Ascent of Mount McLoughlin on 2007-09-06

Climber: Scott Cockrell

Date:Thursday, September 6, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount McLoughlin
    Elevation:9495 ft / 2894 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mt. McLoughlin is a volcano that stands far away from anything else -- when I first saw it from I-5 on my way down to Lassen I wondered if it might be Mt. Shasta. But the highway people had a sign right there saying "Mt. McLoughlin 9495" with an arrow, and I said "wow!" to myself, since this mountain was definitely one of my targets. The trail leaves from a road that starts at the Summit Sno-Park on Route 140 quite a bit east of the mountain. The road goes straight north from 140 for 2 gravel miles and 1 rather rough mud-and-rock mile. There is a nice parking area. The trail goes up through some nice old-growth forest, joins with the Pacific Crest Trail, then leaves it. I somehow got off the trail while still in the woods and got into a boulder field -- this cost me some time. (If you come to a boulder field while still in the woods -- retrace your steps and find the real trail.) Anyway, I kept climbing across the boulders and found the trail again. It eventually emerged onto a fairly steep ridge with a massive glacial cirque to the right and a significant dropoff to the left also. The ridge was comfortably wide, but there were usually several versions of the "trail" going on at any point. I had seen no one since I left Route 140, so there was a certain amount of excitement as I climbed higher along the ridge. Eventually, the ridge got a little wider and climbed up to the summit, which arrived suddenly. The summit has two parts -- the first part had a couple of walls of an old structure -- the second, slightly higher summit was only a few yards beyond. I took several pictures looking down at some of the fantastic rock formations below me in various directions, and searched briefly for a survey marker or register. I was too excited to eat much, and stayed only about 10 minutes on the summit. I didn't see anyone at all on this climb until a couple of hundred yards from the end of the trail, when I met a guy who was looking for a "clearing" (remember this is in an old-growth forest with trees several feet thick.) Strangely enough,I remembered a clearing just a few minutes back -- he said "Oh good I was looking for a short hike" and happily went off on his way.
This climb was difficult enough that it played a large part in my eventual decision to skip an attempt on Mt. Thielsen or Mt. Adams for this trip, at least.
Summary Total Data
    Round-Trip Distance:11 mi / 17.7 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Route:Mt. McLoughlin Trail
    Time:4 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Time:3 Hours 33 Minutes

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