Mt Thielsen Image

Mount Thielsen

The highest peak between the South Sister and Mount McLoughlin, Thielsen's spire-like summit dominates the skyline. During storms, it's height and steep summit attract so much lightning that it has been nicknamed "The Lightning Rod of the Cascades". Despite the mountains impressive appearance, summiting Mount Thielsen only requires a 4th class scramble to the summit spire with the summit itself being 4th to easy 5th class depending on the route. The most moderate route to the summit is the West Ridge accessed from the Mt. Thielsen Trailhead.

Distance & Elevation Gain

5 miles & 3764 ft. The first 4 miles and 2000 ft of elevation are on a trail which starts at the Mt Thielsen Trailhead. At this point, the Thielsen trail intersects the Pacific Crest Trail. The remaining mile and 1700' of elevation are on a climbers trail up the west ridge to the summit spire.


Mt Thielsen Image

Part of the High Cascades, Mount Thielsen, at 9,184 ft, is a prominent feature of the area. It is considered an extinct shield volcano. A shield volcano is generally large and low in profile, forming from fluid lava flows. However, because it's lava flows stopped around 250,000 years ago, glaciers have eroded the peak to its current form.

Directions & Map:

Recommended Equipment

Having the right gear can make or break a trip, especially if something bad happens. Below is a general overview of the gear needed for climbing this mountain in winter. This is our standard mountaineering gear list that is often added to or subtracted from. Make sure to adjust this list based on which season it is, which route you are doing, your strategy for climbing the route, the strength and experience of your group, and what the weather will be like during the climb. An easy way to remember what to pack is to break it down into groups of gear you need to have for the climb. See below, and please contact us if you have any questions whatsoever!

Food & Water

For water, 2L-3L per person per day is recommended just for drinking. Snow can be a great source of water on the mountain as long as you're careful about it and have the means to melt enough of it. Collect only clean looking white snow. We all know not to use the yellow snow but also don't use the red/pink snow. It is a type of algae that will do a number on your stomach.

As for food, several small snacks throughout the day are recommended. Big meals are fun but bog you down. Save the big meals for camp. Small snacks allow for a continual flow of energy to your body. For your snacks, try to balance sugars, fats, proteins, and carbs so your body is continually fueled. This helps reduce crashes in energy during the day.

Additional Info

Resources & Links


Click Here for the NOAA weather forcast for this area.