Diamond Peak

June 30-July 1, 1973

The day was beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky. We left the trailhead at 6 a.m. as the sun came glaring over the mountain directly into our eyes. My dire predictions of hordes of Diamond Peak mosquitos did not materialize. A light frost on the ground was keeping them down. This was my 4th ascent by the Bear Mountain route in late June and the first time I have not encountered snow in the timber. At tree line we crossed a short stretch of snow at the base of the west ridge and then up and over bare rock to the first traverse. This traverse to the moaning wall (so called because from the top of this wall first-timers moan when they see how much further it is to the summit) was treacherous and uncertain due to the lack of snow. Loose rock on the wall, which in past years has been frozen hard caused me to swing too low where we encountered more loose rock. Struggling up through the scree and garbage I finally found a break in the wall and we scrambled over into the saddle. What a terrible rotten ridge this is without snow. With 23 trusting people following in my footsteps, I did feel the burden of leadership. After a rest stop in the saddle we started plodding up the last ridge. In normal years the route up this ridge is snow all the way. This year the snow route was very narrow with a cornice fracture line threatening on the left and bare rock on the right. Several times we took to the rocks when the snow became too steep. We reached the summit at 1 p.m. two hours behind schedule. The summit box and book were in good shape. The spray can graffiti of last years had been removed by certain volunteers with oven cleaner. (see Valley News, Feb. 28, 1973 page 4). After an hour spent reading the same old clichés in the book; along with too few new ones, taking pictures, nibbling goodies, identifying landmarks and snoozing we started down. The descent of the first ridge was a leaders nightmare, with too many over enthusiastic people wanting to glissade down the beautiful slopes in spite of warnings of fracture lines, excessive speed and suicidal runouts. Never-the-less we made it to tree line without mishap. 23 people in a long line behind you means 23 different kinds of problems. I was fortunate in having only one case of exhaustion, one case of foot trouble and several cases of directionitos. (lack of faith in the compass) We struck the Diamond Peak Trail before faith in the compass had completely crumbled and in another five minutes were back to the cars, foot sore, exhausted, thirsty, elated, thankful and wiser. A tough climb of one of the easiest in Oregon’s big 10. Moral: if you don’t see snow on the southern exposure of the West Ridge, use the Pioneer Gulch route and limit the size of your party. On this one were Marge Brittain, Arlene & Gwen & Jan & Jerry & Paul Dayton, Brian & David & Lee Hatch, Dorothy Hayes, Lori Jackson, Dorothy & Ronnie Leland, Jerry Mandigo, Jim Monteith, Parker Riddle, Velma Shirk Leon & Leon Jr. Taylor, Marty Tice, Merle Traudt and leader Bob Holmauist.

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