White River Glacier (Oregon)
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|White River Glacier|
|Location||Hood River County, Oregon, USA|
|Area||110 acres (45 ha)|
|Length||2 mi or 3 km (est)|
White River Glacier is an alpine glacier located on the south slopes of Mount Hood in the U.S. state of Oregon. It ranges in elevation from about 6,200 to 10,000 ft (1,900 to 3,000 m). It is among the best known of the twelve glaciers on the mountain, and the lower reaches are a popular destination for Nordic skiing enthusiasts. The glacier is the source of the White River, a tributary of the Deschutes River, and has a long history of washing out the bridge where Oregon Route 35 crosses at .
The glacier is a remnant of the massive glaciers that formed during the last ice age and have created White River Canyon. The canyon divides the two largest ski areas on Mount Hood, and is easily seen from many areas of Timberline Lodge ski area, and from the upper southern runs of Mount Hood Meadows.
The glacier is bounded on the east by a ridge shared with Newton-Clark Glacier and on the west by a ridge shared with Palmer Glacier. The upper glacier forms at the base of Steel Cliff to the east of an area known as Triangle Moraine. The glacier lies almost entirely within Mount Hood Wilderness.
The western edge of the canyon is extremely steep and in times of low visibility causes descending mountain climbers on the South Route (through Palmer Glacier to Timberline Lodge) to veer excessively to the west. This has resulted in numerous search and rescue operations near or in Zigzag Canyon, west of Palmer Glacier. (See Mount Hood climbing accidents.)
Jökulhlaups originating from White River Glacier occurred in 1926, 1931, 1946, 1949, 1959, and 1968. These washed out Highway 35 (or its predecessor) each time. An increase of outbursts from White River Glacier may be related to increasing temperatures and the size of the fumarole field at the glacier's head at Crater Rock.