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[TR] Mt McLoughlin - East Ridge 1/4/2015

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Trip: Mt McLoughlin - East Ridge


Date: 1/4/2015


Trip Report:

McLoughlin is a mountain that I’ve been interested in doing for the past few years, but never really studied it or knew much about the route or any technicalities. As we’ve been continuing into the winter months with the Mountain a Month project, we’ve been forced to find summits that are climbable even in bad conditions and when normal trailheads or access roads are snowed in. McLoughlin rose to the top of the list as a possible winter summit as we learned more about it, and the 7 to 10 mile round trip seemed very doable with access right off the highway.




We originally planned to climb this peak as a LONG day trip, driving down super early on Saturday, climbing, then making the caffeine-fueled slog back up to PDX. However, when we smashed the alarm at 2am, the excuses starting flowing and we easily convinced ourselves that only 4 hours of sleep was not enough for an 18 hour push of climbing and driving. Instead, we opted for sleeping in (adequate rest is obviously crucial for summit bagging) and resolved to drive down on Saturday afternoon and climb on Sunday. With this more relaxed schedule, I relaxed my brain as well and proceeded to forget all my bottom layers, leaving me with nothing but jeans to wear when we arrived at the trailhead. Amateur hour! Serious noob moment. I briefly panicked but after rummaging through the car, I realized that Corie keeps a pair of waterproof Carhartt pants in her trunk for tire changing emergencies. Bingo! These pants coupled with a borrowed pair of her Nike Dryfit running tights, made for a bomber mountaineering layering system for my legs (however, getting out of this set up to pee was a different story). I believe I am the first person to ski mountaineer McLoughlin in this combo. I’m expecting a sponsorship from Carhartt any day now.




After I got off my struggle bus, the actual hiking and climbing was great. Although it’s possible to begin right off the north side of highway 140, we chose to park at the Summit Snowpark, which allows access to the PCT and the standard east ridge route.The snow was all the way down to the trailhead and allowed for skinning almost right off the bat. Luckily for us, there was already a great set of tracks from the previous few days that made for easy route finding and almost zero trail breaking.




Although some amount of trail wandering is expected during the winter, we were both surprised to find that we had clocked nearly 7 miles by the time we reached the summit. I’m doubtful that my GPS is off by that much, but the 11 miles round-trip advertised by the trailhead map seems a little optimistic compared to the 13.8 that we registered. Either way, it was another fun, long day on a mountain and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was also fun to try a peak that was new for both of us, and be lucky enough to summit on our first try.




More details and pictures can be found here on our blog, where you can also find beta for South Sister, Washington, 3 Fingered Jack, Adams, and Saint Helens.

Edited by nutsandbolts

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