Monday, April 22, 2013

Thielsen

Ski season is winding down in most places.  But in the Pacific Northwest, volcano season is just getting underway.  At 9,182 feet, Mount Thielsen isn't the highest volcano in southern Oregon. However, it may be the most unique. As you pass Crater Lake National Park on highway 230, Thielsen's eroded summit pinnacle reaches for the sky like the spire of a cathedral.  After a long and busy week, I was looking forward to this trip. I left Medford at 4 AM on Saturday and met up with friends David, Kyle and Jake, who drove from Eugene and camped at the Mount Thielsen SnoPark the night before. By 6:30 we were on the trail.

Thielsen from highway 230

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dutchman Peak

At 7,419 feet, Dutchman Peak is (to my knowledge) the second highest peak in the Oregon Siskiyous and the second highest peak in Oregon west of the Cascades. I had been eyeing it for awhile.  It is clearly visible from the summit of Mount Ashland, roughly ten miles away, and on my many trips up Mt. A, I had ogled the Dutchman's glades, trees, bowls and-- it appeared-- even a few chutes (a rarity in the Siskiyous).  Last weekend I decided it was time to do some reconnaissance and perhaps get a few low angle turns.

In preparation, I spent the night before mapping how to get there. It looked like I could drive up the the Little Applegate Valley from Ruch and take Yale Creek Road nearly to the summit (or at least to whatever point the snow stopped me). 

Sunday morning I grabbed my maps, gear, and Allie (my dog) and we hit the road. All went as planned until we reached about 5,000 feet, where, surprisingly, the rough road (not snow) stopped us.  Nevertheless, I could see the objective ahead of us, and looking at my map, it was about a mile away. The rest of the approach would have to be on foot.

We geared up and got moving. Looking towards the Dutchman from our parking spot, we could see that skinable terrain was within reach.