Sunday, June 9, 2013

McLoughlin

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

Apres-ski

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