One-day Adventures to Cascade Summits Off the Beaten Path
Explore Oregon’s Cascade Mountains by organizing a one-day mountain climbing adventure to Three Fingered Jack or Mt. Washington.
When most people think of mountain climbing in Oregon, they think of Mt. Hood. They might even conjure thoughts of mountain climbers being rescued, buried in snow caves and other media covered stories. Yet, there are other, less treacherous peaks to climb in Oregon, some of which are less recognizable but offer an adventurous climb to the summit.
Mountain climbing in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains can be an exciting and distinctive way to see the beauty this state has to offer. Imagine looking down at pristine lakes, hills, and valleys, or down the Cascades at the peaks to the north and the south. The following mountain climbs and hikes can be done in one day. Please note that Three Fingered Jack and Mount Washington are best climbed with an experienced guide or group. Both Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Washington require “roping up” for parts of the climb. These climbs are considered technically easy but strenuous trips.
Before attempting to climb these sites please consider the following:
- Take a basic mountaineering class or avalanche safety class
- Be familiar with rock climbing
- Schedule a climb with a club or commercial guide. The Oregon Mountaineering Association organizes trips, reports weather conditions and trip reports but requires a $25 membership fee. The OMA states that “anyone in reasonable physical condition can successfully climb with an experienced leader or guide.” Do not attempt to climb the mountain without a guide if you are not familiar with the terrain.
- Pack sturdy leather boots and weather-resistant clothing, for example, clothing made from wool or synthetic fibers. Guide services can provide ropes, harnesses, and helmets.
- Remember that mountain climbing can be dangerous.
The Pacific Crest Trail follows the dormant volcanoes along the Cascades from north to south. Trailheads for the Pacific Crest Trail can be found off of Highway 20.
Three Fingered Jack
At an elevation of 7,841 feet, this distinctive formation can best be climbed from the South Ridge, where there is less loose rock. This dormant volcano is made of old basaltic lava. The crest of Three Fingered Jack is small, jagged, and rocky. Join the OMA for their annual climb to its summit each fall.
Rising to 7,794 feet, this peak was first climbed in 1923. As with Three Fingered Jack, this climb is considered strenuous. Mt Washington is also made up of basaltic lava rock, which can turn into loose rock over time. The peak is best attempted from the North Ridge. From the summit, enjoy views of Big Lake.