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
Diamond Pk- Graduation Cl
Mt Washington- Graduation
Three Fingered Jack
Mt Jefferson- Milk Cr
Mount Adams- Mazama Glaci
Climb—Diamond Peak- Graduation Climb—Saturday, May 27, 2017
Leader: Marge Huseman
This is a graduation climb. First preference will be given to graduates of the 2017 Obsidian climb school. We will be ascending a snow covered Diamond Peak via the Pioneer Gulch/Southwest Ridge. Diamond is considered a non-technical peak, but knowledge of safely navigating snow travel is essential. We will ascend nearly 4,000 feet in 4 miles - be sure you are doing conditioning hikes with a pack ahead of this climb to prepare for the physical effort. Expect to return to Eugene in the late evening on Saturday. A nice description of the climb can be found here: http://www.summitpost.org/pioneer-gulch-southwest-ridge/168184
Climb—Mt Hood - West Crater—Friday–Sunday, June 2–4, 2017
Leader: Maryanne Reiter
The West Crater route on Mt Hood ascends the ridge to the west of Crater Rock on Mt Hood’s south side. It is steep snow and can sometimes be icy. To go on this trip you will need to either have successfully completed Obsidian’s Climb School or another recognized climbing groups climb school or have past experience in crampon, self-arrest and roped travel skills. We will either climb Friday night/Sat or Sat night/Sun AM, depending on the weather forecast. We’ll carpool from Eugene and drive to Mt Hood for a few hours rest. The climb will follow the standard South Side/Hogsback route, beginning at around 2 AM.
Note: if the West Crater route is not in good condition we will divert to the standard route.
Climb—Mt Washington- Graduation climb—Saturday, June 17, 2017
Leader: Kerry Edinger
We will set up carpools the week of the climb. Recommended arrival Friday night to camp at the trailhead, with expected departure around 4:30am on Saturday morning.
Climb school graduates have priority.
Leader will touch bases with participants the week of the climb and modify the gear list according to conditions. If any avalanche conditions are discovered or expected, we will postpone the climb.
Climb—Three Fingered Jack—Sunday, June 18, 2017
Leader: Dalen Willhite
Climb School 2017
Note: Climb School 2017 is over.
Registration for 2018 will open on February 16, 2018.
Each spring we offer a course in Basic Mountaineering to enable people to get the
skills needed to participate safely on climbs in alpine environments.
The course consists of three classroom sessions, rock climbing and snow skills
field sessions. The class is limited to 24 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. A more
detailed course description for 2017 is here:
Basic Mountaineering Class Outline 2017.pdf
To enroll in the course:
Step 1: sign up for the Basic Mountaineering Course through the
online signup system (www.obsidians.org/onlinesignup/index.htm).
If you do not have an account with the Obsidians, you must first register with us.
To sign in as a guest, click here:
Step 2: pay the course fee which is $70 for Obsidian or Eugene Mountain Rescue
members and $100.00 for non-members. To pay, send a check made out to the Obsidians, Inc. and mail
to Maryanne Reiter PO Box 275 Springfield, OR 97477. Payment must be received within 10 business days
of signing up for the class to secure your spot.
Step 3: Go to
student information form
and complete this background information form so we can get a sense of your skill level and who to
contact in case of an emergency.
Step 4: Attend the first class and sign the liability waiver form.
Please contact Maryanne Reiter, Chair of the Obsidians Climbs Committee at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
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