Mount Thielsen

Southern Oregon Cascades, Oregon

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Mount Thielsen


  • Huckleberry bushes starting to show their fall colors.- Mount Thielsen
  • Walking through a microburst area of the trail.- Mount Thielsen
  • Climbing through the mountain hemlocks.- Mount Thielsen
  • Hazy views of Mount Thielsen (9,182') from the trail.- Mount Thielsen
  • Hazy views of Mount Thielsen (9,182') from the trail.- Mount Thielsen
  • View of Mount Thielsen's west face from the intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail.- Mount Thielsen
  • The start of the standard scramble route to the summit (West Ridge Route).- Mount Thielsen
  • View of the summit from the route.- Mount Thielsen
  • - Mount Thielsen
  • Use caution when making your way up. The rock is very unstable. Be considerate of others below you.- Mount Thielsen
  • Looking back down the Class III scramble.- Mount Thielsen
  • Interesting rock formations along the south ridge. The rim of Crater Lake is visible in the distance.- Mount Thielsen
  • Approaching the summit block and the ledge.- Mount Thielsen
  • Looking down the exposure of Mount Thielsen's east face from the ledge. - Mount Thielsen
  • Looking up at the Class IV summit scramble from "Chicken Ledge." Some teams have chosen to rope up and use protection. This is not required, but it is a good precaution.- Mount Thielsen
  • Looking down the Class IV scramble to the ledge.- Mount Thielsen
  • View of the summit a few feet away.- Mount Thielsen
  • The summit view west toward Diamond Lake and Mount Bailey (8,376'). The black specs in this photograph are flying ants!- Mount Thielsen
  • USGS summit marker.- Mount Thielsen
  • View of Mount Bailey (8,376') and Diamond Lake from the summit.- Mount Thielsen
  • Descending is a little precarious on the unstable rock.- Mount Thielsen
  • One last view of Mount Thielsen's heavily eroded west face from the west ridge.- Mount Thielsen
  • A view from the ledge, looking up the 80-foot Class IV scramble at the summit block- Mount Thielsen
  • Looking down over the east ridge of Mount Thielsen (Crater Lake in the distance).- Mount Thielsen
  • View of Diamond Lake and Mount Bailey above the west ridge.- Mount Thielsen
  • The prominent summit of Mount Thielsen from below the scree field.- Mount Thielsen
  • Sweeping views from Mount Thielsen.- Mount Thielsen
  • A climber down climbs the summit pinnacle.- Mount Thielsen
  • Climbers make their way up the scree field with Diamond Lake and Mount Bailey above.- Mount Thielsen
  • View of Crater Lake National Park on the horizon.- Mount Thielsen
Overview + Weather
Non-technical climb. Great views from the summit, including Crater Lake. Easy trailhead access.
Weather can change fast. Trail can be crowded in summer months.
Southern Oregon Cascades, OR
Pets allowed: 
Recommended Equipment:
Additional ice tools, Helmets
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade IV
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,725.00 ft (1,135.38 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
9.95 mi (16.01 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,439.00 ft (1,657.81 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


The intimidating spire of 9,182-foot Mount Thielsen can be seen as you travel to the trailhead. Yet the peak is not as difficult to climb as it might look. In spite of its appearance, Mount Thielsen is a good choice for beginning climbers and day hikers looking to get on an exposed face.

From the Mount Thielsen Trailhead just off Highway 138 near Diamond Lake, it's a moderate hike to the intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail. The West Ridge Route begins here, and it is a Class II and Class III scramble up scree and slate-like talus to a point called "Chicken Ledge." From this point, it's only 80 feet straight up on Class IV pitch. Many people and teams choose to rope up at this point and use protection. This is not required, but it is a good practice depending on you comfort level. This last 80 feet is on rock that is more solid than in earlier segments, which makes climbing a bit easier.

At the summit you are rewarded with views north all the way to the Three Sisters, south as far as Mount Shasta, and closer views of neighboring Crater Lake and Mount Bailey. 

The mountain is also known as the "lighting rod" of the Cascades because it attracts lighting strikes like mosquitos to sugar water. Due to Mount Thielsen's stormy nature, there are a few portions along the trail where small downbursts (microbursts) from thunderstorms have caused larger areas of downed trees. Be vigilant and always be on watch for changing weather.

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(19 within a 30 mile radius)

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