Well it’s been a few weeks since my trip up to Twin and I’ll be honest, it’s been a crazy few weeks.  I’ve had a lot of things happen both good and bad in my personal life, but the thoughts of Twin and the list haven’t been that far away.  I was successful climbing to the summit of Twin Peaks.  By summiting Twin I completed the 100 highest peaks in Oregon list.  Out of all the last four years this year was the most unique.  I relied on the help of friends to summit the majority of the remaining peaks in 2013.  I started off the climbing season with my son Jeremy hiking into the Mountain Lakes Wilderness Area to pick up the three peaks located there and finished with Twin Peaks with friends I’ve made over the course of climbing the peaks off the list.

Here’s my climbing video as I reached the top of my 100th peak off the list.  The summit pinnacle of Twin Peaks is basically a mound of rubble teetering on a narrow summit ridge.

 

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Peak (Number 100)

Yes, I’m a little behind on posting. I’ll be leaving tonight to head in to the Wallowa Mountains to make another attempt on Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks is my last peak off the Oregon’s Highest 100 Peaks list. It’s a little hard to believe that I’m almost done with climbing all 100 peaks.
I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for a decent weather window to summit. I’ll post a trip report upon my return.
Wish me luck!

Image  —  Posted: September 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Mt. McLoughlin

I’ve been looking forward to spending time in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness area for what’s been years now.  Back in 2011 I actually drove to the Varney Creek TH to attempt Mt. Harriman, but I ended up just camping the night before heading back to the east side of the state to get away from the deep snow.  I was on my own and felt a little uneasy heading into an unknown wilderness area under the conditions that I was presented with.  So, for a couple years I kept trying to plan a trip which for me is all the way across the state of Oregon from the NE to the SW.  For the last couple months I’ve been following the snow pack depths from various met stations along with a snow depth model provided by NOAA.  Finally everything lined up and my son Jeremy and I traveled over to the wilderness area for an overnight backpacking trip.

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Jeremy at the Clover Creek Trail.

We left Walla Walla early on Friday morning for the long, but interesting, drive down Hwy 97 to Kalamath Falls which is only 20 miles from the wilderness area.  Our plan was to drive over to the Clover Creek TH and hike up the trail to the ridge leading up to the summit of Aspen Butte.  The drive went smoothly and we arrived at the TH at 2:30 pm and we were off and hiking by 3:00 pm.  The trail traverses over to Clover Creek then up along the creek to Clover Lake, just past the lake the trail reaches a junction with a trail that heads over to the Loop Trail.  We hiked up the connecting trail to the ridge overlooking the center of the wilderness area and numerous mountain lakes and found a spot to camp right along the ridge.  While Jeremy set up camp I continued up the ridge just under a mile to the summit of Aspen Butte.

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Camp

Aspen Butte is the highest peak in the wilderness area and from the summit the views were amazing in all directions.  By the time I returned to camp the sun was heading down so I quickly melted snow for water and filled our bottles for the evening and the morning of the next day, then melted a little more for dinner.  We sat in the tent, ate dinner, then headed for a good nights sleep.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and while Jeremy slept I headed over to Mt. Carmine which was just over a mile from camp.  The hike went smoothly and before long I had descended off the ridge we were camped on and up the ridge to the peak’s summit.  I snapped shots of Aspen Butte and the other peaks located around the wilderness area.  I love hiking in the early morning, the light on the peaks typically is amazing at sunrise and this morning wasn’t an exception.

Aspen Butte

Aspen Butte

All in all it took just over a couple hours to hike up to the summit of Mt. Carmine and back to camp.  We had a quick breakfast then packed up camp and headed back down the trail to the Clover Creek TH.  From the trail head we drove around the west side of the wilderness area to the Varney Creek TH.

I knew the hike up to the summit of Mt. Harriman would be a little more difficult than the hike up the two prior peaks and by the time we arrived at the trail head the temperature was already up in the 80′s.  The hike up to the summit of Mt. Harriman from the parking area is through a fairly dense forest with areas of downfall and rocky soils, oh and there isn’t a trail so it’s all cross country.

Mt. Harriman

Mt. Harriman

Jeremy decided to relax at the car and read while I headed up to the peak, I told him it would take about 2 hours round trip, I definitely underestimated the amount of time it would take to hike the 4 miles round trip to the summit and back.  The first mile went quickly then during the second mile the gradient increased and the terrain became more rocky with numerous boulder fields extending up close to the summit.  I felt like I earned the summit of Mt. Harriman and enjoyed a few minutes on the top by taking pictures and eating a quick Cliff Bar lunch before I started heading back.

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta

By the time I returned from the hike up Mt. Harriman it was after 3:00 pm so we decided to head into Kalamath Falls for dinner then up to the Cove Palisades State Park where we camped for the evening.  Saturday was a long, but very productive day, 3 peaks off the list!  We woke up early and drove the remaining miles back home.  88 peaks down, 12 to go!

Mountain Lakes Panorama

Mountain Lakes Panorama

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Route

At the beginning of June I headed over to Mt. Hood to attempt the Old Chute route with Caleb, a fellow eastern Oregon/Washington climber and friend.  This climb would be his first attempt on Oregon’s highest peak and it would be a return to the first Mt. Hood route that I climbed back in the early 90′s.

We carried overnight gear up above the lodge about .5 mile and grabbed a few hours sleep before our early morning start up the mountain.

Searching for a wind break to hide behind for camp.

Searching for a wind break to hide behind for camp.

After climbing through the night in windy, but clear conditions we arrived at the summit at sunrise and enjoyed a few minutes on the top before we headed back off the peak.

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Summit!

On the descent we passed numerous climbers heading up the route, I was glad we were heading down.  Mt. Hood’s southern routes are quite popular so it’s always good to get up and down before the crowds.

All in all it was an amazing climb and I’m thankful that I could be there for Caleb’s first Mt. Hood ascent!

Rodgers Ridge

Posted: May 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Rogers Ridge high point

It’s time to get serious about getting in shape for this summer.  I went for a long hike up Rodgers Ridge in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon.  A few days ago I was looking at peaks in Google Earth and came across what looked like an interesting high point along Rodgers Ridge so yesterday I went out to check it out.  Unfortunately the high point wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped.  The trees surrounding it blocked what looked like an amazing view of the surrounding peaks.  Even though the views were disappointing, I still had an amazing spring day hiking in the Blue Mountains.  The technical details for the hike can be found at my Garmin Connect site (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/311264394).

Last year I purchased a new GravityWorks water filter and have absolutely fallen in love with it.  With the gravity filter there’s no need for pumping.  I fill up the upper reservoir hang it in a tree or sit it on a rock then all you have to do is let gravity filter the water into the lower reservoir.  Now instead of having to pump filter water I can sit back relax

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Filtering water out of Bear Creek

while the water’s being filtered.  If anyone out there’s looking for a new filter check out the GravityWorks.

Twin Peaks Revisited

Posted: May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Time flies by, here it is May 1, 2013 and summer is closing fast.  I ended 2012 hitting the 85 peak mark with the Oregon highest 100 peaks list, for those counting that means I only have 15 peaks left.  15 peaks…definitely a do able number for 2013 when you consider one third of the 15 are located around Crater Lake and could possibly be climbed in a day.  On the other end of the spectrum I still have a couple difficult peaks to summit, Twin Peaks and North Sister.

A couple weeks ago I decided to attempt Twin Peaks, for the second time.  I know it’s early in the season, but I wanted to see if it was possible to make an early season ascent on the peak while the rotten rock summit was frozen in place with snow piled up on the east side.  Unfortunately I was unsuccessful on my attempt.  The days prior to my attempt were filled with cloudy skies and accumulating snow in the higher elevations which meant difficult conditions for climbing.  I knew going into the weekend that the possiblity of pulling off the attempt were quite low, but for someone dealing with cabin fever I was willing to take a shot.

Due to the deep snow and warm conditions I was only able to reach an elevation slightly above the 8000′ mark.  Although I didn’t reach the summit, I enjoyed an evening out in the mountains under a sky full of stars.

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Sunrise on my way back to camp after a predawn start on my summit attempt.

 

At this point I think I’ll wait till mid to late summer to make my third and hopefully final attempt on the summit block of Twin Peaks.

Last October I hiked up the main Eagle Creek trail with a few friends to try and climb the five peaks located on the east and west side of the Eagle Creek drainage.  Unfortunately, the weather on that October trip was awful, it snowed or rained the majority of the time so I was only successful in climbing one of the five peaks.  Last weekend I finally returned to Eagle Creek to pick off a couple of the peaks off the 100 list.

Cached Lake South Peak

After working on Thursday I drove up to the main Eagle Creek TH then quickly hiked up the trail toward Cached Lake South Peak.  I attempted the peak in October of 2012 and was turned back less than 1000 horizontal feet from the summit due to snowy/icy conditions.  The trail miles went by quick and it wasn’t long before I was filtering water out of a small stream getting ready for the cross country hike from the trail to the summit.  It was nice being familiar with the route, it allowed me to enjoy the surrounding views on the hike  up until I reached the rocky knife ridge that would lead to the summit.  I worked my way up and around the rocky cliffs until I realized I was at my turn around point in 2011.  I had to drop off the ridge down to the west and around a small cliff before I found an easy scramble up to the summit.  I love summitting late in the evening, the light is always amazing.  I snapped a few shots, took a little video, and enjoyed the amazing view of the southern Wallowa Mountains.  To the north across an alpine basin was Needle Point my destination for Friday morning.  After only 10 to 15 minutes on top I started down the northwest side of the peak on my way to the base of Needle Point.

I hiked over a large boulder field on my way down into the basin that separates Cached Lake S Peak and Needle Point and after about an hour and a half I was standing below Needle Point where I would camp for the evening.  My campsite was awesome, a nice flat spot next to a small stream, water and a view!!  Dinner and a little listening to an audiobook filled the rest of my evening.
My first alarm went off at 3:45 am then what seemed like a second later my second alarm went off at 4:00 am, it took the second one to wake me up enough to start my stove for breakfast.  Breakfast consisted of a Cliff Bar and a cup of Starbucks Via coffee.  I love backpacking with Via coffee, it’s nice sitting in the tent sipping on good coffee, it puts a smile on my face…Ok, I maybe addicted to coffee.  After packing up the few things I would need for the ascent of the peak I was up and out of the tent well before sunrise.

Needle Point

Friday morning was calm and mostly cloudy, off in the distance I could see a few rain showers.  My camp was only .4 miles horizontal feet and about 1200 vertical feet from the summit.  The hike up to the top of the southwest ridge leading to the summit went by without difficulty and I was rewarded with an amazing view of an isolated basin to the north.  I’m planning on returning someday to hike down into the remote, trail-less basin for a little exploring.  The last 500′ was the steepest, but I was able to easily walk up a couple boulder fields and on some loose scree all the way to the top.  My timing was perfect, after shooting a little video the sun started to rise above the clouds in the east and I was treated to a beautiful sunrise.  I snapped shot after shot of the southern Wallowa Mountains.  I’ll admit it, it was nice to mentally check off peak after peak that I could see from the summit. I’m getting close to finishing off the remaining peaks left on the 100 list that are located in the Wallowa Mountains.  I could see all of the remaining five peaks I have left from the summit of Needle Point.  If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to climb the five peaks in the Wallowas in 2012 which would leave the 16 peaks, 14 in the Cascades and two in southeastern Oregon left for 2013.  After I finished dreaming of the completion of the project I started back to camp, it’s easy to lose focus.

Southern Wallowa Mountains

I packed up camp in less than 30 minutes and was off down the trail.  On the hike out i could see a couple of the peaks I hope to climb in the next month, Culver Lake South Peak and Peak 8924.  Culver Lake South Peak seemed so close it was hard to walk past on my way out, especially knowing it had the potential of being my 80th peak.  Sigh, I forced myself past the peak and after a couple hours I was back at the truck and driving back home.

79 down, 21 to go!