Diamond Peak/Pioneer Gulch

May 23, 2010

The morning started out brisk with a fresh coat of snow at the trailhead.The sky overhead was slate gray with a low ceiling. The trail bed was visible through the snow for the first seven tenths of a mile. We proceeded on a N.E. bearing for another .5 mile. We ascended the south west ridge in route to the false summit. along the way the snow conditions were approximately foot and half of unconsolidated corn snow over a base. There was brief clearing on the way up but the summit would never reveal itself. Somewhat intermittent views were of Summit Lake, Calapooya ridge, Cowhorn and Sawtooth Peaks. At treeline I began to place wands and we became somewhat cautious of slope loading in spots. We reveled at the way wind and snow turned kruhmoltz pines into icy sculptures. During the climb The wind was mild, which in turn created a serene winter wonderland. We did manage to stand on the false summit at 8,421. It was not safe this day to proceed to the summit, the cornices overhanging the east face were quite large and hidden in pea soup fog. It was a easy call for me but a tough spot for Sean. It was Sean’s third attempt for the summit and once again forced to turn back. We had a nice descent as we enjoyed the beauty of the ridge. We even stopped and went over some navigation skills. When we returned to the trail the thaw was under way it was like being in a rain forest literally being poured on by the trees. When we arrived back at the cars the snow was gone. I was fortunate to enjoy the company of some intrepid adventurers.

Climbers were members Sean Breslin, Bistra Hristova and Larry Huff (leader); and nonmembers Beth Machamer and Shellie Robertson.

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