For the Serious Hiker: Five Mountain Scrambles around the Klamath-Siskiyou
by Jeanine Moy, Outreach Director, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center
Unlike the grand, yet crowded Rockies or European Alps, our Klamath-Siskiyous and southern Cascades remain an easy place to find solitude, deep backcountry areas that are remote and rugged, and have very little public information (guidebooks or maps) about technical climbing areas. Short of needing to bring a rope, here are a few places that will keep your heart pounding, require navigation skills and a topographical map and use of all-fours at times. Listed easiest to most difficult:
Pilot Rock, Soda Mountain Wilderness: A favorite for Rogue Valley residents, the standard route is up the steep gully to the north. Keep an eye out for some outrageous butterflies.
Mt. Thielson, Mt. Thielson Wilderness: Enjoy conifer forest and old lava flows, cross a scenic ridge and then exposed scree slopes, and a final bit of fourth-class scrambling! Look for fulgurites where lightening has struck the summit.
Red Butte, Red Butte Wilderness: Downhill of the old cattle gate, marvel at natural rock gardens while you “friction-walk” up the white marble slab until you encounter the namesake red Peridotite rock to summit.
Preston Peak, Siskiyou Wilderness: Summit early on a summer morning and return to basecamp for a swim at ever-cold Raspberry Lake.
Mt. Thompson, Trinity Alps Wilderness: Approach either from the north and camp at the stunning Grizzley Lake, or from the Canyon Creek drainage to the south. Do your summit-route homework first!