Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Climbing Scary Mountains

During our camping trip last weekend my Dad and I climbed Mt. Thielsen. This is something we planned on doing a year ago and something I had been training for. Mt. Thielsen is an extinct volcano in the Oregon High Cascades.

This is the view of Mt. Thielsen from Diamond Lake

When my Dad had talked to me about climbing the mountain with him he had stressed the physical difficulty of it. He has climbed the mountain to the top twice, first when he was 16 and again about 6 years ago. It's 5 miles to the top and in those 5 miles you go up 4000ft in elevation. The trail head starts at 5000 ft elevation and ends just over 9000 ft. Once you get past 8000 ft the oxygen in the air decreases and it can make it more difficult to climb. So I was prepared for a difficult hike. However, I wasn't prepared to be terrified which is exactly what happened. What my Dad didn't explain is that the last 1.5 miles of the hike you are climbing up rocks. There are places where you are going up lava rock where you have hand holds and foot holds. Other places you go up loose shale where you fall back two feet for every one foot you move forward. For most if it you have to use your hands as well as your feet. Many of the places it's hard to distinguish rocks to grab onto because some are loose. You have to test every place you put your hands and feet or you may fall 30 feet down the mountain side. Here are some pictures from the hike.

This is the mountain from just before the tree line (about 2 miles from the top)

Here is the view of diamond lake from the trail.

This is what we're climbing up

Which soon turns into this

And then this. This is where I stopped.

This is the view from where I stopped.

This is the remaining trail up the horn which I decided not to do. So I didn't quite go to the top but I was really close. And I have to say I am really glad I went as far as I did. When the trail first started to get hairy I wanted to stop but I decided to try. I don't know if I will ever go up this mountain again but I think it was a good experience. And for now this ends Mrs. P rock climbing adventures.

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