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Climbing Mount Thielsen, the lightning rod of the Cascades | PEAK NORTHWEST: Episode Two

One of the things I love about Mount
Thielsen is that from afar, it looks like such an improbable climb. And its
steep imposing spire is part of what keeps drawing me back. Shall we? At least try to go climb a
mountain? So I’m heading out to pick up my buddy
Frank and we’re going to try to climb Mount Thielsen down by Crater Lake. How you doing? Wanna go climb a mountain or something? Let’s go do it. Alright. We’re driving about four hours to a campground where we’ll be staying overnight. When I talked to the ranger earlier this
week she said, maybe like three to five inches of snow at elevation, but, so we’ll see. I will give us a solid 40% chance of
summiting. I think that’s fair. I mean the snow just adds a different It’s just more risky. I mean the spire on top is, I think it’s,
what it’s like 80 feet of basically pretty good rock? It’s the only good rock
on the mountain. The only good rock on the mountain, so they say. I’d really like to get up to the top tomorrow but … we’ll just take what the mountain gives us you know? We’re doing all right here, oh yeah, We have an open campsite. We have an open campsite. It’s like the roomiest campsite ever. I know. There we go. Socks and Crocs, baby. Can see it [the mountain] poking out. Yeah, barely, just a little bit. I mean, the ridge is definitely, Snowy. Definitely snowy. Mount Thielsen towers over the popular Diamond Lake, where we’re staying for the night. Thielsen is a 9,182 foot extinct volcano known for its dramatic spire and reputation as the lightning rod of the Cascades. Oh, cooking up a world-class camp meal — doing a little ramen times two here. That looks pretty good. Looks pretty ready. Looks like ramen. Good morning. We ended up sleeping in the car last night because an animal of significant size was rustling about in our campsite. We got a little spooked, so now we’re gonna break camp, pack up and get out of here because its pretty much time to climb. Uh, we’re at the trailhead right now and we have approximately between nine and ten miles round-trip, and if I remember correctly
what was it Frank? Elevation gain? 3,800 foot elevation gain. So, let’s give it a
shot. Ready? Let’s go. The climb begins gradually, meandering
through dense forest before getting steeper above the tree line at about
7,200 feet. It’s one of those things where you just don’t know ’til you go, so we’re gonna keep going. The first snow we encounter is far from
ideal and we hope it softens up in the sun above treeline. Got my silly GoPro strapped to my chest and gonna get the footage we can from here on out. So bear with us, folks. Stylish and functional? The climbing gets harder and more dangerous farther up the mountain. Climbers need to scramble carefully and look out for loose rock. Woooooohoooo. Man. Top of Mount Thielsen, baby. So this is a summit that has eluded Frank and I once before. We got turned around because of snow, in what February? But this year, it feels mighty good to be on top. For such a straightforward and relatively short climb, the views from the top are pretty spectacular. After taking a few minutes to soak it in, we begin our descent. That was a heck of a jog you led me on there for the last little bit. The climb was really good though. It was great. This is take two for me, so it’s nice to get up on top. The snow did make it so roping up was gonna be rather difficult, um, so left the rope in the bag,
but other than that it wasn’t too much of an issue, it softened up for us. Yeah, yeah. And the actual, you know, last little bit of climbing — that last 80 or hundred feet um that’s kind of the Class IV scramble, so the hardest climbing on the mountain, or on the route that we were doing, was
manageable climbing up and coming back down. I felt like we kept our safety
margin really good and didn’t do anything that we were uncomfortable with, so. Let’s load this puppy up and get the heck out of here, eh? Hey there, folks, I’m Jim Ryan. Thank so much for watching our latest episode of Peak Northwest. We love hearing your feedback and if you feel so inclined, drop me a note and let
me know what you think of the series so far and where you think we should go in
the future. Thanks again for watching and we’ll see you soon.

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7 thoughts on “Climbing Mount Thielsen, the lightning rod of the Cascades | PEAK NORTHWEST: Episode Two

  1. This was awesome guys!! Do more! Went to Crater Lake a couple of months ago and I pointed it out to a friend. I just called her and told her to watch!

  2. Excellent series so far. Would love to see an exploration of the Oregon Desert Trail or something else focused on the Owyhee area.

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