Mount Washington/North Ridge (Oregon)

A classic climb of an extinct volcano in central Oregon. It's one of the Cascade Volcanoes pin peaks.

Getting There

From I-5 in Salem, OR, drive east on OR-22 to the junction with US-20.  Follow US-20 east until just before the Santiam Sno-Park. Turn right (south) on to Forest Road 2690, following signs to Big Lake. In ~2 miles at the junction with Old Santiam Wagon Road, turn left (east) and drive to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) trailhead in 0.5 miles (4,700 ft).


Hike south on the Pacific Crest Trail for ~3.5 miles, to a large cairn marking a climber’s trail heading east. Follow the climber’s trail along the ridge and up a loose gully to a prominent saddle.

Climbing Route

Scramble right to a left-leaning chimney. After ~30 feet the chimney ends at a left angling face. Climb 30 feet to reach the top of this step. This is the crux section of the climb and is low Class 5. The rest of the climb follows the north ridge to the summit and varies between Class 3 and low Class 5. Volcanic rock is very rotten and anchors are scarce.  Party induced rockfall is always a hazard.

Descent Route

Descend the climbing route.  Rappels can be made down the steepest sections but anchors must be double-checked.


  • Guidebook: Best Climbs Cascade Volcanoes by Jeff Smoot (Falcon Guides 2012).
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: April, May, June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Rock Climb
  • Length: 10.8 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,114 ft
  • 7,794 ft
  • Land Manager: Willamette National Forest
    Mount Washington Wilderness, McKenzie River Ranger District (WNF)
  • Parking Permit Required: Northwest Forest Pass
  • Recommended Party Size: 4
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • USGS Mount Washington, OR

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  • Mount Washington/North Ridge

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