Mount McLoughlin (9,495') dominates the southern Oregon skyline. Not only is it Oregon's highest peak south of the Three Sisters, but it cleanly rises nearly a vertical mile from the surrounding landscape. It's a mere 30 miles from Medford, and its steep lines taunt me every day on my morning commute. On Saturday I finally got around to skiing it.
|McLoughlin in winter|
At 5 AM I rolled out of bed, my head throbbing. Friday night's happy hour somehow lasted well into the night. I fought off the headache, and by 6:30 I pulled off FS 3650 into the McLoughlin Trail parking lot, surprised to see about 10 cars already there. It was a later start than I had hoped, so I quickly geared up and hit the trail.
|Mount McLoughlin trail|
|After a about two miles I began to see patches of snow. Lake of the Woods and Mountain Lakes wilderness are in the background.|
|At about 7,000' the climb got interesting|
|The summit was first visible from the false summit at 8,200'|
|Panorama of summit and northeast bowl|
After passing a Mazamas group, and just before I reached the summit, I ran into two other skiers. We chatted about Oregon and skiing, and they snapped a photo of me on the summit. I joined them for the descent.
|Top of southern Oregon|
|Panorama from summit; Shasta at left|
|Ready to drop in the northeast bowl. Fourmile Lake and Pelican Butte appear in the background.|
|Skiing McLoughlin with my new acquaintances|
|Navigating a boulder field below McLoughlin's northeast bowl. We managed about 2,500 vertical feet of descent.|
|After the ski descent, we bushwacked a couple miles back to the trail|