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
Mount Adams- Mazama Glaci
Climb—Mount Adams- Mazama Glacier—Saturday–Sunday, July 22–23, 2017
Leader: Marge Huseman
This is the Mazama Glacier route on Mt. Adams. It is a basic glacier climb, but one not to be underestimated. This route involves 3,300ft of roped glacier travel on a 35-40 degree slope. Expect real crevasse danger, exposure, and altitude. Also expect a great, relatively local glacier climb with far fewer people than the standard route on Adams.
We will get an early start from Eugene on Saturday morning to allow time for permits and travel to the Yakima nation side of Mt. Adams. The approach road is a rough, 1 lane gravel road. We'll hike in on the first day to Sunrise camp at 8,300 ft. We'll plan on a quick 'night' of rest and get up early for an alpine start (around 2am). On Sunday we'll aim to reach the summit, return back to camp to pack up, hike back to our cars, and drive back to Eugene. Expect a late arrival back to Eugene on Sunday night.
For this climb, you should be confident in your self arrest and knowledgeable about basic rope team travel.
Climb—North Sister—Saturday–Sunday, July 29–30, 2017
Leader: Wayne Deeter
I was too slow in trying to get an overnight permit for the Obsidian area so we will be going in on the east side from the Pole Creek trailhead. Saturday we'll hike in to the slope below the SE spur of the S ridge. On Sunday we'll climb North Sister via the SE spur and south ridge.
You should have climbed another cascade peak such as Mt. Washington or Three Fingered Jack or equivalent before signing up for this trip.
Climb—Mt Thielsen—Saturday, July 29, 2017
Leader: Kerry Edinger
Known as the "lightning rod of the Cascades," Mt Thielsen is also the only viewpoint from which one can sometimes spot Crater Lake. Expect heat, sun exposure, possible mosquitos, but gorgeous views and great company! Bring extra water and snacks in case we are waiting for other climbers at the summit pinnacle.
We will approach via the standard West Ridge route. Roughly 3800 ft elevation gain. Five mile approach: four miles on trail, one additional mile to the summit. Approach is steep and scrambly, with some loose rock/scree and some larger boulder-type rocks. Climbers will likely ascend the summit pinnacle on a fixed line, and rappel from the top.
Carpools will meet at 4:15am, depart at 4:30am. Leader will contact climbers the week of the climb to check in about weather and gear, coordinate driving, and any other necessary details.
Climb—Broken Top—Saturday, August 5, 2017
Leader: Marci Hansen
Broken Top is the prettiest approach and maybe the most stunning view from the summit of all the Oregon peaks. The climb consists of a long approach hike, then picking our way along an exposed ridge, then a short rock climbing section, and finishes with a catwalk with a lot of exposure. This is a great first technical climb as long as you are in GREAT shape, and can push your way through exposure (even if you aren't super comfortable). Be prepared for a 12 hour day consisting of a brisk hiking pace, and a physical, long traverse along the exposed ridge. Super fun!!
Climb—Mt McLoughlin—Sunday–Sunday, August 13–July 30, 2017
Leader: Kimberly Van Winkle
Climb—Mt Washington—Saturday, August 19, 2017
Leader: Marci Hansen
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