Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Illumination Saddle

Extraordinary weekend with spectacular views from two different sides of this popular Oregon peak.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Combination of rock and snow from Timberline Lodge to the saddle.  Had to watch for skiers and snowboarders on some snow sections - an unusual scrambling hazard.  Silcox Hut at 7,000':


I changed this to a day trip because of a high wind forecast.  We went to Illumination Rock saddle at 9,300' on Saturday and explored the route up to Devil's Kitchen, another couple hundred feet.  We then stayed at the Alpine Campground five minutes away Saturday night.  I had offered an optional hike up to Cooper Spur at 8,800' from Cloud Cap on Sunday, so we drove around to the northeast side.  The Cooper Spur road is rough, rocky, and narrow in places for nine miles with several deep water bars.  But a sedan going slow could handle it. 

While heading up to the Illumination Saddle, it was strange having to watch out for skiers and snowboarders in the summer and on a scramble.  But it was a fun and rather interesting experience.  Once past the ski area, getting close up and personal with an active volcano was fascinating with strange rock formations and colors.  Other than ravens, no animals such as marmots or pikas were seen or heard.  We did see several climbing parties, although much of the snow on the summit climbing routes is gone.


Crater Rock:



At the saddle:


Illumination Rock, saddle on the right:


The trail to Cooper Spur is in good condition. Finding the right path up to the moraine is a little tricky.  It gets pretty narrow in brief spots, and careful footing is needed due to unstable rock. 


A view of Mt. Hood from the East Eliot moraine:


Perfect weather, not too hot or cold. All things considered, it was a great day out in an area rarely explored by the Mountaineers and well worth the long drive.