very hazy from forest fires. Otherwise a quick hike from the south
I Climbed Strawberry with my friend Jim Wilton and my brother. This was the first mountain my brother had ever climbed and from that moment on he has been hooked. This was also the last mountain I would climb for awhile as I left for the Army in December and would not get many chances to climb there.
Beautiful area, much less crowded than 73, last time I was here. The flag in Dean's pic was already there, although on the ground. I followed the (new) trail, but scrambled up to the ridge on dry ground north of where the trail comes out of the meadow after watching someone slide off the small cornice and 20' down the snow where the trail crested the ridge.
It was probably the last chance weekend to climb Strawberry Mountain, this Friday the 13th in October. The trail was already icy on the lower sections, around Strawberry Lake and Strawberry Falls, but the sun warmed the upper ridges and they were dry. It is really a nice hike up to Strawberry Falls, and around the front ridge where the peak comes into view. We saw a flock of black crows flying around the summit and in the dead pine trees in the fire burn area near timberline, that added to the spooky Halloween feel of the whole scene.
This is really a beautiful trip all around, including the drive over from Eugene the night before. Leaving just after lunch, and driving through Sisters and Prineville, we still arrived just after sunset, and had to find the campground in the dark. (about 5.5 hours!) But the drive over, with the sunset on the hills and peaks in the painted desert country was fabulous.
The hike up to the summit was fairly easy. A bit slippery at points. But it only took about 3.5 hours up, walking at a leasurly pace and taking many pictures, and about 2.5 hours to get back to the car. Really a fun hike, despite the long drive. One suggestion. It was cold overnight in the campground, so plan for a chilly (20's) evening, prior to the climb. So be prepared and dress accordingly for this time of year.
Rushed over to John Day on a Friday evening after work to hike this mountain the following day with my friend who made the drive over from Boise. Hit the trail around 9:30 which this hot day was a little late, but by about the one mile mark we were up high enough that it really wasnt too hot at all. Noticed a bunch of cairns just under the NE face of the summit, while some were probably erected out of boredom, I suspect there are some burial cairns up here. I have heard of people having ashes buried and spread around the summit, so I tried to avoid dismantling the rockpiles after this realization dawned on me.
Aug 30 2008 - Did as a quick morning hike on the way to Idaho, third time up this mountain. Did the road's end route with a scramble up the south ridge which is much faster than following the trail around to the north ridge.
A ski trip to this remote region of Oregon with Jim, Keith and Tim. Due to incoming weather we decided to push on and ski it the first day after dropping all overnight gear at the lake. The snow firmed just enough to make a good run from the summit. We skied out in a steady rain the next day. I didn't know it would rain this much in far eastern Oregon.
Skied in to Strawberry Lake from the road with Haydar, Tim, and Keith. We dropped our gear off and decided to go for the summit the same day. The snow coverage was lower than we expected and it was difficult to find a route to the summit without hiking on rock. The descent was better than expected but too short! Much wine was consumed around the bonfire that night. We awoke to a constant rain and were happy we had decided to go for the summit the previous day.
Since I chose the easiest of all the summit routes, I modified the route somewhat to challenge myself. From the trailhead I walked about .25 of a mile then jumped on the ridge top. I walked the ridge top (more whoop-de-doo's than the trail) till I met the Strawberry Basin trail. At this point I scrambled to the summit using the South Ridge route. Once on top I wished I had brought a pair of gloves. My thermometer read 49 deg. with15 to 20 mph winds (Back at the car it was 75 deg. with no wind). I met a bow hunter on my way back down. He had a camp set up below in the spring area. Nice area. So far away from home though...
I did this hike in the afternoon, and watched the sunset from the summit. Then I camped at Strawberry lake and headed back to Portland the following day. This is a pretty neat hike, walking through the snags from the wildfire and the diverse plantlife were pretty interesting. I would like to go back and fish Strawberry lake sometime.
Both times I have backpacked in the Strawberries in the middle of the summer I experenced unexpected weather changes - so be prepared. There were a lot of wild edible berries- yum! There were a lot of wild non-edible flies - yuck! (icluding horse and deer flies which think we are edible and yummy.)
Annalieserabineck and I drove through the night again reaching the trailhead by 2:30 AM and actually caught some decent sleep in the back seat of our rental car (sleeping in the car, a new tradition inspired by the Great Dean). Started up the trail under cloudy skies, freezing temps, and a stiff wind. Looked as if the weather would hold, but about 3 miles in at around 7,500 ft snow and visibility began to fall, and an already stiff wind stiffened. After defying thunderstorms the week before I decided not to push my luck, it was time to get down. As we walked back along Strawberry Lake the snow was coming in horizontal and the wind was whipping up white caps on the lake........I was really glad that the car was only a little over a mile away. We grabbed a room just outside of Prairie City and weathered the storm wrapped up in a blanket on the couch with the promise and hope of better weather tomorrow.
We awoke early Sunday morning to beautiful mostly sunny skies and an amazing view of a snowcapped Strawberry Mtn. The trail was snow covered from Strawberry Falls up. The hike up to the summit was incredible with plenty of fresh snow blanketing everything. Various animal tracks were everywhere! As I reached the summit I discovered a set of bird prints in the fresh snow, I had to settle for second to summit on this day, The summit stay was amazing, views of the range, John Day Valley, and occasional glimpses through the clouds as far as the eyes could see. Headed back down the Onion Creek Trail through total fire devastation, but still beautiful, highly recommended descent route.
Truly an amazing place and well kept secret, one of my favorite places I have ever been.
This ended up being a two-dayer for us.
Day 1: I think Mother Nature was playing a sick joke on us because we didn't turn around on Little Brother. By the time we got just over 3 miles in it was snowing pretty hard and a summit attempt at that point could have proved foolish. My die-hard partner, Cornvallis, didn't have a problem turning around this time. ;-) It was only noon when we got back to the TH so we got a hotel room, went into John Day for some kick ass pizza, and got a good nights rest to try it again the next day.
Day 2: Mother Nature decided that we had learned our lessons and blessed us with a gorgeous day! Granted the freezing temperatures left something to be desired and the wind through the saddle was ferocious, but none of that took away from the beauty of the trail. The falls were partially frozen and the lake was smooth as could be compared to the wild wind that white-capped it the day before (I had flashbacks of driving across 520 in Seattle on a blustery fall day). The snow we left behind the day before had accumulated into a fantastic heavy powder almost a foot deep by the time we reached the summit. It’s a gorgeous trail in the snow. Our summit stay was short, we didn’t have the views we would have liked, there seemed to be “weather” everywhere, but on the summit of the mountain. We clamored down the Onion Creek trail. Its steep, but worth it. The remnants of the forest fire are incredible; huge ponderosas burnt to nothing. Amazing! The mile back up to the TH wasn’t that bad, it was also the only time we saw any wildlife (other than the cows in the middle of the road between Prairie City and the TH, watch out some of them get a little scared and start bucking around!!!).
Overall, great hike. Its absolutely gorgeous up there. I place it as second on my best hikes ever list.
This may be one of the best kept secrets in Oregon. What a great summit and enjoyable area. I enjoyed every aspect of the mountain.
Initially planned on overnighting it somewhere in the basin but the low temps. in the morning as we were setting out from TH convinced us to make it a day hike. There was a continuous 3 inch dusting of snow on north facing slopes and mostly dry otherwise - perfectly clear and sunny day. Little/no wind on summit. Saw a few very very vague 'triangular shapes' on the western horizon - perhaps the Cascade volcanos. Caught a flat in Madras on the return trip.
On a beautiful Saturday marred only by the incredible haze from Oregon's 2002 wildfire season, I drove to the Roads End Trail on the south side of the Strawberry Wilderness, then hiked to the summit and back, about 6.5 miles round trip. This is the highpoint of Grant County, and was the third of four county highpoints I visited that day, the other counties being Crook, Wheeler, and Umatilla.
Spent a cold night sleeping in my Jeep at the campground because I got there late and was too lazy to set up my tent. Overslept and got started about 9:30 am. Nice hike up to Strawberry Lake which was crystal clear with big cliffs of Slide Mountain to the left. Hiked around the west side of the lake under golden larch and poplars. A little further and I came to Strawberry Falls half-frozen as the nights are now down to about 20 degrees here.
Hiked up to the meadow and got my first view of the yellowish peak. Switchbacked up to the saddle and then up through a ridge of dead bent-over trees. Saw a mink in the rocks and it looked at me for a while before disappearing under a boulder. Traversed the talus field and then up the north side. Spent an hour or so lounging in the sun, eating and deciding which trail to take back. Decided to go back the same way to avoid the uphill last mile of the Onion Creek Trail. Had views down to Steens Mountain. Up in just over 3 hours and down in about 2 and a half. Then I had a looooooong drive back to Portland that night. Beautiful place and great weather though.