South Cinder Peak

September 4, 2008

Beautiful clear skies with modest temperature made for nearly perfect hiking conditions. The hike extends from the Cabot Lake trailhead on the east side of the Jefferson Wilderness up to the Pacific Crest Trail and then on to the top of South Cinder Peak. The first two miles pass through the Cabot Lake burn of several years ago on a relatively flat trail. Vegetation is limited to fireweed, low shrubs of various kinds which are overgrowing the trail in some place, and lots of fire-blackened trees. The first of the new pine tree seedlings are just beginning to appear above the surface.

The second 2.8 mile section of the hike climbs rather steeply in a series of switchbacks from Cabot for a time and then levels out again for the hike on to Carl Lake. Forest is primarily hemlock with some true fir and spruce; the ponderosa pine having been left behind near Cabot Lake. The trail continues southeast past Shirley Lake, another pretty alpine lake slightly smaller than Cabot.

The trail then resumes climbing steeply along the side of a spectacular canyon up to the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail to the peak proceeds south on the PCT less than 1/4 mile before turning east and bushwhacking a very short distance across a glacial plain to the base of the cylindrical peak. A climb of the peak appears formidable from the base, with a pitch of 15% or more. But the climb took only 15–20 minutes on a well defined trail. The view from the top makes the effort worthwhile. Mt. Jefferson is very close to the north & provides a stunning view. One feels he should be able to reach out and touch it! A number of other peaks are also visible including Three Fingered Jack and Washington.

Although the hike requires the investment in a 12 hour day (including the two hour drive each way), it is well worth it.

Hikers were: Dan Christensen, Daphne James, Lynne Moody and Jim Pierce.


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