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 obsidians.org/onlinesignup/
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
Mt Thielsen- Graduation C
Mt Shasta- Hotlum-Bolam R
Mt St. Helens
Mt Washington Graduation
Tatoosh Range Pks
Smith Rk- Sport/Trad Clim
Climb—Mt Hood—Saturday, June 2, 2018
Leader: Danneille Harris
Climb to the top of our amazing state. Meet to carpool from Eugene at Coburg rd Shopko at 8pm Friday evening June 1st or meet at Timberline Wy'east lodge climbers hut at 11:30pm. Climb via standard south side route to the Hogsback and ascend Old Chute or Pearly Gates depending on conditions. Descend to Timberline. Celebrate our success (or drown our bitter sorrows) with milkshakes at the DQ in Sandy. Return to Eugene late Saturday afternoon. This climb requires considerable physical and mental stamina. Climbers may be asked to do a pre-climb training hike with the leader to evaluate their fitness.
Climb—Mt Thielsen- Graduation Climb—Saturday–Sunday, June 9–10, 2018
Leader: Marci Hansen
Let's climb Mt Thielsen! This will be a one day, drive-over-drive-back kind of trip. Thiesen is a great mountain because you get the forested hike, the spicy ridge, and one-pitch technical climb, with all pieces being not too long.
As we get closer to the date, we'll determine meet-up place. We'll meet around 3am and drive to the trailhead.
Climb—Mt Shasta- Hotlum-Bolam Route—Saturday–Sunday, June 9–10, 2018
Leader: George Williamson
Join us for a slog up the North Ridge of Mt Shasta. Unlike the popular Avalanche Gulch on the South side, this route sees much fewer ascents, despite it’s many qualities.
It’s a non-technical route involving a single night on the moraine at 9,400ft near a stream with great views. There’s no crevasse hazards, and nothing above class 2 terrain, with modeate snow to 35º
Bring overnight gear, crampons, standard ice axe, helmet, harness, 2 lockers, and a prusik. If anything deserves protecting, it’s the last snow field before the summit, because the runout below is dangerous and the snow may be icy and precarious.
I’ll provide a long form description of what to expect for those who join.
Please inquire if you’d like more information!
Climb—Middle Sister—Saturday–Sunday, June 16–17, 2018
Leader: Maryanne Reiter
We will be doing the North Ridge Route on Middle Sister. The climb will involve an approximately 5.5 mile hike in from the Pole Cr trailhead on Saturday June 16, then camp and get up early Sunday to climb. Previously on the hike in we have not needed snow shoes and some people have preferred to ski. Our high camp (~7200’) will not likely have water so we will plan on melting snow though hopefully we’ll find a site where we don’t have to camp on snow. On Sunday we will get up early (4:30 AM) and head for the summit. There is one steep portion of the climb above the saddle between Middle and North, and we will set a fixed line there for safety. After summiting we’ll come back to camp and pack up and hike out.
Climb—Mt St. Helens—Saturday, June 16, 2018
Leader: Bob Kaminski
This trip is limited to a total of four climbers. In addition to normal costs there is charge of $22 per climber for a pass to climb up to the rim of Mt. St. Helens.
We will depart on Friday, spend the night near the trail head, climb Saturday, June 16 and return home Saturday evening. Precise times will be given when folks sign up. It is recommended to meet team at Marble Mt. Sno-park for primitive camp Friday night. Trip leader will leave Portland Friday by 1:00 PM for trail head. We will likely begin climb no later than 7:00 AM, Saturday morning.
This description is incomplete and will be updated.
Climb School 2018
Note: Obsidian Climb School
enrollment is full with a
long wait list so sign up has been closed.
Each spring the Obsidians and Eugene Mountain
Rescue offer a course in Basic Mountaineering.
The emphasis of the 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 course consists of three classroom sessions
and two field sessions covering introduction to rock climbing and
snow skills. The class is limited to 30 participants. You must be 16
or older to participate; but will need a parent or guardian signature
if under 18. Those between 13 and 16 may participate if accompanied
by a parent or responsible adult who is also enrolled in the course.
The cost of the class is $110.00 for non-members and $80.00 for
Obsidian members and Eugene Mountain Rescue volunteers
(if the cost is a significant financial burden, please contact
to explore alternate pricing).
The Obsidians will provide all ropes, anchors and group gear needed
for the field sessions. We also have the following personal gear
available if needed: climbing harnesses, rock helmets,
belay devices, and locking carabiners.
Obsidians have a limited number of ice axes to loan out, if you are able, please
borrow or purchase one for the class.
The course outline is below:
Monday, April 2 7-9 PM (Obsidian Lodge):
Introduction to climbing. Topics include basic knots used in
climbing, type of climbing and rating systems, what to bring for
different types of climbs.
Thursday, April 5 6:00-9:00 PM (Obsidian
Lodge): Basic snow travel skills preview. Topics include safety
considerations for snow travel, proper use of an ice ax and other
snow travel equipment, roping up and negotiating crevasses.
Saturday, April 7 9:00 AM-4:30 PM (TBD, though
likely Hayrick Butte, Santiam Pass): Snow field session. Skill
development includes: techniques for travelling on snow, self-arrest,
building snow anchors, roped travel on snow.
Weds, April 11 6:30-9:00 PM (Bob Keefer Center
for Sports and Recreation, Springfield): Indoor rock climbing skills.
Topics include a review of knots, safety checks, climbing commands,
how to belay, climbing technique basics.
Sat or Sun, April 14 or 15 8:00 AM-3PM (you
will choose 1 day-Skinner Butte Columns): Outdoor climbing skills.
Topics include knot review, belaying a climber on top rope,
travelling on a fixed line and rappelling.
To enroll in the course:
sign up for the Basic Mountaineering Course through the online
signup system (http://www.obsidians.org/onlinesignup/index.htm).
If you do not have an account with the Obsidians, you must first register with us.
To register, click here:
pay the course fee which is $110.00 for non-members and $80 for Obsidian or
Eugene Mountain Rescue members.
To pay, send a check made out to the Obsidians, Inc. and mail to
Maryanne Reiter PO Box 275 Springfield, OR 97477.
Payment must be received within 10 business days of signing up for the class
to secure your spot.
Go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oE1FkVCvVS6rc43fn7P-Tm9J6dH4VcLVqtQIJZMTDfE/viewform?edit_requested=true
and complete this background information form so we can get a sense of your
skill level, gear needs and who to contact in case of an emergency.
Attend the first class and sign the liability waiver form.
Please contact Maryanne Reiter, Chair of the Obsidians Climbs Committee at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have
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