Only one of the Twin Peaks remains; the other having collapsed down the southwest slope of the mountain in the early 1900's. It is one the highest and most difficult summits in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon.
The geologic base of Twin Peaks is the Hurwal Formation (Mesozoic sediments and Triassic volcanic rocks), but the main ridge top and pinnacle consists of Columbia River basalt.
This mountain is rarely climbed because the summit pinnacle, which is approximately 60 feet high, is dangerous even when protected. Based on the loose rock of the pinnacle, weak volcanic ash on which the pinnacle is perched, and the pronounced list over the southwest face; it can be anticipated that the remaining peak will meet the same fate as it's twin in the not too distant future (on the geologic timescale).
Twin Peaks can be climbed in a single day from the Hurricane Creek trailhead on sound knees. It is just over 4 1/2 miles one-way with a 4,400 ft elevation gain.
From the town of Enterprise, Oregon, go south on Hurricane Creek Road. Stay right (which is still Hurricane Creek Rd) at the Hurricane Grange. Drive past the Hurricane Creek campground to parking at the end of the road. The Hurricane Creek Trail starts at the parking lot. Follow Hurricane Creek Trail for approx 1/2 mile to Falls Creek trail which branches to the right. The Falls Creek trail is faint and there is a small wooden sign on a tree marking the junction. Note that the trail is steep and not extensively maintained.
The trail follows the Legore Mine branch of upper Falls Creek. Above the mine at 8,100 feet are good tents sites on a bench just south of the creek. The route proceeds up a talus chute to a meadow. Cross the ridge to the left (south) of the meadow to reach Legore Lake. There are good camp sites at Legore Lake. Proceed around (south) of Legore Lake and use the obvious ridge ascending south to gain the main E-W ridge to the pinnacle. A knife ridge leads to the summit pinnacle.
The summit pinnacle itself consists of fractured and loose blocks of basalt. In this case loose means that handholds routinely pull loose completely and footholds are not secure. A rope is of limited value (but is recommended) due to the small size and looseness of the blocks. From the north side of the pinnacle, ascend diagonally to the left until even with the southeast ridge (opposite approach ridge) and then climb directly up. The most difficult move is about 5.2 and the descent is more difficult due to blind overhangs.
The US Forest Service has a Wallowa Mountains Wilderness Area map, but USGS Chief Joseph Mtn quadrangle is recommended because it includes features not shown on the USFS map.
A Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking at the trailhead.
A free wilderness permit can be obtained at the trailhead for overnight trips.
Additional information is available at Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
When To Climb
The climbing season is May-October. Snow may occur in any month of the year and this peak is exposed to lightning in summer and fall. A winter ascent is possible, but the knife ridge to gain the pinnacle will entail additional risks.
The 'Getting there' section includes camping on the mountain. There is comfortable camping at the Wallowa Lake State Park near Joseph (showers, etc.) and more primitive camping at the Hurricane Creek campground near the trailhead (pit toilets).
Wallowa Lake State Park
The US Forest Service has a Wallowa Mountains Visitor Center in Enterprise. (541) 426-4978
Note that Twin Peaks is listed as the 11th highest mountain in Oregon according to Jeff Howbert's "Oregon's 100 Highest Peaks".
Oregon's 100 Highest Peaks
It is also the 11th highest mountain according to America's Roof , but this list does not include Steens Mountain, which is higher.
Additions and Corrections[ Post an Addition or Correction ]