Mountaineering with the Obsidians
The Obsidians sponsor climbs of most major peaks in the Oregon Cascades
and some in Washington and California during each climbing season from April through November.
We are not a guide service but have skilled volunteer leaders from the community that share a
passion for bringing people to the mountains. The climbs we offer vary in difficulty from
‘walk-ups’ to technical rock, and snow climbs. The Obsidians provide ropes,
technical protection, and first aid supplies. We do not supply personal climbing gear.
Participants are required to have basic mountaineering and outdoor skills,
appropriate personal gear and be in good physical condition. Even the easier climbs are still
strenuous, often with ascents of several thousand feet on summit day. Participants must be
prepared to carry group gear such as ropes or pickets in addition to their own personal
climbing and camping gear. The time commitment required for a climb ranges from one to several
days depending on the location and difficulty.
When a climb is listed on the Obsidian calendar, its level of difficulty will
be indicated. For non-technical climbs such as the south side of South Sister or Diamond Peak,
extensive mountaineering skills are not necessary but still require a level of fitness and basic
snow travel skills in order to participate. Technical climbs require ropes and technical climbing
skills such as proficiency in glacier travel and travelling on fixed lines. Examples of technical
climbs include Mount Hood and Mount Thielsen. In order to go on a technical climb participants
must have one of following:
- Completed a Basic Mountaineering course, (either offered by the Obsidians, or an equivalent
course offered by another organization)
- Have sufficient previous experience that the climb leader can judge your skill level for the
- Been recommended as skilled and fit for the intended climb by someone known and trusted by
the climb leader.
The party size on climbs is limited. Wilderness area restrictions limit the party
size to no more than twelve, and many leaders choose to limit the numbers to less than twelve,
depending on the route difficulty and other factors.
How to Sign up for a Climb
To sign up for a climb, check the schedule and read the general description of
the technical difficulty as well as the material above to ensure you meet the requirements to
go on the climb. Then go to obsidians.org/onlinesignup/
and register. Climbs are generally posted three weeks before their scheduled dates.
Obsidian members can pre-register for a climb by contacting the listed climb
leader and ask to go on the climb. The same restrictions on signing up for a technical climb
applies to members. Contact information for leaders is found in the member directory. Members
pre-registering for climbs cannot sign up for simultaneous climbs as place holders and are
limited to pre-registering for 3 climbs a year. There is no limit on registering for climbs once
they go online for members and non-members alike.
Graduation climbs are for recent graduates of climb school so they can practice
their newly acquired skills. Recent climb school graduates who are members can pre-register.
Once the climb goes online then recent non-member graduates are given priority followed by
regular member and the public.
The climb leader has the final discretion on who to allow on the climb and may
limit participation of climbers or adjust the climb schedule based on experience of the individual,
the group, and climb conditions.
The Chair of the Climbs Committee is Maryanne Reiter. She can be contacted by emailing
The 2017 Climbs season is over.
Check back in April to see the great schedule that the Climbs Committee
has put together for the 2018 season.
Climb School 2018
Each spring the Obsidians and Eugene Mountain
Rescue offer a course in Basic Mountaineering to help people with the
skills needed to participate safely on climbs in alpine
environments. The emphasis for this course is to provide
you with the basic skills needed to climb safely with a group in a
range of environments from sport climbing to alpine mountaineering,
where travel may involve traveling on glaciers or negotiation of
steep slopes of rock and snow. This course is not meant to train
people to lead groups on rock or glaciers but rather to be a safe
team member. We will not cover in detail the use of map and compass,
weather and avalanche assessment, or crevasse rescue.
The course consists of three classroom sessions
and two field sessions covering introduction to rock climbing and
snow skills. The class is limited to 30 participants. You must be 16
or older to participate; but will need a parent or guardian signature
if under 18. Those between 13 and 16 may participate if accompanied
by a parent or responsible adult who is also enrolled in the course.
The cost of the class is $110.00 for non-members and $80.00 for
Obsidian members and Eugene Mountain Rescue volunteers.
The Obsidians will provide all ropes, anchors and group gear needed
for the field sessions. We also have the following personal gear
available if needed: climbing harnesses, rock helmets, prusik loops,
belay devices, and locking carabiners.
The course outline is below:
Monday, April 2 7-9 PM (Obsidian Lodge):
Introduction to climbing. Topics include basic knots used in
climbing, type of climbing and rating systems, what to bring for
different types of climbs.
Thursday, April 5 6:00-9:00 PM (Obsidian
Lodge): Basic snow travel skills preview. Topics include safety
considerations for snow travel, proper use of an ice ax and other
snow travel equipment, roping up and negotiating crevasses.
Saturday, April 7 9:00 AM-4:30 PM (TBD, though
likely Hayrick Butte, Santiam Pass): Snow field session. Skill
development includes: techniques for travelling on snow, self-arrest,
building snow anchors, roped travel on snow.
Weds, April 11 6:30-9:00 PM (Bob Keefer Center
for Sports and Recreation, Springfield): Indoor rock climbing skills.
Topics include a review of knots, safety checks, climbing commands,
how to belay, climbing technique basics.
Sat or Sun, April 14 or 15 8:00 AM-3PM (you
will choose 1 day-Skinner Butte Columns): Outdoor climbing skills.
Topics include knot review, belaying a climber on top rope,
travelling on a fixed line and rappelling.
Registration opens Feb 16, 2018. Information
on how to enroll will be posted at that time.If
you do not have an account with the Obsidians, you
must first register as a guest to be able to sign up for the Basic
Mountaineering class on Feb 16. To sign in as a guest, click
If you have questions, please contact: email@example.com
or Maryanne Reiter, Climbs Chair, at
The Obsidians have three climbing awards offered to members:
The Three Peaks Award is presented to members who have successfully
reached the summit of all three Sisters on scheduled Obsidian climbs.
The Ten Peaks Award is presented to members who have reached the
summits on Obsidian climbs of the ten major Oregon peaks: Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson,
the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. McLoughlin, Mt. Thielsen, and
The Ten Peaks Leader Award is presented to Obsidian members who have
led climbs of all Ten Major Peaks listed above.
Archived climb schedules