Rare Earth Adventures offers guided mountaineering trips on several of the northwest’s magnificent peaks. Make sure to check out the Mountaineering Equipment List.
Jump to a location:
Washington, USA – 12,276 ft. (3,742 m)
Mount Adams is the second highest mountain in Washington state and the third highest mountain in the Cascade Range (range of mountains in western North America which extends from southern British Columbia through Washington, Oregon and Northern California). Mount Adams is a potentially active stratovolcano that is asymmetrical in shape and has a mostly flat summit which was created by cone-building eruptions from two separated vents. Built up by many hardened layers of lava, volcanic ash, tephra and pumice from explosive eruptions over time, Mount Adams has not erupted in well over 1,400 years; however, geologically it is still considered potentially active.
Mount Adams is also known as “Pahto” to Native Americans. Many legends have been told about the mountains that form the Cascade range but one of the most popular is the Bridge of the Gods tale. According to one version of the tale, Wy’east (Mount Hood) and Pahto (Mount Adams) were sons of the Great Spirit. These brothers competed for the affection of La-wa-la-clough (Mount St. Helens). La-wa-la-clough chose Pahto (Mount Adams). Thus, Wy’east (Mount Hood) hit his brother hard on the head (causing it to be flat) and took La-wa-la-clough. Another version of the tale states that Pahto holds his head down due to the shame of losing La-wa-la-clough to his brother, Wy’east. These battles over La-wa-la-cough also resulted in the destruction of Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River Gorge.
- South Spur – Beginner
- North Ridge (Cleaver Route) – Intermediate
- Mazama Glacier – Intermediate
- Adams Glacier – Intermediate
Oregon, USA – 8,375 ft. (2,553 m)
Mt. Bailey, a tephra cone atop an old shield volcano, lies in the OR Cascade Range across Diamond Lake from the “lightening rod of the Cascades”, Mount Thielsen. Morphological studies show that the current volcano is no more than 100,000 years old.Native Americans are praised with the first ascents. It is believed that they would hold regular feasts, prayer sessions, and festivals on top of Mount Bailey.
With the total round-trip distance about 10 miles and 3000 foot elevation gain, this summit pairs perfectly for families, ski/boarders, and adventurers of all walks (or rides) of life!!!
Note: This Summit pairs well with Mount Thielsen for a peak baggers weekend.
Mount St. Helens
Washington, USA – 8,365 ft. (2,550 m)
Over 40,000 years in the making, Mount St Helens is the youngest volcano in the Cascade Range. Identified as a composite volcano, Mount St Helens was created by years of eruptions that spewed ash, lava, and debris onto its cone shaped slopes. The pre-1980 summit cone rose 5,000’ above the mountain’s base to its former height of 9,677’. Formerly referred to as the Mount Fuji of America, the dramatic conical feature of the mountain did not possess the highly eroded features of other mountains in the range because it was largely formed over a 2,000 year period after the last major glacial period.
The valleys around the mountain were heavily inhabited by Native Americans prior to the arrival of European settlers. A Klickitat Indian legend relates that the mountain was initially an ancient woman whom the Great Spirit turned into a beautiful maiden called Loo-wit-lat-kla, “Keeper of Fire”. Loowit lived on the Bridge of the Gods and tended a fire source for the Indian tribes on both sides of the Columbia River. Two brothers, chiefs of their respective tribes, became enamored of Loowit and led their tribes into war over her. The angered Great Spirit destroyed the Bridge of the Gods and it crumbled into the River. The two Chiefs, Wy’east (Mt. Hood) and Klickitat or Pah-to (Mt Adams), were turned into mountains, as was Loowit (St Helens).
The mountain was spotted and named by the British Royal Captain Captain George Vancouver from his ship in 1792 during his survey of the northern Pacific Ocean. With ample water and fertile soils, the regions around Mount St. Helens were settled by Europeans in the 1800s. Periodic eruptions were witnessed during the 200 year period building up to the May 18, 1980 catastrophic eruption. The eruptive blast of lava, mud, ash forever changed the landscape around the mountain by melting the mountains glaciers and destroying 230 square miles of forest. The powerful eruption killed 57 people, caused 1.5 billion in property damages, and reduced the mountains height by 1,300’. Since 1980, the mountain has gone through periods of activity with periodic dome building within the crater, minor earthquakes and releases of steam and ash. Presently, the mountain is considered active and is regularly monitored by scientists from the United States Geologic Survey (USGS).
Mount St. Helens offers climbers a rare chance to witness the power of nature.
- Butte Camp – Beginner
- Monitor Ridge – Beginner
- 1 Day Blast - Beginner/Moderate
- Swift Creek – Beginner
Oregon, USA – Elevation: 9,184 ft. (2,799 m)
Mt. Thielson, an extinct shield volcano is the 7th highest peak in the Oregon Cascades. It’s distinctive horn-like peak and precipitous slopes were created through the heavily erosive forces of glaciation. The spectacular summit pinnacle, comprised of Basaltic Andesite was at one time the interior plug of the volcano. Glaciation and erosion have exposed the plug and created one of the prominent “lighting rod” summit features of the Cascade Range.
In the early days of European settlement, it was called Big Cowhorn to differentiate it from Little Cowhorn to the north. About 1872, it was named Mt. Thielsen by John A. Hulburt of Portland in honor of Hans Thielsen, a prominent railroad engineer and builder. The Native American name for Mt Thielson was His-chok-wol-as. The first recorded ascent by a European was done by Ensign E. E. Hayden. Hayden was a member of a US Geological Survey party which made a detailed inspection of the southern Oregon Cascades in the summer of 1883.