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Tree Hugger
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I have been riding with the Disciples of Dirt for 6 years now, and for the first 4 of them, I could never convince any of the group to put down the bike, and do something different like hiking, or skiing/snowboarding. Fortunately, the last couple of years, more folks have been receptive to mixing it up a bit, and so we have been able to get a few snow days at Willamette Pass and Mt Bachelor. Last year, I dragged a few folks up to Mt St Helens to climb the volcano.

This year, I managed to convince a few DODers to climb Mt Thielsen. They tried to blow me off a few times, and I re-scheduled the hike twice, but it seems like the fates were looking out for us, as our hike ended up being on what may have been the last day of the year that we could have made the summit without ice climbing gear, and the snowfall from Friday coated the mountain in beauty, and stoked our engines to hit the slopes this winter.

The hike to the summit of Mt Thielsen is about 4.5 miles, with 3900 feet of climbing. Gooch, Rockless, Mudflaps and I left Eugene at 6:30am (Mudflaps was late) and drove to the trailhead, where me met up with Dan G., formerly from Bandon, and now a resident of Calgary. He was in the states awaiting a new visa, and decided to join us for some off bike adventure. There was 2-3 inches of snow at the trailhead, and to our surprise, about 6 cars belonging to hikers that got an earlier start than us. As we climbed through the forest for the first 2.5-3 miles, we got a few glimpses at the mountain, and the butterflies danced in my belly.









We started to make it out of the trees, and were treated to a nice view of Diamond Lake with Mt Bailey in the background.





We made it to the intersection with the Pacific Crest trail, and reached the first unobstructed views of the peak, and the climbing route along the south ridge. there was plenty of snow to make the climb look tougher, and although the skies were still blue overhead, we saw banks of clouds to the west, and they were moving fast.





We left the safety of a trail, following tracks in the snow onto the south ridge of Mt Thielsen, to begin the actual climb.





Based on the snow rime on the stunted trees at the base of the south ridge, Friday would have been a miserable day on the mountain, and since there was more precipitation in the forecast for Sunday, it appeared we found the perfect window of weather to attempt the climb.





The clouds began to overtake us, and visibility was reduced, but we could still see bits and pieces of the awesome terrain on the mountain as we climbed towards the summit, hoping for another break in the clouds.











As we got closer to the summit, we rose above the cloud layer, and got our first views of the actual summit block, the toughest part of the climb. Many folks stop just short of the summit due to the exposed and technical nature of the last 50 vertical feet.















We reached the base of the summit block, and were treated to great views above the clouds.





You could peak around the corner and look west, but we knew the best views were on the top, so discussions began while we waited for the Chemeketa Climbing Club to descend from the summit. These guys and gals were experienced mountaineers, and had brought rope and harnesses to safely scale the summit. we were novices with no equipment to protect us from falls. I was getting scared, especially when the climbing club leader told me that he only climbed the summit without ropes in dry conditions wearing rock climbing shoes. My old hiking boots had no flex, bad edges, and no grip.

Rockless, Mudflaps and Dan all decided against taking the risk (they all had great excuses to justify their decisions:p) but Gooch and I really were determined to summit the mountain, and began to try and psyche each other up to try it. The climbing club leader helped us when he said there was no way he'd hike this far, and not summit. We took that as a challenge and got started.

The first twenty vertical feet were the toughest, and we figured that we had plenty of people to drag our carcasses down the hill, so up we went. Gooch, always the gentleman, offered to let me go first so I could get a few pictures. Thanks Gooch! :rolleyes:



A Chemeketa club member shows us the smart way to descend


We made it to the top, took in the 360 degree views, took a few photos and signed the summit log.















 

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Tree Hugger
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The climb down from the summit block was not as bad as Gooch and I had worried, and we made it back down without falling onto the rocks below.

As we descended the mountain, the clouds had cleared and the sun melted some of the snow, revealing some of the great colors of the volcanic rocks.



















Once we reached treeline, we hiked quickly to the trailhead, enjoyed a celebratory beer, and headed down to the Umpqua Hot Springs to enjoy a nice soak. We stopped off at Clearwater Falls on the way for a quick visit. this is a beautiful little falls, and was flowing very heavily. We weren't sure if it was the day's snowmelt feeding it, or if it is spring fed, but it was nice.







I had passed by the hot springs before while riding the North Umpqua Trail, but never actually stopped to see them. I was blown away at the beauty of the springs, consisting of 7 separate tubs, carved into the bedrock. The mineral deposits left the rock surface smooth as marble, and I actually thought it was "fake rock" like you see at pools in Hawaiian resorts. Rockless assured me this was the real thing, and that Native peoples created these tubs hundreds or thousands of years ago.



(edited to keep from scaring the womenfolk)


The soak left us all feeling great, but sapped the last bits of energy from us. Unfortunately, I still had to drive 2 hours back to Eugene. Fortunately, I was able to keep Mudflaps awake, talking about MTB history, music, and many other topics; anything to keep from dozing off at the wheel. We arrived back in Eugene at 10:30pm, making a long day, but one that I wouldn't have missed for the world.

It was the best ride of the summer!;)
 

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I think the DOD has reached their allotment of naked photos for the year.

Sas, we've seen the skin suit, don't you think you were a little generous with the blue dot on yourself? Or were the studies correct? ;)

Looks like a great day although I didn't expect you'd hit snow so low.

Yeah, I'm jealous.

Caz
 

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I would estimate that we hit snow at about 6000 ft. The parking area was at 5400 ft according to my map. It was a great day in the woods, just the way I started out as a kid (thanks Dad).

Edit: Additional info, the summit stack is 80 ft according to several climbing websites I looked at today. The summit elevation is 9182 ft. Thhis was my fourth time on the mountain, each time has been unique. The last 80 ft is definitely less intimidating in the summer.
 

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So, how far back did the summit log go? I signed it back when Jimmy Carter was president. :eek: (1976 IIRC). ;)

I still remember that hike. It was early September. And that @am$# scree slope was was so loose that you'd slide down two steps for every three you took up.

You may have noticed all the glass-like specks on the rocks on the summit. Did you know that those are the result of lightning strikes? That is one peak not to be on when the weather turns nasty.:nono:
 

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Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
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cazloco said:
... don't you think you were a little generous with the blue dot on yourself? ...

Yeah, I'm jealous.

Caz
Or should that be... blew dot?

I'm jealous, too. I needed to not go that day; not going was right for me. But at the same time I wish I could have been there. Bizarre place... amazing photos. Next time...

--Sparty
 

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great documentation Sas! Great effort all-
How much caution did you guys have to use with just that little smattering of snow on the rock? One would think the rock could be quite slick. NO?

SSconny~
 

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SSconny said:
great documentation Sas! Great effort all-
How much caution did you guys have to use with just that little smattering of snow on the rock? One would think the rock could be quite slick. NO?

SSconny~
Well yes, it was a little slick on the way back down. By the time we reached the top ledge, the sun had had its effects on that area and the summit stack was mostly clear so that Sas and Dagooch could make the final 80' climb safely without too much risk (the first 20 ft of that was the hardest), but the walk back down had some slick spots which made for some interesting (mis)-steps. A lot of the upper slopes had melted out the worn tracks, but in the more shaded mid-sections there was a good amount of very soft, slick snow at significant slope angles. That was occasionally treacherous, requiring quick reactions.
Overall on that mountain, it requires a good awareness of foot placement to keep from setting the rocks underfoot loose. Some are surprisingly large, yet still easily loosened. Don't want to start a rock avalanche onto your buddies downslope :eekster:
 

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Nice Pics Sas

Looks like a killer trip. Keep me in the loop for the next one!

I think that summit block is lower 5th class - scaling that thing in the snow, with boots and no protection probably made that summit taste pretty nice, eh?
 

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Your wish - .....

rockhoundmtb said:
Hey fellow hikers - I know there were at least two more camera's out there. Any pics coming from Flaps or Gooch?
Rockingless
A couple shots from the way up:
1. East ridge in clouds
2. East ridge in clouds
3. 2 of us and rock formations
4. Tree framed peak - earlier in day
 

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A few more off the flap

Here are some of our crew at various points along the way:
1. Rockless, Dan, Sasquatch
2. Rockless at the saddle
3. Rockless & Sasquatch
4. Sasquatch
5. Dan
 

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Cog Wild said:
Damn, that looks awesome - figures you would all go when we all now have to wait until next season!
The big question - how do you get writing in between photos and why do some photos show on the page and others you have to click and open in another program? Someone please help me with this!
Funny thing you should ask that. I dunno the answer, but some of us DODers are going to
converge on Sas' domicile next week to learn the tricks of the way he posts, with writing in between photos.

I know the way I post is to "Go advanced" and scroll down to where the Additional Options are and hit the "Upload Images" button, then a separate Upload window opens, and I browse to where the photos are on my hard drive and click on the ones I want to upload which I've previously resized to fit within the max size MTBR allows (1024X1024 pixels).

As to the need for a different program to open some????

Flaps
 
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