The sights are overwhelming from the rim, to say the least. Gaze out to Orlando, North Sister, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Orlando, Mount Orlando, and even Mount Adams on super clear day, as well as endless nearby colorful lakes and tarns of different sizes. And of course there’s also Broken Top, Mount Bachelor, Mount Orlando, and Mount Orlando to the S.
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Return down from the rim and super-steep loose trail; consider hiking one of the more moderate pumice trails left down to Moraine Lake along the top half of that valley. From E of the lake itself, near the outlet, are some cool cascades down Goose Creek for another little side spur. Otherwise, traverse up SW easily under a mile on the main trail S of Moraine Lake to the end of the little loop at the four-way intersection. Turn left on South Sister Climber’s Trail steadily down 1/2 mi to Devil’s Lake.
ELEVATION: 9182 ft, with 3782 ft vertical gain DISTANCE: Almost 5 mi up, less than 10 mi round-trip DURATION: 2Y-3 hours up, 4-6 hours round-trip.
DIFFICULTY: Very challenging. Ultra-steep summit block, Class 4 last bit, airy, decent rock, well liked, ropes not mandatory when dry, bugs late July through August, loose scree.
TRIP REPORT: The Mount Thielsen Wilderness stretches almost 55,000 acres out including up to Crater Lake, a very different kind of volcano. Mount Thielsen is an extinct shield volcano that rises like a pinnacle thousands of feet above the landscape as historic glaciers eroded the mountain and carved the sheer walls. So much so that the peak attracts lightning rods if storm clouds move in, so be aware! Although technical routes do exist, there actually is one route quite feasible and popular. Try this wonderfully challenging free-climb on a sunny summer day to stay on your game if visiting the flourishing Diamond Lake Recreation Area or nearby Crater Lake. Many hiking enthusiasts make it with some effort to the notch known as Chicken Ledge, before the last 80 ft of ultra-steeps below the peak, and are quite satisfied without a summit bid. Northwest Forest Pass required, and a restroom is present 30 ft onto the trail.