photo courtesy of John Scurlock & Portland State University

Skiing and riding on the Reid is possible, though it does have numerous crevasses that pose significant hazard. Evaluation of the glacier is prudent before strapping in to make turns. One of the more scenic routes on the mountain is Leuthold’s Couloir, named after famed Mt Hood climber and ski patroller Joe Leuthold, has been ridden from the summit ridge when conditions are right and deposits riders at the top of the Reid Glacier. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart or anyone other than advanced riders however, as the route is very steep with serious consequences if a fall occurs, not to mention it also routinely avalanches.

Riding is also possible on the main glacier itself, but again caution is advised due to crevasse hazard. The glacier is usually quite filled in during the Spring, and dropping in from Illumination Saddle allows access to turns directly down the Reid, but requires either a long traverse around the mountain from the bottom or a skin back up to the saddle. Either way, the Reid Glacier is one of the more scenic places on Mt. Hood to enjoy some backcountry turns.

Reid Glacier from Illumination Saddle – October 2011