When the terrain gets steep enough that scrambling is required, or when ice axes, crampons and ropes are needed for protection, the outing is classified as a “climb”. Obsidians have a long history of leading climbs in the Cascades, dating back to the formation of the club. The climbs we offer range from snowy ascents of high peaks to sport rock climbs in the high desert.


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 climb.
  • 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, go to our online signup system, accessible on our home page.   Climbs are generally posted online 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.

Let’s Climb!

The Chair of the Climbs Committee is Maryanne Reiter. She can be contacted by emailing climbs@obsidians.org

Climbs Schedule

Diamond Pk
Mt Jefferson
Mt Thielsen

Middle Sister
Mt Thielsen
Mt Washington

Broken Top
Mt McLoughlin
Three Fingered Jack

Climb—Diamond Peak - Graduation Climb—Saturday, June 10, 2023
Leader: Maryanne Reiter

This climb is intended for recent graduates of the Obsidians Climb School. We will ascend via the Pioneer Gulch route on the south to southwest side of the mountain. The climb is approximately 10 miles round trip with over 4000 ft of total elevation gain. As you prepare for this, think about hiking 4 Mount Pisgahs in a day

Climb—Mt Jefferson—Friday–Sunday, June 16–18, 2023
Leader: Danneille Harris

We will climb the West Rib route with a high camp at about 6800ft. High camp will likely be on snow. Jefferson is probably the toughest mountain in Oregon with significant hazards to individuals and the team. All potential team members will need prior approval from the trip leader. We also plan to do a scouting trip up to near high camp on June 10th. We will scout the approach and climbing route and possibly do a bit of pruning on the exit route.

Climb—Mt Thielsen—Saturday, June 24, 2023
Leader: Maryanne Reiter

We will be climbing the standard route on Mt. Thielsen. The route begins as a use trail up the scree and talus of the lower mountain, later becoming a class 3 scramble as the ridge steepens. The final climb up the summit pinnacle is a class 4, easy 5th class scramble on the only solid piece of rock on the mountain. We will have a fixed line rope for ascending and will descend on a rappel on the steep part. We will plan on doing the climb in 1 day from Eugene. However, those who wish to camp can meet us at the trail head in the early AM.

Climb—Middle Sister—Saturday, July 1, 2023
Leader: Trina Reiter

Spring Climb School

Each spring the Obsidians and Eugene Mountain Rescue offer a course in Basic Mountaineering. The emphasis of course is on 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 steep rock and snow slopes and participate in Obsidian climbs. This course is not meant to train people to lead groups 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.

Climbing awards

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 Diamond Peak.

The Ten Peaks Leader Award is presented to Obsidian members who have led climbs of all Ten Major Peaks listed above.

Archived climb schedules

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