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Mount Washington, Oregon (7794 ft)

Low on the North Ridge of Mount Washington
Low on the North Ridge
Linda on the West Ridge
Mount Washington, West Side
Mount Washington, West Side

Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests
Willamette National Forest

Route: North Ridge from Big Lake

Start at the Patjens Lakes Trailhead on the west side of Big Lake. Hike along the west side of Big Lake on that trail but turn left off that trail onto another that follows the south shore. Here is a maze of trails, but continue easterly to intercept the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCNST). Follow the PCNST south about a mile to a climbers' trail on the left at a rock cairn.

Ascent the climbers' trail onto the lower North Ridge of Mount Washington. Follow the trail along this ridge up towards the main peak. Higher on the ridge follow the climbers' trail around a rocky area to the right on red scree slopes. This leads to a gully which leads up to the left to the notch just below a steep buttress, the "Nose".

From the notch scramble up and to the right to spot a gully leading up left to an obvious horn. Set a belay anchor by slinging a large rock and climb up the gully to the horn and sling the horn. The next section is the crux. From the horn climb directly up an overhang (stem this) and a face to a large ledge with another rock adorned with many slings. This is the rappel station for the descent. Belay the rest of your party to this ledge using the rock as an anchor.

From here work upwards towards the summit, bypassing obstacles on one side or another using ledges and picking up climber's trails. Near the summit find a low-angle chimney. Climb this chimney on good holds and continue to the wide summit on easier rock. One may chose to set up a fixed line from the bottom of the chimney to just below the summit.

One may descend the same route to the rappel station or avoid some routefinding by performing a low-angle rappel from a large block below the chimney to the rappel station. From the rappel station carefully move over the lip on rappel without dislodging the slings from the anchor and descend directly down to the notch.

From here, many climbers carefully descend the gully and the tedious scree and talus slopes to the east, then pick up a trail in the meadow below and hike east to the PCNST. An alternative is to descend the approach route along the North Ridge to the PCNST. Once on the PCNST, retrace your steps to Big Lake, trying to remember how to work through the maze of trails along the south shore.

Due to the friable nature of the rock and the exposure above the East Face it is recommended that one climb the Nose on belay. Above the Nose one can third class the route with adequate routefinding, but be cautious of loose rock. Also, there may be no source of water on the approach so take an adequate amount for the day.

Traverse right on North Ridge
Horn low on the Nose
Looking down the Nose
Looking up from above the Nose


  1. Thomas, Jeff, Oregon High: A Climbing Guide, Keep Climbing Press, 1991.
  2. USGS Volcanoes, Mount Washington: http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Mt_Washington/