Timberline TR Attempt June 2019

TimberlineTr2019PP - 18

The goal was to complete Timberline Trail loop for the 3rd year in a row, but Snow and Weather dictated a different outcome. Scheduling this year required that I attempt the Timberline Trail on June 17th. Yes, a bit early but I knew there would be rewards of clear skies and few people. TimberlineTr2019PP - 2However, I did not think the snow depth on the Northeast side would create such a problem. Combine that with a snow storm that emerged from the gorge when we would have been crossing the high point and we had to adjust to a Top Spur extraction. Overall it was an Epic Adventure because I have never seen the views so clear and brilliant, rhododendrons blooming and nobody on the trail.

This is my annual trek to evaluate how old my body feels and I am very pleased with the results. My main concern for completing the loop was the severity of the river crossing, but they were totally acceptable.

I can’t believe I didn’t worry more about the snow pack on the north side. It wasn’t that you could hike over the snow, it was how it created severe inclines over what was the trail and then it engulfed the trail. We made it to the Wy’East area clockwise from Timberline Lodge before we determined that we had to abort. Of course we had already met 3 backpackers who had turned around. I do think we could have made it if it wasn’t for the weather. All week the forecast just kept getting worse with the prediction of snow. And the forecast turned out to be more than accurate which made for a tough night at Eden Park and the hike out to Top Spur.

Knowing that the best weather was at the beginning I decided to do my traditional clockwise route from the lodge and boy am I glad we did. Paradise Park was amazingly beauty and it looked like we may have been one of the first to spend the night up there.

We almost got a great sunset but the sun hitting Hood at the different intensities is just as good. Unfortunately we did have fairly high winds at our Split Rock campsite and then we got a couple of hours of rain starting at sun up.

The weather cleared to give us a perfect hike down to the Sandy with the most amazingly clear views of the Sandy River headwaters up to Mt Hood.

The river crossing was challenging but we did not have to get very wet.

Of course Ramona Falls was gloriousTimberlineTr2019Post - 3 and the hike up to Top Spur junction was hard since we took the lower Muddy Fork route where one from our party exiting to the Ramona Falls TH. As I mentioned the flowers we exceptional.

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The second night we camped at Bald Mountain with a perfect night for sleep. Climbing up toward McNeil we were treated to a beautiful view of Hood, but fog and clouds were forming.

This is when the snow pack got higher than I expected. Not a real problem until about Eden Park where it became more treacherous and difficult to find the trail.

The rest of the way over to Wy’East only got more difficult, but it was still beautiful because the storm was forming to the north and Hood was backed by blue skies. Wy’East was the decision point because you have cell reception there and we had to coordinate for someone to extract us. We decided on Top Spur for the following day hoping that maybe we could get to McNeil Point.

But no, the weather started to deteriorate and we were happy to camp at Eden Park. The snow started to fall at 2 am and it was a cold wet mess for the rest of the trip out. This trek did provide some inspiration for my post about how complicated my dog Brook is: My Dog is Complicated

About ghsmith76

Serious Backpacker, Grandfather, Volunteer, Advisor, Mentor and still Technologically Aware Greg retired as a technologist who served as a Chief Information Officer in Higher Education at Western Washington University, Missouri University of Science, Technology, George Fox University and the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Prior to the IT career in Academia, Greg was a Systems Consultant with Hewlett-Packard. Other early jobs included IT activity in the oil shale and coal mining industries along with owning a computer store in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Posted on June 21, 2019, in @AussieBrook, Backpacking, Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, Northwest, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, Wilderness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Great trip report. I think I will wait until August to do the loop. I used a Big Agnes similar to yours on the AT in 2017 but ended up trading it out for a tent with a side entry – too hard to get in and out of when nature calls during the middle of the night!


    • I agree about the Big Agnes, but I do appreciate the slightly lighter weight. I will probably still use my REI Quarter Dome for the side entry convenience on shorter treks.


  2. Michael plummer

    I am thinking of doing the Timberline Trail on 6/30. What are your thoughts in regard to trail conditions given what you experienced on your trip? I can’t find anything on the Forest Service site for trail conditions.


    • The trail is in great shape except for the sections covered by snow. However, hiking over this snow is not that tough and I would expect that in another week the more difficult steep sections will be moderated by snow melt. The hike over high point will be all snow but it should be hard pack and doable. Of course the weather will be your determining factor. We would have gone forward if not for the storm that got in our way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank for the last reply Greg. I’m thinking about attempting it next weekend but will definitely pay attention to the forecast!


  4. Looks like a lovely hike. I really like how you said,”This is my annual trek to evaluate how old my body feels…” I think we all have something like that. How cramp does your tent get with your dog?


  5. Great pics. Thanks for the report. I’m doing this hike solo next weekend. My wife and I tried this 2 years ago but had to bail out at Cloud Cap when my wife fell crossing Coe Creek and hurt her knee. Looking forward to this one!


  6. Greg, wonderful report. You inspired me so this year I went with my two sons and hiked over the Tetons from the Idaho side to the Wyoming side over Hurricane Pass through Cascade Canyon (about 20 miles with summit at 10,590′). Nothing like your adventures but I loved it and am ready for the next adventure.


  1. Pingback: My Dog is Complicated | The Adventure Continues

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