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Santiam Alpine Club

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Mt. Thielsen

August 13, 2016

Coordinator: Sue McGlynn

Summit Altitude: 9183 feet
Elevation Gain: 3800 feet
Round-trip Distance: 10 miles
Excursion Time: 7 hours (car-to-car)

Our group of five climbers, Dana and Rich, Adrian, Tom and Mika, and hikers Kristine and Muttley the Wonder Dog, arrived at the Thielsen trailhead between 7:30 and 10:30pm the night before. We enjoyed a beer, the bright moon and some bats feeding (hopefully on mosquitoes) and hit the hay. The climbers got an early start at 6am and overtook a couple groups that had set out even earlier. The hikers had a nice lie in.

We took a break at the Pacific Crest Trail intersection and were above the tree line by the time the sun was fully over the mountain. Wisely sticking to the left toward the ridgeline we steadily picked our way up to the base of the summit block enjoying the strange rock formations as we went. Other groups ventured out into the scree and shale to have a longer go of it.

After reaching "Chicken Ledge" Dana took the rope up the summit block and set up a fixed line. With the rope hanging straight down the pitch, the route proved unnecessarily challenging. So second up, Rich, assisted to move the anchor and climbing route around a large rock to the right the way Dana had climbed. Tom, Mika and Adrian followed and scrambled up to the summit, where a ton of flying ants were swarming. We quickly took in the view and summit chocolate, admired the lightning-caused fulgurites, and down-climbed to allow two other groups to get started. By the time we left the ledge there were about 20 people queued up to climb!

As we descended the temperature rose. We were grateful for our early start and the occasional breeze. There was just one short section of marbles on hard rock, but otherwise we had a nice trail all the way down. The hikers, Kristine and Muttley, met up with us in the blow-down section, where a microburst took down a large section of trees about 9 years ago. We trundled back to the cars, where cold beer and salty chips awaited us. It was a beautiful day, a smooth climb and great company!


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