We started at the trailhead at 8:00 am. We summited at 11:30 am and was back to the car by 1:30 pm. The route we had taken as well as the Corrigan lake route our the closest access to the summit. These trail heads can be reached by road 21. The routes are most popular with ski mountaineers. the southwest bowls offer up to three thousand vertical feet of skiing. The pioneer gulch trail is a 1.4 mile trail that intersects with the round the mountain trail. from here it's approx 40 degree heading through forest to reach south west ridge then a scramble up to the false summit at 8,421. At this point then you must negotiate a traverse with gendarmes along the way. then a little climb and your on the summit. The route this fine day had just recieved six inches of fresh powder from the previous days storm. The trail starts at 4,679 feet . the forest started out damp then higher up the forest wore a thin layer of frost. As we broke out above tree line we scrambled the rest of the way through boulder fields with four to six inches of snow. When we arrived at the traverse the wind had whipped up some mini cornices and created twelve inch drifts. The summit was calm and relativily warm. We did not stay long however as some threatining clouds were approaching. It was a great summit day whith a quality climb buddy. note that the route gains 4,100 ft in approx 4 miles to the summit.
Got an early morning start on this one, and summitted about 11 AM. Pretty neat mountain with great views from Jefferson to Mcloughlin and of all the surrounding water bodies, volcanoes, and clearcuts. Pretty windy on top. Signed the new summit register, soaked in the view, and headed back to my truck and then Portland. No people or mosquitos on this one!!!
We started on the Pacific Crest Trail, that skirts near the SW corner of Summit Lake. The route up to the South Ridge off of the PCT was not very well marked. Once on top, the trail is fairly easy to the false summit and summit. We left the PCT and used a route maked by a cairn going up but found a better route coming down that is about 50 feet past the hairpin "lookout" on the PCT. That trail was marked by red tape flags, and appeared to be the best route up to the ridge. Beware. There are lots of rock cairns all over, but some of them are not the best route.
One other note - we found a very nice campground on the west shore of Summit Lake. Drive past all of the campers and keep going until you find an empty spot. Free camping and no wilderness charge. But bring a pen and piece of paper, as the wilderness permit stand was out of tags, so we had to make our own.
A good hike up the PCT and then crosscountry from Marie Lake. Round Trip took about 7 hours with lunch.
I took the Diamond Rockpile trail to the PCT, and went up to the peak shoulder. I noticed cairns in a couple of places marking climber's route departures from the trail. I took the second one I came across, and ended up with a long scree slog. Peaked out and let the scenery sink in. Great views all around, even though it was a little overcast. On the way down I followed the route along the ridge and had a much easier time. I'd definitely recommend the ridge for going up. Scree gets a little frustrating at times.
Not too hot and skeeters weren't a bother.
A couple of recommendations.........
If you have the car to get over a couple miles of roughish road, suggest you start your approach hike from PCT near Summit lake. Saves you 400' of elevation gain and makes the approach hike basically flat on best trail you could ask for.
Also, rather than heading to Marie Lake (which we did on the approach as per route description), it is easier to continue on PCT (a little over a mile from junction of the trail you take to Marie Lake) and catch the bottom of the South Ridge route right off the PCT
We found this route on the descent. It had more cairns and evidence of climber's trails, saved you some westward traversing down low and time on talus higher up. More direct, faster and easier to follow IMHO.
Used Brian's route to access Marie Lake. Having done many more climbs in the Washington Cascades than in Oregon's, I had certain expectations for the term "bushwhacking". Well, to put it mildly, my expectations were WAY off! This was a very open forest with no brush until we started to climb in earnest. Even then the brush was anything but dense, making travel very easy. A thoroughly enjoyable climb, with crystal clear air and long views, although it was a bit warm, and the mosquitos were indeed pesky.
From the north, the PCT route from Pengra Pass still has six to ten feet of snow past the Mt. Yoran junction so this is a slow bushwhack past that point at present. (July 13th 2004). I climbed Diamond Peak July 17th, 2001 by this intended route and there was no snow on the PCT so this was a big surprise this year. I intended to run/hike to the south ridge but after several miles of soft deep snow opted for a direct assault on the minor ridge up the east face. This small ridge lies between the east ridge and the south ridge and is a bit iffy near the top due to loose rocks the size of pianos but do-able with caution. The soft snow made this seem safer than such an angle of climb would usually present but I wouldn't recommend this route without crampons under most conditions. I attained the minor summit at the top of the ridge and made my way south to the true summit and was rewarded with spectacular views in all directions. This was an exceptionally good day with light winds and temperatures in the 60's. Mosquitoes were at their worst in the forest but were gone above the tree line.
A great climb in winter --- perfect to chase away winter blues. Mostly just a good workout --- fine for novice alpinists. I often carry up skis and ski the front bowl to get down. Glissading works too....
Excellent weather and no mosquitos make this the perfect season for Diamond Peak. Awesome views in every direction. Every major Cascade volcano in Oregon was visible -- from Mt. Hood to Mt. McLoughlin (except North Sister, which is hidden behind Middle). Even the Willamette Valley and the Coast Range hovering above its constant haze were visible. I saw no one else the whole day.
Left the trails behind at Marie Lake and bushwacked the final 2 miles and 2,600 ft. to the summit. Once you reach the small pond north of Marie Lake it is a fun tough scramble straight up, lots of huge bolders to hop along. The view once you reach the false summit is incredible. It was really hazy to the north, so not much to be seen, but to the south Cowhorn, Sawtooth, Howlock, Thielsen, Bailey, and Crater Lake rim clearly visible. The views of massive Diamond Peak from the summit were the highlight anyway. Had the summit all to myself for over an hour where I enjoyed the views, warm sunshine, and the traditional trail lunch of cold pizza from the night before ;-) Great day, fun bushwack and scramble, and beautiful mountain!
By the way, bring the jungle juice! Mosquitos are very bad in this area, at least in the early part of summer.
Great conditions! Rime ice covered everything, including the snowfields, creating a good hard surface for crampons. A few moats and cornices to worry about, otherwise pretty straightforward. Summit was no bigger than a large dinner table due to the pyramid of snow. Clear blue sky as far as I could see! The Three Sisters, Jefferson, and Hood were all visible as well.
Two days on the peak. Woke to 18" fresh the morning we had to leave. Aaaaargh!
For the first 3 miles, there's a trail through the woods and I think someone who looked like me must have really pissed off the skeeters because they were swarming me the whole first third of the climb. Once I reached Marie Lake it got fun as that's where the trail ended and I had to bushwhack north about a mile or so until I could start picking out the ridges on the south side. Traversed a few ridges to the left until I picked up the main South Ridge. From there I spotted a few cairns and someone even used an ancient ski pole to point the way. That's as much of a trail as you get on this one. Made the false summit and saw the cool knife edge ridge over to the main summit. Nice scramble over some gendarmes and I was there. Beautiful day but kinda hazy from forest fires so views limited to the Three Sisters to Thielsen. Had the whole mountain to myself the entire day. Up in 3 hrs 45 mins and down in 2 hrs 35 mins.