Alpine climbing NCCS rating
Grade V
Elevation Gain
3,070.00 ft (935.74 m)
0.00 mi (0.00 km)
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Twisting as though it were frozen in the midst of a dynamic dance move, Mount Washington challenges worthy climbers to navigate five fifth-class rock pitches to the summit. Climbers begin their journey meandering through the remnants of the 2003 Booth Fire, where vegetation is returning with a powerful display of wildflowers blooming as late as August.  You'll see lupine, Indian paintbrush, penstemon rupicola, sea aster and Davidson's penstemon to name a few. The wildflowers soon give way to the crumbly basalt typical of volcanic plugs.

Be sure to bring your helmet, rope, climbing rack and wits as the constant exposure and brittle rock will surely keep you on your toes.

From the summit you'll have views as far north as Mount Hood and Mount McLoughlin is visible to the south on a clear day; you'll also see neighboring Mount Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, and the Three Sisters. An early start from the parking lot will bring climbers back to the car before dusk.

Note: For more climbing details you can contact the following ranger stations: McKenzie Bridge Ranger Station (541.549.7700), Detroit Ranger Station (503.854.3366), and Sisters Ranger Station (541.549.7700).

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass


Panoramic views. Wildflowers.


Exposure. Loose and crumbly rock. Traditional protection required.

Pets allowed


Trailhead Elevation

4,720.00 ft (1,438.66 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas


Nearby Adventures


The trail quickly disappeared after leaving the PCT. In June it was on and off snow. The final climb part is pretty easy low 5s, but due to exposure and loose rock I would recommend roping for some of the way up and most of the way down. I made a video showing the whole process of making the summit.
We will second the 'brittle rock' warning. Big Lake is down below Mount Washington and provides an excellent place to camp in one of its multiple coves.
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