Mountaineering with the Obsidians
The Obsidians sponsor climbs of most major peaks in the Oregon Cascades
and some in Washington and California during each climbing season from April through November.
We are not a guide service but have skilled volunteer leaders from the community that share a
passion for bringing people to the mountains. The climbs we offer vary in difficulty from
‘walk-ups’ to technical rock, and snow climbs. The Obsidians provide ropes,
technical protection, and first aid supplies. We do not supply personal climbing gear.
Participants are required to have basic mountaineering and outdoor skills,
appropriate personal gear and be in good physical condition. Even the easier climbs are still
strenuous, often with ascents of several thousand feet on summit day. Participants must be
prepared to carry group gear such as ropes or pickets in addition to their own personal
climbing and camping gear. The time commitment required for a climb ranges from one to several
days depending on the location and difficulty.
When a climb is listed on the Obsidian calendar, its level of difficulty will
be indicated. For non-technical climbs such as the south side of South Sister or Diamond Peak,
extensive mountaineering skills are not necessary but still require a level of fitness and basic
snow travel skills in order to participate. Technical climbs require ropes and technical climbing
skills such as proficiency in glacier travel and travelling on fixed lines. Examples of technical
climbs include Mount Hood and Mount Thielsen. In order to go on a technical climb participants
must have one of following:
- Completed a Basic Mountaineering course, (either offered by the Obsidians, or an equivalent
course offered by another organization)
- Have sufficient previous experience that the climb leader can judge your skill level for the
- Been recommended as skilled and fit for the intended climb by someone known and trusted by
the climb leader.
The party size on climbs is limited. Wilderness area restrictions limit the party
size to no more than twelve, and many leaders choose to limit the numbers to less than twelve,
depending on the route difficulty and other factors.
How to Sign up for a Climb
To sign up for a climb, check the schedule and read the general description of
the technical difficulty as well as the material above to ensure you meet the requirements to
go on the climb. Then go to
and register. Climbs are generally posted three weeks before their scheduled dates.
Obsidian members can pre-register for a climb by contacting the listed climb
leader and ask to go on the climb. The same restrictions on signing up for a technical climb
applies to members. Contact information for leaders is found in the member directory. Members
pre-registering for climbs cannot sign up for simultaneous climbs as place holders and are
limited to pre-registering for 3 climbs a year. There is no limit on registering for climbs once
they go online for members and non-members alike.
Graduation climbs are for recent graduates of climb school so they can practice
their newly acquired skills. Recent climb school graduates who are members can pre-register.
Once the climb goes online then recent non-member graduates are given priority followed by
regular member and the public.
The climb leader has the final discretion on who to allow on the climb and may
limit participation of climbers or adjust the climb schedule based on experience of the individual,
the group, and climb conditions.
The Chair of the Climbs Committee is Maryanne Reiter. She can be contacted by emailing
Three Fingered Jack
Climb—Broken Top—Saturday, August 3, 2019
Leader: Marci Hansen
Broken Top is a gorgeous climb, I think the prettiest in Oregon by far. It has a long, but beautiful hike in, then a fun, slightly exposed ridge, then we put our harnesses on and do a little bit of climbing with a LOT of exposure. Fun, fun, fun.
To climb Broken Top you need to be in excellent hiking shape and very comfortable with exposure. That 17 mile round trip is no joke.
You have the choice of driving over to the trail head the night before or the morning of the climb. We'll hike away from the trailhead at 4:30 or 5am.
Climb—Three Fingered Jack—Saturday, August 10, 2019
Leader: Brian Hamilton
Either car-camp at Santiam Pass PCT Friday evening or meet us early (4:00ish) Saturday morning. We’ll start out on the PCT at 4:30 AM, hike north for about 5 miles, then take the climbers trail to climb the standard south ridge route. Carpool arrangements from Eugene TBD.
Climb—North Sister—Saturday, August 10, 2019
Leader: Dalen Willhite
Planning to climb North Sister via the East Ridge, from the Pole Creek TH. I'd like to do this in a day trip, so we can meet at the traillhead the night before, get some sleep, and start quite early to avoid the heat.Carpool details to come.I am expecting lots of rock scramble and a snowy traverse.
Note: Climb School 2019 is over. Our
next Climb School will be in Spring 2020.
Each spring the Obsidians and Eugene Mountain Rescue
offer a course in Basic Mountaineering.
The emphasis of this course is to provide students with the basic skills
needed to climb safely with a group in a range of environments from sport
rock climbing to alpine mountaineering.
The course will prepare students to travel on glaciers, negotiate steep
slopes of rock and snow, and participate in Obsidian climbs.
This course is not meant to train people to lead groups on rock or
glaciers but rather to be a safe team member.
We will not cover in detail the use of map and compass, weather and
avalanche assessment, or crevasse rescue.
The Obsidians have three climbing awards offered to members:
The Three Peaks Award is presented to members who have successfully
reached the summit of all three Sisters on scheduled Obsidian climbs.
The Ten Peaks Award is presented to members who have reached the
summits on Obsidian climbs of the ten major Oregon peaks: Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson,
the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. McLoughlin, Mt. Thielsen, and
The Ten Peaks Leader Award is presented to Obsidian members who have
led climbs of all Ten Major Peaks listed above.
Archived climb schedules