A teenager’s harrowing fall down from Mount Hood’s Pearly Gates recently earned national news coverage, as near-disasters and tragedies often do. However, I am not going to write about that mishap. Hundreds of news outlets already have picked up on that story, with the usual warnings. Instead, I am going to write about a different local teenager, who summited Mount Hood four times in one day, from four different angles, solo, and was home in time for a very late dinner.
Landon Lim is 18 years old, born and raised in Portland, a student at the University of Calgary. He hiked a lot as a kid but never really got into climbing until he made it to the summit of Mount Hood a few years ago traveling up the well-traveled South Side route above Timberline Lodge.
Swinging his axe into the ice that day, “Something just clicked,” he says. “It seemed like the purest expression of the outdoors for me.”
As he got into climbing more challenging routes, Lim found that the greater the challenge, the more pure the experience. He supplemented his climbing adventures with endurance tests, like running all the ways around the 38.3-mile Timberline Trail. He completed a 32-hour “infinity loop” on Mount Hood from Cloud Cap: up Cooper Spur to the summit, down the south side to Timberline Lodge, and back to Cooper Spur via the Timberline trail – twice.
Lim decided to attempt a solo four-summit day on Hood during Winter Break from his studies, before the snow on the mountain was too deep. His mom dropped him off at the Tilly Jane trailhead and he started climbing solo at 4 am December 29, making his way up to Cooper Spur and down to the Eliot Glacier, where he geared up for a 7.5-hour trek up the ice to the summit. Conditions were perfect – assuming you love ice.
In addition to crampons, ice axe, harness, and plenty of food and water to sustain him, Lim carried a spot tracker device to broadcast coordinates in the event of an emergency. He says he wanted to climb solo “because it offered the purest possible experience for me and the most self discovery.”
After enjoying the view from the summit, Lim quickly descended the Old Chute and walked west to Illumination Saddle to scout out the Reid Headwall.
There the going got slow from deep snow. He powered his way through and made it back to the top by Hour 13.
Back down the Old Chute Lim dropped, and across White River Canyon to the Wy’East Route. The ice was good there, and he made it back to the summit by Hour 16.
Once more down the Old Chute and up the Pearly Gates for the fourth summit of the day, and then finally Lim completed his 18-hour day with a brisk run (yes, run) down to Timberline Lodge, where his mom was waiting for him in the parking lot.
“I was home in time for a very late dinner,” he says.
All images courtesy of Landon Lim. Got a trip report or adventure story you want to share with the Shed Hood community? Contact us here.
Last modified: January 24, 2020