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West Slope
Route

West Slope

 
West Slope

Page Type: Route

Location: Oregon, United States, North America

Object Title: West Slope

Route Type: Scrambling

Season: Summer, Fall

Time Required: One to two days

Difficulty: moderate

Route Quality: 
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Page By: mrh

Created/Edited: May 14, 2009 / May 14, 2009

Object ID: 513770

Hits: 888 

Page Score: 75.81%  - 6 Votes 

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Approach

Needle Point - Southwest Aspect
The west slope of Needle Point in shadow
 
Cached Lake
Cached Lake
 
Cached Lake and Peak 8,587
Lower route
 
Needle Point From Valley Bottom
Approach from below

To reach the Eagle Creek trailhead from Baker City and Interstate 84, get on the interstate in downtown Baker City and go north for five miles to Exit 298. Exit and turn right on Chandler Lane/OR Highway 203 (also called the Medical Springs Highway). Continue for 18 miles to the small town of Medical Springs. There are only a few buildings here. Turn right on the Big Creek road that runs southeast away from town. After approximately three miles the road enters National Forest lands and is numbered Road 67. Stay on this road for approximately 15 miles until it meets Road 77 (Eagle Road) after crossing the West Eagle Creek. Turn left on road 77 and go almost a mile. Road 77 turns away to the left, but keep straight on road 7755. Continue approximately five miles to the Main Eagle trailhead. This drive requires approximately an hour and a half from Baker City.

From the Main Eagle trailhead at Boulder Park take Trail 1922 approximately six miles to the junction of Trail 1931. From this junction continue west on the 1922 for almost two miles to Cached Lake. The 1922/1931 junction is very easy to miss, but it doesn’t matter if it’s noticed or not. When the 1922 bends west and stays west you are on the correct path.


Route Description

 
Needle Point - West Slope
Nearing the bowl
 
Needle Point - Upper West Slope
On the upper slope
 
Looking Off the North Edge
Off the north slope
 
Needle Point Summit
The summit

This route is the easiest way to reach the summit of Needle Point. Its best to start from Cached Lake, but one can cut straight up the hill from Trail 1922 east of the lake if they don’t mind the much steeper slope. If doing the latter, be sure to get west of the cliffs directly below the high point. From Cached Lake proceed northeast up the relatively gentle and rolling terrain below the steep rocks of the dividing ridge and the steep ground above Trail 1922 below. There will be some up and down in open tree-line country.


Avoid going all the way up to the ridgeline because the rocks are impassable there.
Eventually the route will drop down a little bit into an interesting bowl that from the tracks is the big hangout for the goats and mule deer. There are many paths in this area, but they are all game trails and will generally not take you anywhere you want to go. Continue towards the west foot of the summit cone and up the west face through a miniature forest of stunted subalpine fir and whitebark pine to the top. The only hazard here is the bad footing due to the crumbling rock. This substrate makes the progress seem slower than it should be for an otherwise easy slope, but its just the nature of the place. Soon the small summit point will be reached. The entire route is a class two hike with some fairly steep ground.


To return, go the way you came or carefully pick your way down the gullies on the southeast aspect of the mountain to Eagle Lake or the Trail 1931 just west of it. If returning via Eagle Lake you will see looking down from the summit that this is a much more difficult route so use caution.


The entire trip would require one to be on their feet for approximately 17 miles with a total ascent of just over 5,000 feet. Its possible for a strong hiker to do this in a long day trip, but it’s best to stay a night at Eagle Lake, Cached Lake or in the valley below.

Essential Gear

Good hiking boots are all that is required. An ice axe and crampons are recommended for a spring or early summer attempt when snow will be present. The weather can be very unpredictable so bring something warm even if it seems like a warm day. There is no water above Eagle Lake so plan accordingly.

Images

Cached LakeNeedle Point - West SlopeCached Lake and Peak 8,587Looking Off the North Edge