Union Peak

July 11, 1998

Union Peak rises to 7,709 ft. in the southwest corner of Crater Lake National Park. It is the oldest mountain within the park. Glaciers have stripped the peak to its very core, leaving behind a huge mass of fine-grained, light-colored rock. Our hike began at Pacific Crest Trail crossing of Hwy. 62, near the south entrance to Crater Lake. Hiking south on the P.C.T., we were surprised to find more snow than trail. Tree blazes and blue diamonds made the route easy to follow. Three miles of nearly level hiking took us to a junction with a sign pointing to Union Peak, now looming on the skyline only two miles away. Standing under the east face, we were awestruck by the huge rock slabs and hanging snow fields rising a thousand feet above us. Looking up, it was difficult to imagine an easy route to the summit. An easy snow and talus scramble led to the south-west corner, where we found the old lookout’s trail. The trail links ledges and gullies with switch backs, climbing steeply up the south and east faces. A few snow patches were by-passed by scrambling up rock slabs. From the summit, the view stretches from Mt. Shasta to Mt. Thielsen. Our trip was highlighted by several animal sightings: a gray fox crossed the highway just north of Oakridge, giving us a good show. High on Union Peak, we saw a blacktail buck with a nice rack of velvet antlers, and a pine marten that retreated and watched us from a distant boulder. Thank-you to Gerry Roe for driving the whole way. Brian Hoyland, leader.


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