October 5, 2002
The thing I find the most interesting about climbing Thielsen is the contrast between how difficult the mountain looks from a distance and how easy it is to reach the summit. From afar, it looks insurmountable—that impossibly small summit, the angle of the rock, the relief above Diamond Lake—Wow! However, the trek up is on a reasonably good trail, with some easy scrambling. The last stretch up the final pinnacle from “Chicken Ledge” is on good solid rock and is easily protected . . . so it is a fun climb for neophyte rock climbers.
The group that made the ascent on October 4th had the opportunity to have the Thielsen experience in exceptionally good weather. Five of our group (Marc San Soucie, Paul Marks, John Mowat, Greg Zupansic, and leader Sue Sullivan) left Eugene around 6 AM and headed for the Thielsen trailhead near the south end of Diamond Lake. There we met up with Kim Sawyer, Virgil Lamb and Jason Mueller, who had spent the previous night at Diamond Lake Lodge and were looking well rested and well fed. We had an uneventful hike in from the trailhead, and passed another group of Eugene climbers along the way.
We reached Chicken Ledge by about 12:30 PM. There we donned harnesses and helmets and I put up a fixed rope for the last pitch. Marc decided that Chicken Ledge was far enough for him that day (he had reached the summit on a previous trip, and was content to enjoy the view from the ledge). The rest of the group made it to the summit. In the mean time, the other Eugene group caught up and joined us on the summit, including a Malamute dog that came up in her master’s backpack! We descended without incident; Kim, Virgil, Jason and Greg made it back to Eugene in time to catch the second half of the Ducks game! The rest of the group stayed at Diamond Lake Campground and enjoyed a bicycle trip around Crater Lake the next day, under clear, warm, sunny skies. All in all, this was a weekend that showed just how pleasant an autumn weekend in the Cascades can be.
—photos by Sue Sullivan