Climbing Eureka Peak, Oregon in the Winter

I have been eager to get back out in the snow since returning from vacation in Kauai. The tropical climate was nice and we had an amazing trip, but I love the snow and mountains of the Pacific Northwest. My friend Tyler and his friend Holli joined Katie and I on a non-technical climb Saturday to Eureka Peak. The route ( 5 mile round-trip) we took begins at the Trillium Lake SnoPark off hwy 26 about 3 miles Southeast of Government Camp. It then follows snow-covered roads for about 1.75 miles before heading off the beaten path another 0.75 miles up the ridge on the Eastern side of Eureka Peak to the summit. It's nearly a 1,300 foot elevation gain with 900 feet coming in the last 0.75 miles.

We left from my house just after 6:30 AM and arrived at Trillium Lake SnoPark around 7:45 AM. It was still early enough that flocks of people who enjoy Trillium's beauty every weekend hadn't yet arrived. The weather was descent, with the temperature around 30° and overcast skies.

Mount Hood in the Clouds from Summit Meadows     Summit Meadows, Oregon

After snowshoeing by Summit Meadows and the cabins, we headed up the Sherar Burn Road. At this point the trail was no longer groomed and the deep, heavy powder made the going slower. We were only on the Sherar Burn road for about a quarter mile before we turned off and headed West-Southwest straight up the Eastern ridge of Eureka Peak. At this point there was no marked or apparent trail of any type. I broke trail, making it easier for everyone else to follow. It was pretty steep and the deep snow made the going quite slow, but everyone did great. This was Tyler and Holli's first time snowshoeing and they had a great time.

Jason Testing out Osprey Talon 44 Pack     Tyler, Holli, and Katie Resting on the Way up to Eureka Peak

We continued climbing, with slopes nearing 50° at times. On one particularly open slope mostly void of trees, we saw an old dilapidated shack that looked toward Mount Hood. The view would have been very nice had it been clear. Fortunately for us, the lack of sun helped keep the temperature a little cooler, which made this strenuous climb more comfortable.

Old Shack     View from Near Summit of Eureka Peak

A few hundred yards from the actual summit, we came to a high point with of a view of Mount Hood Meadows ski area. Shortly after enjoying the mostly cloudy view, we continued on to the actual summit of Eureka Peak. It's basically a small hump on the top of the mountain. The only views here are of trees. We celebrated our victory over the peak by enjoying lunch and a beer. At this point it had started to snow and the temperature was hovering right around freezing. It was looking promising that we would hit rain on our way down.

Katie and Jason on False Summit with Mt Hood Meadows in the Background     Tyler, Holli, Jason, and Katie on Summit of Eureka Peak

Tyler and I built diaper sleds for glissading a couple nights ago. The trip up to the peak was quite steep and the thought of being able to glissade down was appealing to everyone. As we made our way off the peak we alternated between glissading and walking, depending on terrain. We had quite a few good runs, especially the last person to go down as a small trough had usually formed by then. The snow was not ideal for glissading, but the sleds really helped. They were long enough to protect our packs as well. We all had a blast.

Katie Glissading Down from Eureka Peak     Tyler Glissading Down from Eureka Peak

Back at the Sherar Burn road, the snow became rain. We were thankful it waited this long. We passed several groups of cross-country skiers and snowshoers on our way back to the SnoPark. It was not as crowded as it often is, but I suppose the weather might have scared off a few would-be adventurers. What a fun trip. Anyone desiring to climb Eureka Peak can consult our route in the map at the top. It is a moderately strenuous (non-technical) climb, so be prepared. The 5 mile round-trip took us about 5 1/2 hours with our stop for lunch.

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Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.