Rudolph Rim loop (includes Rudolph Spur)

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Chip Down
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Rudolph Rim loop (includes Rudolph Spur)

Post by Chip Down » November 22nd, 2020, 12:18 am

A mile southeast of Bridge of the Gods, Rudolph Creek spills from the breach of an irregular bowl. My plan was to depart PCT, hike XC to the breach, look for access to the right/west ridgecrest, follow it up and east, almost to Benson Plateau, and then descend the east ridge (known as Rudolph Spur) back down to Rudolph Creek.

The ascent ridge was steep and jumbled, and I had almost no visibility due to a blanket of low clouds. I rose above the clouds, but the ridgecrest continued to be jumbled. There were no major difficulties, except a short section that was essentially level, but extremely narrow, and with crazy exposure (vertical to west, uncomfortably steep to east). Even if the rocks weren't frosty, I would have balked. I backtracked a bit, dropped considerably off crest to left/east, and bypassed the crux.

At 3200' the route changes abruptly as the ridge flattens and turns east, joining Benson Bluffs. The sunny south exposure was welcome after hours of cool, shady, sometimes-cloudy climbing. I continued east to a flat high point that juts out northwest from Benson Plateau.

Descending Rudolph Spur made me uneasy. I've ascended the route once, but this time I was going down, on ridgecrest (ignoring the standard route, except where it is on ridgecrest), and there's been a fire since I was there last (Eagle Creek fire). I took the plunge, and found the ridge delightful. I don't understand the need for that Mazama trail that takes the standard RS route so far off ridgecrest. There was one step that's essentially unclimbable, but it's easy to bypass on the east (maybe west too; I didn't investigate).

Where the standard route drops off ridgecrest to the east, I continued down the ridge until it was too steep to continue, then dropped west (into the bowl) and traversed over to ridgecrest again. But eventually it was hopeless; Rudolph Spur ends with a sheer drop off all sides. Fortunately, from here I could see that Rudolph Creek could be followed out of the bowl (it doesn't get pinched into a steep canyon). So I backtracked up/south to a spot where it was safe to drop to the creek.

Out of the bowl, I was greatly relieved. For the first time since I left my high point near Benson Plateau, I knew I had no challenges between me and PCT, except the awful brush.

Incidentally, Rudolph Creek never made it more than a quarter mile past the breach before seeping into the ground.

Overall impressions: Although I'm pleased to have accomplished this loop, I can't say it was fun. The west (ascent) ridge was a scratch-and-claw affair, leaving me muddy and blackened with soot from burned trees. The ridgecrest was often too brushy to provide good views. Rudolph Spur was fun in spots, but often, especially below 2700', it was just drudgery. I'm surprised it didn't look more familiar. Funny, I think I accidentally missed the stretch I was most worried about. I wish I had remembered to look for the bottom of the Mazama section, as I'm curious what state it's in.

"Rudolph Rim" was my idea. Like it? Have you ever seen a name for my western ascent ridge? Has anybody posted a TR on it?
Attachments
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Nice to get above that.
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Around 3200'. Should be snow here.
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Last snow on my descent.
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Another nice spot on Rudolph Spur.
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Another nice spot on Rudolph Spur.
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Rudolph the red-nosed...umm...reinmoose? Whatever, close enough.

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Bosterson
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Re: Rudolph Rim loop (includes Rudolph Spur)

Post by Bosterson » November 22nd, 2020, 11:25 am

Chip Down wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 12:18 am
"Rudolph Rim" was my idea. Like it? Have you ever seen a name for my western ascent ridge? Has anybody posted a TR on it?
Interesting trip. Off trailing on fire damaged hillsides does not sound super fun, how was the overall level of thrash and ash, as it were?

To answer your question, that ridge is the Rufus Spur, done by Peder in 2011. I am also fairly sure that off trail west of the PCT is still prohibited, so I would not post about it here because the FS does trawl this forum and will then complain to TKO, and then TKO will redact the post or otherwise censure you. Keep it on the DL, bruh.
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

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Chip Down
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Re: Rudolph Rim loop (includes Rudolph Spur)

Post by Chip Down » November 22nd, 2020, 12:24 pm

Cool, thanks for the Rufus tip. I have some fun reading to do. Maybe we can reserve "Rudolph Rim" for hikers who complete the loop in one go. You know, all seven of them per decade. :lol:

Fire damage wasn't that bad. It was messy, but not a lot of trees down, and hillsides were intact, for the most part. In contrast, I came down Shellrock a couple days ago, and agree with Pablo that it's absolutely miserable. So yeah, there are places to avoid.

Three years later and still closed to offtrail shenanigans? Seems heavy handed. If they're waiting for geologists to declare every square yard of the gorge safe before they lift restrictions, that won't happen in my lifetime. I've generally been compliant though, with very little "Defiance" ( ;) ). What I've really had my eye on is Ruckel Ridge.

edit: okay, I now see there's a Peder variant and a Paul (Pablo) variant to gain Rufus crest :D
I took the Pablo route, and after reading Peder's account, I think that was smart.
Also, my skull-n-crossbones gap is pictured by Peder as a cliffy drop to the right, but a grass slope to left(east). Interesting "refinement" on Rufus.

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