Kerby Peak (Siskiyou Mountains) 02-Mar-2017

Kerby Peak Siskiyou Mountains Oregon

I usually like to take a break between hikes but what with the latest decent weather window only two-days wide, I felt impelled to do back-to-back hikes.  With The LovedOne up in Portland for the  Rose City Yarn Crawl, I felt empowered (or sufficiently unsupervised) to have yet another go at a winter climb of Kerby Peak in the Siskiyou Mountains east of Selma, Oregon.  We’d first done this peak in the low-snow winter of 2015 but had no luck in the “real” winter of 2016 – we’d turned back halfway when The LovedOne started post-holing to her waist.  We hadn’t taken snowshoes on that hike and so I thought if I tried it this winter with snowshoes then all would be different.  This is not known as a winter hike – snowshoes or not – so I’m not sure what I was thinking here.  Later, I would come to embrace this as yet another hike encouraged by hubris and deflected by irony…

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Around Brown Mountain (Southern Oregon) 18-Sep-2016

Brown Mountain Oregon

Brown Mountain is a small, youthful looking, basaltic andesite shield volcano located in Oregon’s Klamath and Jackson counties, directly south of its more prominent neighbor, Mount McLoughlin. Brown Mountain is only between 12,000 and 60,000 years old with the last eruption taking place about 15,000 years ago.  Much of it is bare, unweathered, dark-colored, block-lava, with a glacial valley carved into its northeast flank.  Having already been to its summit (snowshoe to the top), we looked around for another way to enjoy the mountain.  While doing so, we came across a report (post) of an out-and-back hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) along the west side of the mountain. A quick look at the map showed that we could circumnavigate the mountain by going south and east on the PCT from the Summit Sno-Park (details), then north on the Brown Mountain Trail (USFS #1005 [on the Rogue-Siskiyou NF; it’s #3724 on the Fremont-Winema NF]), and then east back to the Sno-Park on the High Lakes Trail (USFS #6200).  And so it was.

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Robinson Butte Snowshoe (Southern Oregon) 29-Feb-2016

Robinson Butte Lookout Southern Oregon

Unlike the last two winters, this year we’ve had a more “normal” year, with a good snow pack fueled by alternating bands of rain/snow and sun. It’s not unusual to have a stormy night, followed by a bluebird morning, and then a gray jay afternoon as the next storm moves onshore. So we’ve become somewhat adept at finding hikes or snowshoes that can fit into the bluebird part of this cycle. A snowshoe hike to Robinson Butte fit nicely into this limitation.

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Brown Mountain Snowshoe (Southern Oregon) 08-Feb-2016

Brown Mountain Fremont-Winema National Forest Oregon

I had to wait 6 weeks for the weather to calm down a bit. The upside is that what was soft, fluffy, not-so-easy to snowshoe snow has now settled into really nice Spring snow. Brown Mountain sits on the south side of Highway 140, directly south of Mount McLoughlin. Its summit benchmark is 7,311 feet but it’s actually a bit higher than that – and it has a crater! In summer, it’s an almost unclimbable cone of rumpled, sharp lava but in winter, with a good snow cover, it’s a very fun snowshoe (or ski – we’ll get to the snowmobiles later).

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Grouse Gap Snowshoe (Mount Ashland) 27-Jan-2016

Grouse Gap Shelter Mount Ashland Oregon

With predictions of an “atmospheric river” (one forecaster dared say “Pineapple Express”) incoming, we decided to take advantage of what sunlight remained for a quick snowshoe hike up on Mount Ashland. Unlike the last two years, when there was essentially no snow on the mountain, this year, thanks to El Niño, we have a 100-inch base!

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Mount McLoughlin (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 17-Apr-2015

Mount McLoughlin Oregon

A recent query about conditions on Mount McLoughlin got me thinking that it’s been a long while since I last climbed it and, on that occasion, I did so only to stand in a viewless cloud shrouding the summit . Of course, just after that query, our “early” Spring was overtaken by a series of low pressure fronts, the last of which passed last Tuesday, to be followed by a nice high pressure area. Since I’m opposed to viewlessness, I waited until yesterday to have another go at the summit under absolutely bluebird conditions. The LovedOne opted for further library volunteering rather than another 4,000-foot trudge up this 9,495-foot high mountain.

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