Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

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adamschneider
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Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

Post by adamschneider » July 29th, 2013, 5:27 pm

A couple of friends and I summited Mt. Thielsen (9182') on Saturday. It's a LOT of reward for... well, I won't say for a LITTLE effort, because the last mile is a real butt-kicker. But it's totally worth it. We went up the "normal" Mt. Thielsen trail, summited, then went a couple miles north on the Pacific Crest Trail and went down the Thielsen Creek and Howlock Mountain trails to a different trailhead (where we'd left a car).

The normal route is about 10 miles round-trip with 3800' of elevation gain; the northern sort-of-loop option adds about 3.5 miles distance, but not much elevation. It was nice to see some different stuff on the way down, but 13.5 miles at that altitude was an awfully long hike.

Anyway, to the photos... we spent Friday and Saturday night at the Diamond Lake Campground, which features nice morning views of Mt. Bailey:
Mt. Bailey.jpg
The 4 miles of trail between the Mt. Thielsen trailhead (5400') and the PCT junction (7340') are pretty unremarkable. Lots of pines, hemlocks, and horse poop.
horses.jpg
You start getting views of the extremely gnarly summit area...
west face.jpg
...and then you really start going uphill. After about 1/4 mile, the trail peters out into various braided paths, and it's all dirt and dust and scree and nastiness.
scree up.jpg
And then it turns into all rock. Some of it's solid and some of it isn't.
summit approach.jpg
Suddenly we were at the base of the summit pinnacle, known as "Chicken Ridge" or "Chicken Point" (9100'). Despite the condescending name, the eastern spur is a pretty cool place to hang out...
east ridge.jpg
...unless you have a fear of heights. The north face, above Lathrop Glacier, is a looooong way down:
north face.jpg
Our little group of three had brought some climbing gear, but when we looked up at the summit pinnacle, I was like, "What?! We brought a rope for THAT?!"
summit pinnacle.jpg
It was a fun rope-free scramble to a surprisingly roomy and non-sketchy summit, and it felt like a piece of cake compared to the nasty scree we had to slog through on the way up. Here's what it looks like on top:
summit boulders.jpg
On the way down, one of us (not me, surprisingly) suggested we bomb down the scree/pumice field on the southwest side, instead of going down the trail. From the top of the pumice, we saw some amazing spires on the southeast side:
rock formations.jpg
The hike/slide/surf down was an adventure. No injuries, though — just a lot of gravel-filled boots. Check out the crazy jagged rocks along the ridge, looking back up the slip-'n'-slide:
scree down.jpg
The view of the west side of Thielsen from the PCT was nice. The heather was pretty much done, but the partridgefoot was having a good time.
wildflowers.jpg
Back in the woods, we saw the weirdest blob of fungus, perfectly lit up by the evening sun.
fungus.jpg
A parting shot of the mountain just before we headed down the Thielsen Creek trail:
Thielsen from the north.jpg
The mosquitoes were horrible on the way down to the Howlock Mountain Trailhead, so we went as fast as we could. There are horse corrals at the trailhead, where you can park your horse while you camp! I hadn't seen that before.

We EARNED that soak in Umpqua Hot Springs the next day on the way home.
Umpqua Hot Springs.jpg
Last edited by adamschneider on October 28th, 2013, 7:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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BrianEdwards
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Re: Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

Post by BrianEdwards » July 29th, 2013, 7:12 pm

Awesome photos. Something hard to do is give the rock formations on Thielsen some scale. Your photos provided that beautifully. And ya, its a looong way down from the summit. Cool trip.
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

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Re: Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

Post by adamschneider » July 29th, 2013, 10:07 pm

Oh, I forgot to mention something interesting that happened on the way up: we nearly got trampled by those two horses! You really don't expect to be out in the wilderness and suddenly have two riderless horses barreling down the trail toward you. A few minutes later, their owners came jogging by, and then all four of them sauntered back up the trail while we were taking a break. Apparently they (the horses, not the riders ;) ) had been tied up but got loose and decided to go for an equine joyride. I really wish I'd gotten a picture of the stampede.

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Roy
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Re: Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

Post by Roy » July 30th, 2013, 4:30 am

Great tr thats sure looks lot harder those last few yards up that block than it is,I think a lot of people bag it there. Great area to explore thanks for sharing.
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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Re: Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

Post by adamschneider » March 11th, 2014, 2:15 pm

More photos posted: http://adamschneider.net/photos/2013-07-mt/

(Better late than never?)

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Re: Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

Post by backcountryhunter » March 12th, 2014, 1:35 pm

At the Hot Springs? Was there a bridge across the North Umpqua from the parking area that would lead to the trail on the other side or did you have to hike up from the bridge further down the road torward Toketee?

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Re: Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

Post by Splintercat » March 12th, 2014, 8:15 pm

Great summit pics, Adam - nice report!

Tom :)

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Re: Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

Post by adamschneider » March 12th, 2014, 9:33 pm

backcountryhunter wrote:At the Hot Springs? Was there a bridge across the North Umpqua from the parking area that would lead to the trail on the other side or did you have to hike up from the bridge further down the road torward Toketee?
There was a footbridge right there by the parking lot.

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Roy
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Re: Mt. Thielsen! - 7/27/13

Post by Roy » March 13th, 2014, 7:04 am

Thanks for sharing been up it twice years ago one time the little summit was covered in yellow jackets so we just kind of touched it and left.

Many climbers fondly refer to Thielsen as the lighting rod I know I saw evidence of strikes on the pinnacle.

The new photos make me dream of summer.
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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