Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

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Brian95
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Joined: June 25th, 2018, 10:13 am

Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by Brian95 » July 24th, 2019, 6:58 pm

I'm surprised this isn't a listed hike in the field guide. Starting near the Cooper Spur Ski Area, and going up the Tilly Jane Ski Trail #643. The hike then turns left on to the Tilly Jane Trail #600A, and continues straight up to Cooper Spur. On the way down I swung by and then took the Polallie Ridge Trail #643A, but considering the state the trail is in this loop would have to be marked as a lost hike. I can try to write up a summary if editors think it's worth it?

Webfoot
Posts: 1166
Joined: November 25th, 2015, 11:06 am
Location: Troutdale

Re: Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by Webfoot » July 24th, 2019, 9:27 pm

Brian95 wrote:
July 24th, 2019, 6:58 pm
I can try to write up a summary if editors think it's worth it?
Yes, thank you. I'll work with you to put it in the Field Guide.

Brian95
Posts: 31
Joined: June 25th, 2018, 10:13 am

Re: Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by Brian95 » July 25th, 2019, 7:39 am

Alright, here's my crack at an entry. I've tried to write this to be consistent style-wise with other field guide entries. I can try to work on a trail log as well.


• Start Point: Tilly Jane Sno Park Trailhead
• Ending Point: Cooper Spur
• Trail Log:
• Hike Type: Out and back
• Distance: 11.6 miles round-trip
• Elevation Gain: 4600 feet
• Difficulty: Difficult
• Seasons: July - October
• Backpackable: Yes
• Crowded: On summer weekends

Most hikers reach Cooper Spur, the highest point on the mountain reachable by trail, by starting from the Cloud Cap Inn for a moderate 6.5-mile hike. This hike takes a longer and more difficult approach, starting at the Cooper Spur Ski Area and gaining over 4500 feet in less than six miles. No two ways about it, this hike is a calf-burner, with almost as much elevation gain as Mount Defiance in a similar distance! Make sure to bring sunscreen, as there is no shade for the majority the hike.

To start, follow the Tilly Jane Ski Trail #643 from the trailhead through the mid-altitude forest. Almost immediately the trail starts to gain elevation. The trail soon crosses a small boggy area before coming to a junction with the Polallie Ridge Trail #643A. This trail offers a loop opportunity in the area but has become overgrown and unmaintained, and is only for experienced adventurers. For now, keep straight at the fork, and soon enter the Gnarl Ridge Burn zone. The trail continues roughly along a ridge through a substantial crown fire, with a few hardy trees surviving among numerous bleached snags. Occasional views of the imposing northeast face of Mount Hood present themselves over the ridges. You can try to spot Cooper Spur itself if you like. At 2.7 miles from the trailhead, the trail abruptly leaves the burn zone and enters the Cloud Cap/Tilly Jane Historic District. Several buildings are present; the A-frame is a popular cabin (reservations required) during the skiing season. Passing by several historic structures and an informational signboard, come to the junction with the Tilly Jane Trail #600A.

Make a left, and almost immediately keep right at the next fork. This is the western end of the Polallie Ridge Trail mentioned earlier; on the way back down the loop adds approximately 0.5 miles to the trip on an extremely-overgrown tread. The Tilly Jane Trail soon reaches the northern rim of the massive Polallie Creek Canyon and follows it for the next half-mile. There are numerous viewpoints to take in the view and hear the roaring creek below, and If you’re lucky you may see active rockfall on the south canyon wall. The canyon walls here serve as as stark reminder that the the mountain is still an active volcano; each distinct rock layer represents one eruption. The trail then leaves the rim and continues up through ever-shortening trees, soon reaching the Timberline Trail #600. Right leads to the Cloud Cap Inn, while left eventually reaches Gnarl Ridge. To continue to Cooper Spur, keep straight on the Cooper Spur Trail #600B.

The trail soon passes by the historic Cooper Spur Shelter, one of the only surviving shelters of the many that used to exist along the Timberline Trail. After admiring the architecture, continue on the trail up to Cooper Spur, switchbacking up the face of the mountain. Soon the trees disappear entirely and the vegetation is reduced to small grasses and flowers. Even these will soon cease to exist as the trail continues to climb the mountain, with nothing but rocks and snow remaining. In early summer butterflies often swarm the trail, and you will see ravens perching on the many rocky outcroppings. Views into the Eliot Glacier canyon are unrivaled, and soon, as the ridge narrows, views of the Newton-Clark Glacier to the south are also possible. If you’re lucky you may hear the glaciers creaking, a reminder of the active geomorphological processes that continue to shape the region.

Make sure to turn around occasionally to see just how far above the tree line you’ve climbed, and for stunning views to the north, east, and south. To the north it is easy to make out the peaks of St. Helens, Rainier, and Adams. To the south, Jefferson and the Three Sisters can be seen. To the east, looking beyond the foothills of the cascades, the vast Oregon High Desert on the Columbia Plateau extends. On an exceptionally-clear day it is even possible to spot the Ochoco Mountains and Blue Mountains beyond the desert. Eventually the ridge narrows into a single moraine separating the Eliot and Newton-Clark glaciers. Several small boulder rings are present here, if shelter from the wind is necessary. At 8500 feet, this is a good spot to turn around, and marks the end of this hike.

For the adventurers in the crowd, it is possible to continue west along the moraine for around 0.5 more miles. The last quarter mile is sketchy, with crumbly rock and steep slopes characterizing the trail. Eventually you will reach a small prominence, and one final stone ring with a hiker registry inside. Sign the book if you wish. You are at almost 9000 feet at this point. Here, less than a mile away from the summit as the crow flies, is where it becomes too dangerous to continue without technical equipment. Turn around here and leave the rest of the mountain to the climbers.

Webfoot
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Joined: November 25th, 2015, 11:06 am
Location: Troutdale

Re: Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by Webfoot » July 25th, 2019, 1:02 pm

Nice writing. I have created a page https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guid ... _Ski_Trail —please check that it is as intended. I will also need to create a new Trailhead page; please provide content for that if you can, and ideally photos for both the trailhead and the lower part of the hike; I imported Tom Kloster's photos for the upper Cooper Spur trail.

Brian95
Posts: 31
Joined: June 25th, 2018, 10:13 am

Re: Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by Brian95 » July 25th, 2019, 2:18 pm

Thank you! Everything looks good as far as I can tell. Here is the trailhead page:


Latitude: 45.4145
Longitude: -121.6034
Maps:
Elevation: 3900 ft
Driving time from Portland: 1 hour, 45 minutes

HIKES STARTING HERE
• Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

DESCRIPTION

This trailhead is no more than a large pullout on Cloud Cap Road. There are no amenities present, and there is room for only around a dozen cars. The Tilly Jane Ski Trail #643 heads up the mountain across the road from the pullout.

A sno-park permit is required to park here between November and April, while parking during the summer months is free.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

There are two ways to reach this trailhead from Portland; which is faster depends on daily traffic and what part of the metro area you live in.

From Portland, follow Interstate 84 to Hood River, take exit 64, and make a right at the signal on Highway 35. Follow the highway for 22 miles, and turn right on to Cooper Spur Road. After 2.4 miles, turn left on to Cloud Cap Road. The road turns to gravel after 1.4 miles, and immediately the trailhead will be on the right.

Alternatively, from Highway 26, take the Highway 35 exit past Government Camp. After 16 miles turn left on to Cooper Spur Road and follow the directions as above.


I unfortunately did not take a photo of the trailhead itself, but here is one of the Gnarl Ridge Burn and one of Polallie Canyon.
Attachments
IMG_2905.JPG
IMG_2897.JPG

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retired jerry
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by retired jerry » July 25th, 2019, 2:25 pm

Nice!

Field guide has lots of holes in it

Good you added this

Brian95
Posts: 31
Joined: June 25th, 2018, 10:13 am

Re: Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by Brian95 » July 25th, 2019, 2:30 pm

retired jerry wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 2:25 pm
Nice!

Field guide has lots of holes in it

Good you added this
My pleasure! Whenever I'm back in Portland during breaks from grad school I can try to help out with new hikes

Webfoot
Posts: 1166
Joined: November 25th, 2015, 11:06 am
Location: Troutdale

Re: Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by Webfoot » July 25th, 2019, 6:36 pm

Thanks again. I updated the pages. Let me know if anything needs correction.

p.s. Please advise if you think any trail junctions need a page of their own.

Brian95
Posts: 31
Joined: June 25th, 2018, 10:13 am

Re: Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by Brian95 » July 26th, 2019, 5:57 am

Thank you! Looks good to me (apart from what appears to be extra whitespace at the top of the trailhead page), and maybe for consistency with the other pages the hike page should be moved to "Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail Hike"? But those are minor quibbles. :)

I know when I was new to the field guide and hiking I would often find my hikes from the regional pages. Should this one be added to https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guid ... Hood_Hikes, under either the "West of Highway 35" or "Cloud Cap Area" subregions?

I think at least the upper 600A/643/643A junction could use a page, as it is somewhat confusing.


HIKES INCLUDING THIS DESTINATION
Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail Hike (TH | <— —> | LOG)
Latitude: 45.3990
Longitude: -121.6470
Maps: Oregon Hikers Maps Google Maps
Elevation: 5700 feet

DESCRIPTION
This slightly confusing junction of trails is actually two junctions in close proximity. The Tilly Jane Trail #600A heads west 0.6 miles to the Cloud Cap Inn through the Tilly Jane Campground, or south 1.1 miles to the Timberline and Cooper Spur Trail junction. The Tilly Jane Ski Trail heads east 2.7 miles past the Tilly Jane A-frame to the Tilly Jane Sno-Park Trailhead. Less than 100 feet south on the Tilly Jane Trail, the Polallie Ridge Trail #643A splits off to take a alternate longer and incredibly overgrown route to the Tilly Jane Sno-Park Trailhead.

Webfoot
Posts: 1166
Joined: November 25th, 2015, 11:06 am
Location: Troutdale

Re: Cooper Spur via Tilly Jane Ski Trail

Post by Webfoot » July 26th, 2019, 1:58 pm

I attempted to implement the recommended changes. Please check again.

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