Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The "lighning rod of the Cascades"...

is a nickname assigned to Mt. Thielsen, and perhaps you can see how it's earned this distinction in this view with Diamond Lake in the foreground (click to enlarge):
The sunrise the morning of my solo dash to the summit was spectacular, a harbinger of the great experience that awaited me on the West Ridge route:
Once I emerged from the trees and climbed above the Pacific Crest Trail, the volcanic geology of the mountain presented itself in stunning outcrops:
The last couple of pitches, although Class 4 grade, are real butt-puckerer's (if you know what I mean), especially given the extraordinary exposure of the summit block.  Here's the view to the south, catching a bit of the remaining rim of Mt. Mazama (Crater Lake) in the distance, with my toes at the bottom of the image:
And here's a shot to the north, looking pretty much straight down to the Lathrop Glacier, about 1,200 ft below me:
On the descent I examined an area where, in the recent past, a strong wind has blown down a swath of the forest, uprooting hundreds of large trees:
It's a wonder that they can find any purchase at all in the deep, pumiceous soils around the lower part of the mountain:

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