A Mount Hood Picnic: FAQs

In 2019 Paul and I set out to try a brand new thing we called a “Mount Hood Picnic”. Below is a recap of what actually happen, followed by the original FAQ page.

On May 30th 2019 we (almost) completed our Mount Hood Picnic. We missed our high spot (the summit of Mount Hood) but still managed something we were pretty darn proud of. To see a quick glimpse at what happened, check out our video:

Here are the original FAQs:

So. I’ve decided to do a thing. Or, more appropriately, I’ve decided to train for a thing. It’s a totally contrived backcountry triathlon that involved swimming across (or, maybe along?) the Columbia River, biking from Hood River to Timberline Lodge, and climbing Mount Hood and then reversing it all (sort of). Oh, and all in 24hrs. But since that elevator speech seems to leave people with far more questions than answers, here’s a little FAQ to clear up what the heck I’m actually trying to train for.

So, wait, what are you doing?

  • Swim across Columbia and back from Hood River (~2 miles)
  • Bike to Timberline Lodge (47.5 miles; 7,623 ft elevation)
  • Hike/Ski/Climb to Mt. Hood summit (3.4 miles; 5,100 ft elevation)
  • Ski/hike back down back to Barlow Pass
  • Bike back to Hood River
  • Totals: 104 miles; 12,700 elevation gain

I’m a visual learner…

THIS might help…

Where did this idea come from?

The inspiration – totally worth the watch


Surprisingly, this doesn’t get asked as much as you might think. Is it totally cliche to just steal the George Mallory quote “Because it’s there.”?

Have you considered “x” danger?

“x” danger usually referring to either the swim across the Columbia OR the Hood summit (but insert several other concerns here).

Short answer. Probably. And we’ve probably already got a contingency plan or alternate options on the table.

When is this all happening?

We’re trying to balance the best time to swim with the best time to summit Hood. The sweet spot is likely mid-May to mid-June. We have a tentative date in mind, but we’ll see.

Do you have support? Is this thing organized?

While there are just two of us actually attempting this, we do have 1-3 friends who will be providing support along the route. We are not self-supporting (maybe another time!). What does that mean? The big thing is that we aren’t biking with our skis – we’ll drop them at Timberline Lodge ahead of time. We’ll have folks who can grab us if we need to bail, and who can provide us with more food after the bike ride.

More questions?

Curious about anything? Contact me at: hello@cartwheelsandcake.com


Head HERE for another take on this thing.