Mt. McLoughlin

August 12, 2006

The trip to Mt McLoughlin begins in the parking lot at the “Y”. Myself and two eager participants depart Friday afternoon on a 200 mile roadtrip. We arrive at the trailhead at 8:45 Friday evening and are the only vehicle present. We quickly set up camp to get some rest for our A.M. start.

It is a star filled and moonlit night. An hour later another car arrives. We are now one of two parties at the trailhead. I upon awakening would soon find out that the other group actually headed up the mountain for a 10:30 start, and arrived back at the trailhead as I was waking up at 5:30 in the morning.

We all are awake now refreshed from are night under the stars. It is a mildly brisk morning. We proceeded to pack up our camps and put our packs together. Two other parties arrive and get the jump on us. At 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning we begin our climb.

As we briskly hike along we quickly warm up and before too long I call for the first break to take a layer off. We arrive at the junction of P.C.T take note of this and proceed to the next junction were we depart the P.C.T. We continue to hike briskly along and soon overtake the two parties that were out ahead of us. We take a second break and hydrate up.

We are now officially heading up the south ridge of the mountain as the steepness of the trail would stay sustained. We soon arrive above treeline. We take note of this location for reference on our descent. After stripping down to shorts and t-shirts and drinking up fluids, we are now getting our first look at the upper mountain. It is a spectacular mountain with excellent views of the countryside. We pull our cameras out and start snapping pictures and swapping cameras for personal image shots.

We proceed onward and upward, we decided to negotiate the ridge by climbing the boulder route on the south side of the ridge (climbers left). It would be a boulder hopping scramble with an intermittent scree track or two as we work our way up the ridge to the summit taking pictures all the way.

We arrive at the summit a blue bird day with a mild wind and plenty of room to spread out and take in the scenery. Mt Shasta loomed above a distant marine layer in the south. Mt. Mazama, Mt. Theilsen and Mt. Baily spread before us on the north horizon. The Klamath basin and Pelican Butte are to our north east and east and the Mountain Lakes Wilderness lay to our southeast. There are several lakes visible These are Fourmile Lake, Klamath Lake, Lake of the Woods, Fish Lake and Willow Lake. We are soon joined by many parties of climbers as we lounged around for about an hour. It is Time we descend.

The descent is down the north side of the ridge with plenty of scree to soften our downward progress. We continue to greet the throng of climbers going upwards. The majority of these climbers dressed as if they were walking in the park. I am always just amazed by the lack of concern by many folks as it pertains to a wilderness setting. It goes along the lines of we build a trail and they will come.

The walk out is pleasant but uneventful. We arrive back at the trailhead get in to some comfortable footwear and reorganize the back of my van. We say good bye to fellow climbers that we played tag with on the way down. We load up and head down the road.

We decide for a change of highway pace to take the scenic route back to Eugene. As we head toward Medford we take the Eagle Point cutoff. We arrive in Eagle Point, fuel up the van and head north to Shady Cove where we enjoy Mexican food on the deck next to the Rogue River. We then head north again to the burg of Trail marveling all along at the throng of tahitis and rafts floating the river. We take a left on the Tiller highway and head back towards I-5 and Canyonville along the banks of the South Umpqua River. I was fortunate to have two excellent climbing companions that are Obsidian member Marianne Camp and non Obsidian Gary Wong. Larry Huff, leader.


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