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
Three Fingered Jack
Tatoosh Range Pks
Smith Rk- Sport/Trad Clim
Climb—Mt Washington—Sunday, August 19, 2018
Leader: Marci Hansen
Mount Washington is the most "rock" action you get on any Oregon mountain. It is three pitches of fun rock climbing, It's about 10 miles round trip. The climb includes a hike, a scramble on a ridge, a three pitch rock climb. You rappel the rock route then descend down a scree field, connect to the trail and hike back out.
Climb—Broken Top—Saturday–Sunday, August 25–26, 2018
Leader: Brian Hamilton
This trip starts at 1:00 PM on Saturday at the Green Lakes / Fall Creek Trailhead. We will hike about 5 miles to a spring above Green Lakes where we will set up camp. At 6:00 AM Sunday, we’ll hike the climbers trail to the north ridge and then follow the ridge south to the summit. At one spot just below the summit, there is a short section of vertical climbing where you will follow a fixed rope with prusiks, followed by an unroped, exposed catwalk and final 20 feet of scrambling. Descent will include a short 12-foot rappel to get us back on the north ridge. Once back at the spring, we’ll break down camp and hike out on the Green Lakes trail. Carpooling information will be distributed within a week before the climb.
Climb—South Sister—Sunday–Tuesday, August 26–28, 2018
Leader: Laura Osinga
South Sister is the third tallest mountain in Oregon. Although a non-technical climb, a successful summit of this peak requires endurance, mental strength, and an incredible tolerance for loose scree. Efforts are rewarded with a stunning summit view that may extend as far north as Mt Adams on a clear day. We’ll backpack in to Moraine Lake on Sunday afternoon, gaining approx. 1200 ft of elevation in under 2 miles and arrive at the lake after some of the week-end crowd has departed. Monday’s climb will begin early to avoid the heat of the afternoon sun. We’ll gain an additional 4000 ft of elevation in 3.5 miles. Participants need to be strong enough to carry the 10 essentials, a lot of water, ample snacks, and multiple layers and types of clothing as summit temperatures and conditions could be cold and windy. After the climb, we’ll return to Moraine Lake for a second night in one of Oregon’s most beautiful locations.
Climb—The Husband—Saturday, September 8, 2018
Leader: Dalen Willhite
This peak is being partnered with the Wife and will be a two day trip, so you'll need to sign up for both of them. Expect some bushwhacking and 3rd and 4th class scrambles (because what relationship is without it's challenges). The leader has not attempted this climb before, but looking forward to husband-hood.
Entering at Devil's Lake TH, hiking by about 0800. Saturday we'll go up to Husband or Eileen Lake and climb the Husband (approx 15 mile day) and camp at one of the lakes. Sunday we'll head down to the Wife and out.
Climb—The Wife—Sunday, September 9, 2018
Leader: Kerry Edinger
PLEASE NOTE: This climb is DAY 2 of a backpacking weekend with The Husband. Please sign up for both.
Climb The Wife, happy life! Day 2 will feature approximately ten miles with a class 2 scramble via the South Ridge to the summit of one of the Cascade's crumbliest volcanoes. We will depart from camp and return to cars. Leader has not climbed it before. Be prepared for some bushwhacking.
Climb—Three Fingered Jack—Sunday, September 9, 2018
Leader: Marge Huseman
We will meet bright and early at the Albertson's parking lot in Springfield, near the intersections of Main Street and 126. Look for the group in the NE corner of the lot. We'll drive up to Santiam Pass, climb 3FJ, and return in the same day. Expect a late return back to Eugene/Springfield.
Three Fingered Jack is a great day climb. Most of our distance will be covered on the PCT, but don't underestimate the climb/scramble up to the ridge. This climb offers some exciting exposure and great views of the Oregon cascades on a clear day. We will protect both the traverse and the final climb with rope systems.
Climb—Tatoosh Range Peaks - Castle, Pinnacle, Plummer—Saturday–Sunday, September 15–16, 2018
Leader: Marci Hansen
This is the first time we are going to try mountains in the Tatoosh range as an Obsidian trip--fun! We are going to drive up i-5 on Friday night. We'll car camp Friday night. Saturday we'll hike in with our backpacking gear, drop our camping gear at a camping spot and take climbing gear and summit Lane peak. We'll see how the day goes, then we can hike to the summit of Plummer Peak, or we can just hang at our amazing camp spot and have dinner. Sunday we'll pack up camping gear and hike near Pinnacle Peak. We'll drop camping gear and take camping gear up Pinnacle. We'll drive home Sunday.
Lane is two rope lengths of easy, scrambly climbing, then we'll rappel off.
Pinnacle is a little scramble up, then one long rope length of fun rock climbing.
Each spring the Obsidians and Eugene Mountain
Rescue offer a course in Basic Mountaineering.
The emphasis of the course is to provide students with the basic skills needed
to climb safely with a group in a range of environments from sport rock
climbing to alpine mountaineering.
The course will prepare students to travel on glaciers, negotiate steep
slopes of rock and snow, and participate in Obsidian climbs.
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.
Climb School 2019
registration will open Feb 16, 2019.
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