Snow is quickly receding in the summer heat, and the majestic rocky points of the great Cascade peaks are finally uncovered. You'll find us heading to the higher elevations to explore some of the best mixed-alpine climbs in the country. We want to give you a quick update on the conditions out there so you can head for the hills armed with a little insider info.
For the thrill seekers hitting up the big mountains, the warm weather has opened up crevasse areas making glacier travel more hazardous. Snow bridges are beginning to melt out and moats are opening up. Mount Hood is melted out with greater rock and icefall, which makes the standard South Route climb extremely hazardous and not recommended. As for Middle Sister, the Pole Creek Trailhead is closed due to last year's Pole Creek Fire. The approach now involves an additional 5 miles of hiking on a dirt road with unmarked access. Wayfinding could be an issue. On a positive note, South Sister is screaming for attention, and the Devil's Lake Trailhead is open for your alpine adventure needs.
The craggy peaks in Central Oregon are beginning to show their summer routes, creating plentiful opportunities to pull out that rope you stashed in the garage last winter. Have a blast scrambling up Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack and Broken Top. In contrast, the jagged tops of the Tatoosh range in Mount Rainier National Park remain on the last leg of their winter ascent trials and provide a true alpine climbing experience. But hurry, the snow is melting fast!
Keep an eye out for the upcoming Castle Peak and Pinnacle Peak adventures, a duo of 5th class rock in the beautiful Tatoosh Range. These two summits can be completed in a day with a third, Unicorn Peak, just down the road making way for an action packed, summit-topping weekend.
Below you'll find a list of some of the best peaks in Central Oregon and Southern Washington for a weekend adventure or a week-long excursion. Let us know what peaks you're climbing on our Facebook page or Twitter (@outdoorproject1). As always, be prepared for unexpected weather shifts and carry the right equipment. Climb safe out there!