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
Climb—South Sister—Monday, August 28, 2017
Leader: Kimberly Van Winkle
*trip dependent on wildfire danger as some areas of the Three Sisters Wilderness were just closed due to fires or fire danger*
South Sister is the second tallest peak in Oregon and a long challenging hike with plenty of scree and hopefully an incredible view from the summit. South Sister is also very heavily traveled in September. Therefore, I'm leading this climb to leave Eugene on SUNDAY (8/27) afternoon, hike in to Moraine Lake (about 2.5 miles) to camp. Then, early on MONDAY we'll make an attempt to summit. After packing up camp, we'll return to Eugene late Monday. Plans may change depending on weather forecast and climbing group.
Climb—Mt Thielsen—Sunday, September 10, 2017
Leader: Marci Hansen
Thielsen is a perfect mountain for the first time mountaineers. It starts with a hike through the forest, followed by a fun ridge traverse that has some exposure and finishes with one pitch of rock climbing on a fixed line to the summit. It is a shorter hike in than most Oregon mountains and is a shorter overall day than any of the other technical peaks.
We can either drive over the night before and spend the night at a nearby campground, or it's doable to drive over in the morning and back that night with a VERY early start (like 3:30am).
You'll want to be in good enough shape to gain the 3800 ft in elevation (4 Mt Pisgahs) and hike and climb for a 10 hour day. You'll also want to be comfortable with exposure. Super fun day and great feeling of accomplishment to bag your first technical peak.
Climb—Broken Top—Saturday–Sunday, September 16–17, 2017
Leader: Brian Hamilton
We’ll start hiking at 2:00 PM on Saturday at the Green Lakes / Fall Creek Trailhead and hike about 5 miles to a spring above Green Lakes tol set up camp. At 6:00 AM Sunday, we’ll hike up to the north ridge and then follow it 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 a prusik, followed by an unroped 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.
Climb—Mt Washington—Sunday, September 17, 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
email@example.com 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